September 1, 2015

Australian smokers urged to save their wallets – and their lives

Lung Foundation Australia urged the millions of Australians who still smoke to use the latest price hike as an extra incentive to quit.

The average Australian smoker will spend about $8,000[i] a year on cigarettes after the Government’s latest tobacco tax increase came into effect today.

Lung Foundation Australia CEO Heather Allan said the 12.5 per cent tax increase was the third of four annual tax increases on tobacco, with the last increase to come into effect next year.

“The combined impact of these increases is estimated cause a total tax increase of about 60 per cent on cigarettes by December next year,” Mrs Allan said.

“We know price increases, such as those resulting from a tax rise, are a proven and effective strategy for reducing tobacco use,[iii]” she said.

“Huge advances have been made in helping people quit smoking, with several methods of quitting available, but the battle is yet to be won.

“Tobacco smoking remains the single most preventable cause of ill-health and death in Australia and contributes to more deaths and hospitalisations than alcohol and illicit drug use combined. [ii]

“About half of all persistent cigarette smokers are killed by their habit, a quarter of these while still in middle age (35-69 years)”. [xi]

Only three to five per cent of unaided quit attempts are successful.[iv] That number rises to a 25 to 30 per cent quit success rate with counselling and support from health care professionals and the use of optimal stop-smoking medication.[v]

“There are immediate health benefits to quitting smoking at any age,” Mrs Allan said.

“There are even health benefits to quitting if a person has already been diagnosed with a smoking related disease.  Stopping smoking decreases the risk of lung and other cancers, heart attack, stroke and chronic disease compared with continued smoking,”[vi] she said.

“Research has shown that the most effective way to quit is to get some ongoing support from a health professional, using a combination of counselling and medicine. [vi]

“Going cold turkey works for some people but most of us should talk with a health professional who can guide them on what works best when it comes to quitting.”

More information on how to quit smoking can be found on the Lung Foundation Australia website.

With the money you save by not buying cigarettes, consider making a donation to Lung Foundation Australia –


Tobacco Smoking – Key Facts

  • Tobacco use causes one in 10 adult deaths globally;[vii] in Australia smoking is the largest single preventable cause of death and disease.[ii]It kills more people than alcohol, other drugs, murder, suicide, road crashes, rail crashes, air crashes, poisoning, drowning, fires, falls, lightning, electrocution, snakes, spiders and sharks combined.[viii]
  • Each year, smoking costs Australia $31.5 billion in social (including health) and economic costs.[ix]
  • Most smokers do want to quit. At any time about 60 per cent of smokers are thinking about or preparing to make a quit attempt.[x]



[i] Based on an average of a pack a day costing $22.50

[ii] Australian Institute of Health and Welfare 2012. Australia’s health 2012. Australian’s health series no. 13. Cat. No. AUS 156. Canberra: AIHW

[iii]  Chaloupa F. Tobacco taxes as a tobacco control strategy. Tob Control 2012

[iv] Hughes J.R., Keely J., Naud S. Shape of the relapse curve and long-term abstinence among untreated smokers. Addiction; 2004; 99:29–38.

[v] Tonnesen P. Smoking cessation: How compelling is the evidence? A review. Health Policy2009; 91:15-25.

[vi] US Department of Health and Human Services.  The health benefits of smoking cessation.  A report of the Surgeon General.  DHHS Publication No CDC 90-8416.  Rockville, MD: US Department of Health and Human Services, Public Health Service, Centres for Disease Control, Centre for Chronic Disease Prevention and Health Promotion, Office on Smoking and Health; 1990. Available from:

[vii] World Health Organisation.

[viii]  OxyGen! Accessed August 2104.

[ix] Australian Government Department of Health. 2014.

[x] Prochaska, J.O. et al. Size, consistency and stability of stage effects for smoking cessation.Addict Behav 2004: 29:207-13.

[xi] Scollo, MM and Winstanley, MH.  Tobacco in Australia: Facts and Issue. 3rd Edition. Melbourne: Cancer Council Victoria, 2008. Available from