Like many, many Gold Coasters, my mum gave up smoking as her new year’s resolution.
Here we are, more than two weeks into the new year, and she’s trucking along nicely without her daily habit.
She’s also significantly better off financially, as she was choofing through almost a packet at a day, at a cost of around $30 per pack. If she could set those funds aside in a little piggy bank, she’d have almost $10,000 by New Years Eve.
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In fact, if Australians who smoke collectively decided to quit their smoking habits, we’d be able to wipe out billions of dollars worth of debt.
The latest stats released this month from the Australian Bureau of Statistics (ABS) shows that 13.8% of Aussie adults consider themselves to be daily smokers, lighting up half a pack a day on average.
And new research by comparison site Finder has crunched the numbers on this, revealing that Australians spend around $14.6 billion per year on smokes.
That is more money than I can comprehend, so I feel the need to spell it out in all of its glory: it’s $14,663,600,000.
Spent on cigarettes. Every single year.
In other words: literally every single person who smokes could afford to go on an extravagant overseas holiday each and every year, if only they could kick their nicotine addiction.
New York, Paris, Rome, Amsterdam, Hong Kong, Fiji, the Maldives – take your pick!
If that’s not enough incentive, Finder editor-in-chief Angus Kidman says smokers are financially penalised in other ways – like when getting insurance premiums, for instance.
“Insurance companies generally don’t differentiate between an occasional smoker and a pack-a-day smoker,” he says, adding that some insurers “charge up to 134% more if you’re a smoker”.
In further bad news for my mum and her ilk, Kidman says insurers usually require members to have given up smoking for at least a year before they classify them as a “non-smoker” and reduce their premiums accordingly.
I’m not quite sure how insurers can know your smoking habits for sure, unless they perform an autopsy after your death (too grim?), but it seems to me that quitting cigarettes is the best decision a smoker could make.