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New data shows significant drop in ‘heavy’ smokers


The number of ‘heavy' smokers has dropped by over 20% in the last twenty years, accounting for just 17% of Victorian smokers of factory made cigarettes in 2005.

Data released today shows that less than 1 in 5 of Victorian smokers fall into the ‘heavy' category of smokers who smoke over 25 cigarettes a day.

The data from the Cancer Council Victoria's Centre for Behavioural Research revealed:

  • The number of Victorian smokers smoking fewer than 15 cigarettes a day has jumped by over 15% in the last twenty years, to account for over 50% of smokers in 2005.
  • Heavy smokers now only account for 17% of Victorians smokers, dropping dramatically from 39.9% in 1985.

Executive Director of Quit, Mr Todd Harper, said the falls in cigarette consumption for smokers could be attributed to a change in the tobacco control environment in Victoria over the last decade.

"In the last few years we have seen an increase in the number of smokefree areas and the implementation of some hugely effective social marketing campaigns that have motivated countless Victorians to either quit or reduce their cigarette consumption."

Mr Harper said while it is encouraging to see smokers smoking fewer cigarettes, it is essential that smokers remember there is no such thing as a safe level of tobacco consumption.

"Quitting smoking completely is the only way to stop and reverse the damage done by cigarettes because every cigarette smoked has both a short-term and long-term effect on the body ."

"Many smokers may cut down before making a quit attempt, but the recovery of your body will only start from the time you stop smoking completely."

 The data comes on  the eve of World No Tobacco Day, which this year carries the theme "Deadly in every form or disguise."

"The theme of World No Tobacco Day this year reinforces that smoking has devastating consequences regardless of how many cigarettes or what type you smoke," said Mr Harper. 

Mr Harper said the smokers who give up those remaining cigarettes a day will not only reap tremendous benefits when it comes to their health, but also experience significant financial rewards.

"If a 15 cigarette-a-day smoker was to quit today they will have over $45 extra in their pocket every week. After a month they would have saved almost $200, and after a year they will have saved over $2300."

With the money you save annually after quitting smoking you could buy:

  • 1786 litres of unleaded petrol
  • 103 Huggies Bulk Nappies, pack of 48
  • 23 Monthly Zone 1 Metcard tickets
  • 72 reserved seating footy tickets            
  • 2 return airfares from Melbourne to the Gold Coast
  • 1 return airfare to Paris
  • 15 MP3 Players
  • 94 new CDs, DVDs or videos.


Edwina Vellar,
Media Manager
ph: (03) 9635 5400
mob: 0417 303 811

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