September 1, 2016

Tax increase helps smokers butt out

QUIT4OCTOBER campaign supports smokers to quit 

Today, the Federal Government raised taxes on cigarettes, the latest tax increase intended to further cut smoking rates and reduce death and disease caused by smoking.

With an ongoing series of 12.5 per cent annual tax hikes pencilled in, the average price of a packet of cigarettes in Australia is set to climb to more than $40 by September 2020.

Today’s rate hike will see many smokers cough up at least $1.30 to $3.35 more tax per pack, depending on size, taking the average price of a pack of cigarettes to around $22-$25.

Lung Foundation Australia CEO Heather Allan said price increases, such as those resulting from a tax rise, were a proven and effective strategy to motivate smokers to quit.[i]

“Every year, about 15,000 Australians die prematurely from diseases caused by smoking. Smokers should not only think about their health but also about the financial impacts. If a pack-a-day smoker quits, he or she is likely to save more than $6,500 per year,” she said.

“There are also immediate health benefits to quitting smoking at any age.

“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.”[ii]

Tobacco Treatment Specialist Associate Professor Colin Mendelsohn said research showed the most successful way to quit smoking was with the support of a health professional.

“Only three to five per cent of unassisted quit attempts – what many people call going cold turkey – are successful, compared to 25 per cent of those that use health professional support and stop-smoking medication,” Associate Professor Mendelsohn said.

“If people who smoke work with their health professional to achieve their goal of being smoke free for 31 days, they will be at least five times more likely to become a permanent ex-smoker,”[iii] he said.

Throughout September, Australians are being called on to encourage friends and family who smoke to seek support from health professionals and to join QUIT4october™, a month-long campaign starting on Saturday 1 October, 2016.

Dedicated to helping people quit smoking with the support of their health professional, people wanting to quit smoking should visit to gather information about quitting smoking, take an online lung health check or download a checklist to support their conversations with their GP or pharmacist.

The QUIT4october program is championed by Lung Foundation Australia and proudly supported by Pfizer PFE Australia Pty Ltd.

QUIT4october sponsor logos600px

For media enquiries, please contact:

Tanya West 0406 907 845 Email:

Daniella Goldberg Tel: 0416 211 067 Email:


Notes to Editors:

About QUIT4october™

QUIT4october is a month-long initiative dedicated to helping people quit smoking with the support of their healthcare professional. People who smoke can visit to download information resources and register their participation to receive emails or texts messages of support. The campaign will be promoted via traditional and social media in addition to local community events at certain locations to encourage people to support the initiative.

Stop Smoking – The Facts

  • About three million Australians (or about 16 per cent) aged 14 or older continue smoke, with about 13 per cent smoking tobacco daily.[iv]
  • According to recent research, 75 per cent of smokers want to quit[v] but only 3 to 5 per cent of unassisted quit attempts are successful compared to up to 25 per cent of those attempts that use the support from their local doctor, pharmacist, tobacco treatment specialist or other counsellors.
  • For every year you continue to smoke after 35 you shorten your life expectancy by three months.[vi]
  • If you quit smoking at 40 years of age, you gain nine years of life and, at 60, you gain four years.[vii]
  • Your risk of a heart attack falls by half three to four years after quitting.[viii]
  • The average weight gain after quitting is only two to three kilograms over a five year period[ix] however one in five quitters actually loses weight.[x]
  • If you quit smoking a pack of cigarettes a day you are likely to save more than $6,500 per year.[xi]

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

[ii] 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.

[iii]  West R., Stapleton J. Clinical and public health significance of treatments to aid smoking cessation. Eur Respir Rev 2008; 17: 110, 199–204. DOI: 10.1183/09059180.00011.

[iv]Australian Institute of Health and Welfare 2014. National Drug Strategy Household Survey detailed report 2013.Drug statistics series no. 28. Cat. no. PHE 183. Canberra: AIHW.

[v] Mullins R., Borland R. Do smokers want to quit? Aust N Z J Public Health 1996; 20(4):426-7.

[vi]Doll R, Peto R, Boreham J, Sutherland I. Mortality in relation to smocking: 50 years’ observations on male British doctors. BMJ. 2004; 328(7455): 1519.

[vii]Teo KK, Ounpuu S, Hawken S, et al. Tobacco use and risk of myocardial infarction in 52 countries in the INTERHEART study: a case-control study. Lancet. 2006; 368(9536): 647-658.

[viii] Teo KK, Ounpuu S, Hawken S, et al. Tobacco use and risk of myocardial infarction in 52 countries in the INTERHEART study: a case-control study. Lancet. 2006; 368(9536): 647-658.

[ix] Tian J, Venn A, Otahal P, Gall S. The association between quitting smoking and weight gain: a systemic review and meta-analysis of prospective cohort studies. Obes Rev. 2015.

[x] Aubin HJ, Farley A, Lycett D, et al. Weight gain in smokers after quitting cigarettes: meta-analysis. BMJ. 2012; 345: e4439.

[xi] Accessed September 2015