Don't pay the price of smoking

Monday 31 May, 2004

Quit and save on World No Tobacco Day, May 31

With the cost of smoking the focus of World No Tobacco Day around the world today, Quit Victoria says stubbing out the smokes for good will not only save you money, but also your health. Quit says new research by The Cancer Council Victoria has found that many Victorian smokers do not understand the range of diseases caused by smoking, with only one quarter naming heart attack or heart disease as an illness caused by smoking, and only 9% naming stroke and vascular disease.

Quit Executive Director Todd Harper says the Cancer Council's research shows the only illness caused by smoking that the majority of Victorian smokers spontaneously named was lung cancer. However, smoking causes a long list of illnesses including several types of cancer, heart disease, emphysema, chronic bronchitis, stroke and vascular disease, to name a just a few.

Research shows the main motivation for Australian smokers to change their smoking behaviour is because smoking costs too much, with 54% of smokers saying the cost of smoking was the main reason for them to quit or cut down. According to research from The Cancer Council Victoria, increasing savings, going on holiday or buying new clothes are three popular options nominated by Victorian smokers as things they would spend their cigarette money on if they quit.

Mr Harper says while saving money is clearly a powerful reason to quit, smokers should also remember that quitting smoking could also save their health.

""It's clear that smokers do not fully understand the risks of smoking. Research conducted by The Cancer Council showed that while two thirds of smokers could name lung cancer as a smoking related illness, very few smokers named pregnancy complications, low birth weight babies, SIDS, fertility problems or impotence as conditions that are caused by smoking.""

""Smokers are not aware of the large number of serious illnesses and conditions caused by smoking, and the list has grown longer following the release of a new report by the US Surgeon General, which concludes that smoking affects every organ in the body.""

“Anyone who smokes will appreciate what smoking does to your bank balance. On May 31, World No Tobacco Day, we’re encouraging smokers to think about the price of smoking to their health as well, and consider making today their day to quit.”

Mr Harper says to fit in with this year’s theme of 'Quit and save’, Quit has put together a special World No Tobacco Day Quit Pack, which is available free by calling the Quitline on 131 848. The 'Quit and Save’ pack includes a book which gives smokers simple, practical advice through the stages of quitting, from making the decision to quit to dealing with withdrawal symptoms and handling temptations.

“We’ve also developed a special calculator which estimates how much a smoker has spent in their lifetime on cigarettes, which is available on Quit’s website at www.quit.org.au.

“For example, a smoker who smokes about 15 cigarettes a day and has smoked for 10 years has so far spent about $21,900 on smoking – or about $2,190 a year.”

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Smoking in Victoria

  • 19% of Victorian adults are regular smokers (smoke daily or at least weekly)
  • 27% of Victorian adults are former smokers
  • almost 53% of adults in Victoria have never smoked
  • 22.5% of Victorian men smoke, compared to 16% of women
  •  almost a quarter (24.4%) of young Victorians aged 18-29 are smokers
  •  26% of boys and 30% of girls aged 16-17 are current smokers
  • Latest figures from The Cancer Council Victoria show that 1,788 Victorians died of lung cancer in 2002
  • 13 Victorians die every day from smoking related illnesse

Quitline’s top 5 quitting tips 

  •  A key part of a successful quit attempt is planning – so think about what triggers the urge to smoke for you, be clear about your reasons for quitting, and lay the groundwork for quit day by not smoking inside the home or in the car.  Being motivated is really important – write down your reasons for wanting to quit to help you stay motivated when you’re tempted to slip up
  • Set a date to quit – it’s important to have a goal to work towards
  • Get your friends and family to support you
  • Call the Quitline on 131 848 and ask for your free Quit Pack or talk to an advisor

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Further information :
Zoe Furman,
Media Communications Manager