High cost of smoking
The annual social cost of smoking in Victoria is almost $7 billion, according to a recent report. The research by Professor David Collins of Macquarie University and Professor Helen Lapsley of University of Queensland estimated the cost for the financial year 2008/09. Collins said despite the total social cost of smoking in Victoria declining, when adjusted for inflation, by more than 10 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 eventually start to fall but the social costs of smoking remain high in Victoria. This result shows efforts to reduce smoking should not be relaxed,” said Lapsley. Executive director of Quit Victoria Fiona Sharkie said the report clearly illustrated the continuing need to invest in anti-smoking programs. “If smoking rates decline even 1 to 2 per cent further, the value of the social return would be about $1.8 billion. This is in addition to reducing the immeasurable and devastating toll of tobacco on those families who may have lost a loved one due to a preventable smoking-caused disease.” AAP
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