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New report reveals social costs of smoking in Victoria


A report released today has revealed the annual social costs of smoking in Victoria are almost $7 billion.

The report, authored by Professor David Collins (Macquarie University) and Professor Helen Lapsley (Universities of Queensland and New South Wales), estimated the social costs of smoking in Victoria in the financial year 2008/09.

Also explored were the benefits, expressed in terms of a decline in social costs, of a 2.7% drop in adult smoking rates in Victoria.

Professor Collins said despite the total social costs of smoking in Victoria declining, when adjusted for inflation, by more than ten per cent since 1998/99, smoking still cost the Victorian community $6.8 billion every year.

“As the lagged effects of past smoking work their way through the system and smoking rates continue to decline, real smoking costs will inevitably eventually start to fall but the social costs of smoking remain high in Victoria.”

“This result shows efforts to reduce smoking prevalence should not be relaxed. Indeed there is strong economic justification for continued investment in public anti-smoking programs.” said Professor Lapsley.

Executive Director of Quit Victoria, Ms Fiona Sharkie, said the report clearly illustrated the continuing need to invest in anti-smoking programs in Victoria.

“The social costs of smoking Victoria are still far too high but we know that sustained investment in effective tobacco control can have tremendous economic benefits for Victoria.”

“Government funded programs to reduce smoking rates are a great investment.  The authors of this report estimate that if smoking rates decline even 1-2% further, the value of the social return would be about $1.8 billion.”

“This of course is in addition to reducing the immeasurable and devastating toll of tobacco on those families of who may have otherwise lost a loved one due to a preventable smoking-caused disease,” said Ms Sharkie

To arrange an interview with Professor David Collins, Professor Helen Lapsley or Fiona Sharkie please contact:
Edwina Pearse, Communications Manager, 0417 303 811

The social costs of smoking in Victoria in 2008/09 and the social benefits of public policy measures to reduce smoking prevalence report is available here

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