The cost of smoking

The latest research estimates that smoking came with a $137 billion price tag for Australian society in one year alone. These costs comprised of health care spending, reduced workplace productivity and pain and suffering caused by smoking-related illnesses, but what do these damages look like for the average Australian bloke? From health to hip pocket — here’s how your smoking habit is costing you. 

1. Wellbeing

The health costs of smoking are hard to ignore. Tobacco use contributes more to the poor health of Australian people than any other modifiable risk factor. It’s estimated that Australian smokers die a decade earlier than non-smokers and the habit is responsible for more than three-quarters of the health burden from lung cancer, and two-thirds of the health burden from chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD) in Australian men. And, smoking affects more than your lungs, increasing your risk of more than 60% of lifestyle-related diseases, including various other cancers, type 2 diabetes and osteoporosis.

2. Financial

Australia has one of the highest prices of cigarettes in the world, and for most smokers, that’s what is motivating them to quit or cut back. You can calculate the exact amount of money you’re wasting on smoking here, but if you’re smoking half a pack of cigarettes a day over 30 years, you’ve spent nearly $100,000. In May 2023, the government announced it is increasing tobacco prices by five per cent each successive year, so in 2026 a 20-pack will cost 15% more than it does now. 

3. Sexual

The biggest impact smoking can have on your sex life is an increased risk of erectile dysfunction. Smoking increases the buildup of plaque in your blood vessels, which can increase your risk of cardiovascular disease, heart attack and stroke and reduce blood flow to the penis. This can impact your ability to get and maintain an erection. 

4. Reproductive

Smoking cigarettes can impact your fertility and ability to start or grow your family. Smoking is linked to reduced sperm quality, causing a lower sperm count, less semen and poorer movement. The more cigarettes you smoke, the worse your sperm quality is, but even ‘light’ smokers (less than 10 cigarettes a day) have reduced sperm quality. Smoking can also affect the health of your future kids — heavy smoking (more than 20 cigarettes a day) at the time of conception increases your child’s risk of developing childhood leukaemia.

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