A tobacco tax increase to take effect today provides smokers with yet another reason to butt out for good.
Quit Victoria Director Dr Sarah White said regular price increases for cigarettes were the single most effective means of reducing death and disease from smoking.
Price increases are particularly effective at stopping young people from taking up smoking, and encouraging quit attempts among lower socioeconomic groups.
“Cancer Council research found that more than half of Victorian smokers tried to cut down or quit in response to cigarette tax increases in 2013,’’ Dr White said.
“We are confident today’s tax increase will motivate many more Victorian smokers make a quit attempt.
“Not only is quitting the best thing you can do for your health, it’s also a great way to save money.”
The tax increase commencing today is the third of four annual 12.5 per cent increases in federal tobacco excise.
The initial increase took effect on December 1, 2013; and the final increase is due to occur on September 1, 2016.
Dr White said the tax rise would add about $1 to a packet of a leading brand of 25 cigarettes, pushing the price over $20.
She said a pack-a-day smoker could save more than $7000 a year by butting out, in addition to the significant health benefits.
“Quitting smoking has immediate health benefits – within a day almost all of the nicotine is out of your bloodstream, and within a week your sense of taste and smell may improve.
“The benefits continue to increase with time. An ex-smokers’ lungs become healthier within a year of quitting, and within two to five years there is a large drop in their risk of heart attack and stroke.
Dr White said that with plenty of support available, smokers were not alone in their quit journey.
“Seeking out support from a professional advisor or coach – for example through the Quitline – and using nicotine replacement products or quitting medications is the best way to increase your chance of butting out for good.”
Contact: Kate Hagan, Quit Victoria Media Manager, 0438 058 406
For help to quit smoking, contact Quitline on 13 7848 or visit quit.org.au