A new survey suggest that smokers in British Columbia could save between 2,000 and 4,000 Canadian Dollars a year by quitting and that is only the half of it.

Smokers, their family and friends, who would be spared the perils of their secondhand smoke would all have a dramatically improved health outlook and lower life insurance premiums,

In addition, Dr Fred Bass, an expert in smoking cessation and consultant to the Health Heart Society of British Columbia, found that smokers and their cohorts across Canada could save the health care system more than one billion dollars a year.

He added, "About seven per cent of our total health care bill is attributable to smoking, and those costs are not just in the last years of a smoker's life. Research shows that smoking also interferes with recovery from surgery and those who stop just two months before surgery face fewer pulmonary and cardiovascular complications and spend fewer days in intensive care."

There is no doubt that smokers themselves are most aware of the impact that smoking has on their wallets. What many smokers may not realise is how much it adds up to in the long term. The average 45-year-old smoker, who quits today and puts the money into savings, could have more than 100,000 dollars to spend during retirement while they enjoy their smokefree health, according to a survey commissioned by Pfizer Canada, a pharmaceutical company.

Almost five million Canadians, or 19 per cent of the population, are smokers. According to Health Canada, close to half of smokers will die from smoking before they turn 70 years old.

British Columbia has the lowest smoking rates in Canada at 16.4 per cent, Bass said, although it jumps from a teenage rate of 12.4 per cent to 24 per cent between the ages of 20 to 25 when young people have money, are out of school, and are targeted by tobacco marketing.