Smokers pay up to £16,000 more for life insurance, survey reveals


April 2022

Smokers pay up to £16,000 more for life insurance, survey reveals

A Royal London survey has shown that non-smokers can save up to £16,000 on their life insurance.

Those who choose to quit are eligible for cheaper life insurance premiums 12 months after they have stopped using any type of nicotine product. There certainly seems appetite for it, with the study showing that 36% of people had planned to give up smoking at the start of 2021. It’s unclear how many people stuck to this staple of New Year’s resolutions.

Broken down below are the rate differences that a non-smoker could achieve compared with a smoker, courtesy of Royal London. The figures are derived from single life cover, with £150,000 assured over 25 years.


Term (years)

Monthly premium non-smoker

Monthly premium smoker

Savings over a 25-year term for non-smoker
















*Data was compiled from a survey in December 2021, which took a sample of 2,000 nationally representative adults.

As policyholders got older, premiums got significantly more expensive for smokers. While the difference between the two is just under double at age 30, it jumps to nearly triple by 50.

Speaking on the research, Craig Paterson, Chief Underwriter at Royal London, said: “While the new year is a popular time for many to give up smoking, No Smoking Day is a perfect opportunity for those who didn’t quite manage to kick the habit.

“Committing to making a positive change to your health can also lead to a positive change to your wallet – and realising that may help people stick to their decisions. More importantly, stopping smoking can greatly reduce the likelihood of getting other illnesses such as cancer, heart disease and strokes.”

While it’s fairly clear that giving up cigarettes will reduce your premiums, the scale of savings might have some policyholders considering kicking the habit. Greater awareness of dangers and the proliferation of E-cigarettes have caused smoker numbers to dwindle in recent years.  Despite this, six million Brits still classify themselves as smokers. 

This isn’t for the want of trying. The government has been increasingly active in their efforts to try and wean people off cigarettes since the turn of the century. Tobacco products are the number one cause of preventable deaths in the UK, with 2019 alone seeing 64,000 people succumbing to smoking or illnesses brought on by smoking. 

Despite years of decline, there were some concerns during the pandemic when the rate of smoking in 18-30 years olds shot up by 25%. This in part has led to conversations about raising the age at which people can buy cigarettes.

Some countries have gone one step further. New Zealand, for example, introduced a first of its kind law this year, which bans anyone born after 2008 from buying cigarettes from 2023.