Rising Tide Blog

The Financial Cost of Smoking is killing Australians

Posted by Matt Hale

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According to the most recent statistics by Quitline, more than 13% of Australians over the age of 18 are regular smokers.

While this number has almost halved in the last 30 years,it’s still a sizable figure,and is known to cause close to 15,000 deaths per year.

Cost to Australia

Smokers are putting a serious dent in the Australian economy. The effects of smoking are estimated to cost our healthcare system a staggering $320 million every year, but it doesn’t end there.

Smokers are also believed to be costing Australian taxpayers about $150 million a year in bush-fire control and prevention.

Cost to the consumer

In the current market, a 20-cigarette per day habit can set you back a whopping $8,000 per annum. Yep, you read that right. $8,000 every year, and prices continue to climb.

To put that sum of money into perspective, for a person who began smoking at the age of 16 and quit at retirement age, the cost of smoking can add up to almost $400,000.

It’s hard to fathom what having $400,000 worth of spare cash lying around would be like – something as simple as storing it safe in your superannuation fund would generate an additional $25,000 in retirement income.

Can you imagine what you could do with that? Spend it wisely, and that extra cash can have a pretty big impact.

Stuff you can do with $8,000

Say you’ve just taken the plunge and bought your first home. With a $500,000 mortgage at 5% interest to be paid off over 25 years, having an extra $8,000 to throw in can have your home paid off eight years sooner, and save you more than $100,000 in interest repayments.

After something a bit more adventurous? $8,000 will buy you a round the world plane ticket (in business class, no less). How about a luxury African safari, or a once in a lifetime trip to the Maldives?

Our top tips on how you can stop (or cut down) buying smokes

  1.  Making a firm decision to quit or cut down is the first step to succeeding, and choosing to spend time with friends who don’t smoke over friends who do can give you a great leg-up. While it might not always be possible to keep away from smokers completely, making efforts to avoid situations in which you would regularly smoke (where possible) can really help curb cravings.
  1. If and when you do buy smokes, make a conscious effort to pay with cash rather than credit. The physical act of handing over your hard earned cash makes the purchase far more tangible, and easier for you to see where your money is really going.
  1. Instead of purchasing cartons, buy one pack at a time. Although this may seem like the slightly more expensive option, you’re actually likely to smoke less, as having a large supply on hand might encourage you to smoke more.
  1. Leave your smokes at home, and if you’re out with friends, bum a ciggie off a mate. You’re bound to smoke a whole lot less, because let’s face it, no one wants to be ‘that friend’ always asking for a smoke!
  1. Our last tip is one of the most tried and tested ways to start saving. Put the money you would usually spend on smokes into a clearly visible container and watch it grow – no matter how small you start, your progress will continue to inspire you and help make sure you stay motivated.