HomeNewsThe Cost of Smoking in Europe: Smoking Sets Brits Back A Soaring £4,300 Every Year
The Cost of Smoking in Europe: Smoking Sets Brits Back A Soaring £4,300 Every Year

The Cost of Smoking in Europe: Smoking Sets Brits Back A Soaring £4,300 Every Year

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Approximately 1.1 billion around the world aged 15 and over smoke, but just how much is this habit costing per individual?

Here, looks at the cost of smoking in 10 European countries over a 50 year time span, plus the wage impact on smokers vs non-smokers. At the current price of a pack of cigarettes in the UK, a smoker with a pack-a-day habit for 50 years would spend over £200,000 - not far off the average cost to buy a home.

Jonathan Merry, CEO of, comments:

“The public is not naïve to the health problems smoking is likely to cause, but what about the financial aspect?

The cost of living crisis across Europe is prompting many individuals to cut their budgets drastically, and with a smoking habit costing an average of £2,500 per year across the countries surveyed below, this index may provide many with that added financial motivation to ditch the cigarettes once and for all.”

Cost of smoking

The below table shows the cost of smoking a pack a day across a number of time periods, to reflect the true cost of being a smoker in your lifetime.

The most expensive pack of cigarettes out of the European countries reviewed is in the UK, at £12 a pack. Any smoker that averages a pack a day will spend a total of £4,380 per year on cigarettes in the UK. Even more shocking is the long-term cost - a smoker with a 30-year habit will spend approximately £131,400 in total on cigarettes - and that’s assuming the price of a pack doesn’t increase in that time.

The cheapest pack of 20 cigarettes can be found in Greece, costing £4.08 (€4.60) per pack. Annually, this would set a smoker in Greece back by £1,489 (€1,679).

Out of the 10 European countries reviewed, a smoker averaging a pack a day over 50 years will spend a jaw-dropping average of £126,144 on cigarettes in total - again, assuming that the price of cigarettes remains fixed from this point onwards.

Cost of 20 CigarettesAnnual Cost5 year Cost10 Year cost20 year cost30 Year cost40 year cost50 year cost
United Kingdom£12.00(€13.52)£4,380£21,900£43,800£87,600£131,400£175,200£219,000

Cost to Society

According to the Actions on Smoking and Health organisation (ASH), the cost of smoking to society totals approximately £17.04bn for England alone each year. As of 2021, there were an estimated 5.4 million people that were smokers in England, meaning the average cost to society per smoker works out as £3,148 per year.

To put that into perspective, someone with a smoking habit of 40 years would have an expected cost on society of approximately £125,920 in total due to smoking alone.

National Average Salary

Data from ASH further highlights that smokers earn, on average, 6.8% less per year than non-smokers. We’ve taken the average annual salary of citizens in each of the countries reviewed to reflect the approximate equivalent salary for a smoker on this basis.

In the UK, the national average annual wage is £38,131 - but using this estimated percentage decrease in earnings, we can predict that the average annual salary of a smoker in the UK is closer to £35,500.

Elsewhere in Europe, the highest average annual salary is in Switzerland, at an average of 60,600 CHF or €61,000. A 6.8% decrease, however, sends the estimated average annual salary for smokers below 60,000 mark, at €57,237 per year.

National Average Annual WageAverage Annual Wage for Smokers (6.8% less than non-smokers)
United Kingdom£38,131 (€42,956)£35,538 (€40,035)
Switzerland60,600 CHF (€61,412)€57,237

Financial Opportunity Lost

We’ve calculated how much the annual amount spent on cigarettes would be worth if it had been invested in the S&P 500 5, 10, 20, and 30 years ago - revealing that in the UK, the annual cost of smoking a pack a day would be worth £71,129 today if it had been invested 30 years ago instead of spent on cigarettes.

If a smoker in 2023 invested the annual cost of smoking in the UK (£4,380) in the S&P 500 with no further contributions for the next 10 years, that figure would be worth an estimated £9,455 with an average 8% yearly return.

If that same person continued adding another £4,380 every year for 10 years, the total worth in the S&P 500 with an average annual return of 8% would be £77,985.

Annual Cost of smoking a pack a day5 Years Ago10 Years Ago20 Years Ago30 Years Ago
United Kingdom£4,380£6,843£14,248£28,679£71,129


The average cost of a pack of 20 cigarettes in each country was sourced from, with the annual and other timespan costs calculated on the assumption a smoker has one pack of 20 cigarettes per day.

The financial opportunity loss was calculated using historical data from the S&P 500 over the past 30 years, and future calculations were estimated using the average 8% return of investment. Other health data was sourced from ASH and calculated by our experts.

Yasmin Purnell
Yasmin Purnell
Yasmin Purnell is a Content Writer and Editor for Yasmin has a wealth of experience writing across a range of topics within the personal finance, student, and business niche. Yasmin joined the team with the one main mission to provide accessible financial, career and business information and advice for all.