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Smoking costs – and smokefree benefits

Smoking takes a serious toll on our country.

That’s in terms of healthcare administered to people suffering from smoking-related illnesses but also from the productivity loss and social cost of people succumbing to those illnesses.

There’s also the personal financial cost from having such an expensive habit. Read more about how smoking costs the workplace in the introduction of this research paper prepared for Quitline. 

The health costs of smoking

In New Zealand – and around the world – tobacco use is the leading cause of preventable death. Internationally, smoking-related illnesses directly kill around 5 million people a year.

  • Tobacco use is responsible for about 25% of cancer deaths in New Zealand – about 5000 of us a year, or 13 people a day.
  • A proportion of those deaths (around 350) of those are from second-hand smoke – that’s one non-smoker a day dying because of someone else’s tobacco use.
  • Half of all people who smoke long-term will die from a smoking-related disease.

However, these figures may be conservative as an Australian study suggests up to two-thirds of deaths in people who smoke may be attributed to smoking.

The personal benefits of giving up

  • Improved health, energy and general wellbeing.
  • More time – on average, non-smokers have more than 10 years of life to spend with family and friends than people who smoke do.
  • Smoking is an expensive habit – smoking a pack of cigarettes a day can set you back at least $231 a week or $12,012  a year.
Find out how much smoking costs by using Smokefree.org.nz's cost of smoking calculator

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