Reason to quit: Social

Societal values and personal appearance play a massive role in deciding to quit smoking. With the majority of quitters admitting that what others thought of them smoking, was a residing factor in their decision to quit. This links heavily into individual appearance as cigarette smoking has the ability to alter ones external features from yellowing fingers to causing permanent skin damage.

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This is the basis for Queensland Government’s ‘If you smoke, your future’s not pretty campaign’ which aims to curb smoking addictions within the female population. By appealing to inward vanity the campaign encourages individuals to upload a photo to the Future You Smoking Booth and see how your appearances ages when smoking. Our Chooseday writer, Lucy road-tested this fun app and found the results scary, see below.

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What we love about this initiative is that plays on the vulnerabilities of a smoker by talking about the future effects smoking will have on your appearance. More importantly, the campaign works towards seeing a reduction in female smoking in Queensland, where one in five women smoke whilst pregnant. Queensland readers make sure you check out the ‘If you smoke, your future’s is not pretty’ roadshow.

Here’s where you’ll find the roadshow next week:

Thursday October 23 (9am-5pm): Sunshine Coast, Sunshine Plaza, Maroochydore

Saturday October 25 (9am-5pm): Brisbane, Westfield Garden City, Mt Gravatt

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Reasons to quit: Political

Plain packaging - political

Politics may not factor in when deciding to quit. The majority of smokers wouldn’t even think of politics when buying their regular 20 pack however the systems that govern us play a great role in cigarette production and distribution. The last five years alone Australia has witnessed the introduction of plain packaging and regular tax increases, affecting the way smoking is viewed within our society.

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Within our nation the total taxes placed on a packet account for 62.5% of the final price, one of the highest ratios in the world. Through this increased tax rate the Federal Government receives a total of $8 billion annually. Although the mainstream Australian population agrees with these tax increases there has also been severe backlash. Recently, senator David Leyonhjelm’s apologised to smokers and vowed to stand up for the rights of the one in five Australians who choose to smoke. He believes there is a discrepancy in the amount that smokers contribute and receive from the Federal budget. He stated in 2013 smokers only required about $320 million from Australia’s healthcare system, despite contributing over $8 billion.

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Since the 1970s the political spectrum has been discussing the effects of smoking on the population, passing legislation altering the perception of cigarette smoking. Advertising of tobacco products changed dramatically in the early 1990s with the introduction of the Tobacco Advertising Prohibition Act (1992) which expressly prohibited almost all forms of Tobacco advertising in Australia, including the sponsorship of sporting or other cultural events by cigarette brands. Through changing the advertising patterns the government were able to better justify later decisions, which would affect the average smoker. It was not until 2007 when restrictions really came in to place with the introduction of federal law banning smoking in all Australian Commonwealth government buildings, public transport, airports and international and domestic flights. Within the space of seven years we have seen the introduction of a number of state and federal laws such as the NSW ban on smoking in a car with a minor present and the nationwide introduction of plain packaging in late 2012. No matter what your view is it is clear that there is a massive political influence on cigarette production and consumption, it will be interesting to see what the next few years bring…will we see a complete ban?

What are your thoughts on tax increases, plain packaging or Senator David Leyonhjelm’s comments?

Reason to quit: Economic

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A smoker may have hundreds of reasons to quit, from wanting to improve their general health to stopping for a loved one. Since mid 20th century the Australian government has sought to prevent smoking related illnesses and diseases, through means of increasing tobacco taxes. This has seen a steady increase in the cost of cigarettes with a 20 pack of Marlboro currently selling at around $19 with prices set to soar 12.5% over the next four years. If this tax is passed, it will see Australia become the most expensive place to smoke in the world. In order to further explore the correlation between the cost of smoking and the prevalence within society, we have listed the most expensive cigarette prices against the lowest (based on a 20 pack of Marlboro or equivalent).

Most expensive

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Australia – $18.56

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New Zealand – $17.56

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Norway – $17.50

Least expensive

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Pakistan – $1.17

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Vietnam – $1.19

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Nicaragua – $1.26

The Australian Government believes that by increasing tax prices of tobacco products will help curb smoking addiction. With tobacco-related diseases costing more than $31 billion to the national economy annually and causing over 15,000 deaths each year, the Federal Government has faced pressure to increase these taxes.

Recent predictions have indicated that the recent tax haul introduced will see around 800 million fewer cigarettes will be smoked in Australia and around 60,000 smokers will quit. Despite this, a current pack-a-day smoker will spend approximately $6,775 a year. Conversely, a pack-a-week smoker will spend just under a $1000 a year.

Blog 3

The choice is there. Make this Tuesday a day of choice.