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    Increase in Quitline calls following cigarette tax hike

    13 May 2016

    Cancer Council SA has welcomed an increase in calls to its Quitline service following the tobacco tax increases announced in the 2016-17 Federal Budget.

    Cancer Council SA’s Quitline received an almost 60% increase in calls in the week of the Federal Budget, with callers referring to the looming increase in cigarette prices as their main motivation for seeking support.

    Nationally it has been estimated that 320,000 adult Australian smokers are likely to quit and 40,000 teenagers deterred from taking up the habit following the announcement of 12.5% annual tobacco tax increases over the next four years.

    Cancer Council SA Chief Executive, Lincoln Size, said that the upcoming tax increases will have a positive impact on the state’s smoking rate.

    “We know price increases help drive down smoking rates which can also ease the cost burden on our health system,” Mr Size said.

    “Our Quitline counsellors have seen calls increase by almost 60% since coverage about the tobacco tax hikes began and many callers have mentioned the cost increase as their main motivator to quit.

    “There is the regular mention of the impending ‘$40 per pack’ from callers and this has already persuaded many smokers to quit the deadly habit.”

    While smoking rates have declined over the past decade, there are still large geographical areas around the state where rates are high and previous price increases have proven effective in encouraging people to kick the habit.

    “We’ve seen an increase in calls to the Quitline when previous price hikes have taken hold and we hope to see more people take action to quit in the coming months,” Mr Size added.

    “There are 16 different types of cancer which are caused by smoking, so it is certainly never too late to give up.

    “Here in South Australia, 21 people die from tobacco related illness each week, so we hope that not only will this tax increase encourage people to quit smoking but also deter many young people from taking up the habit.

    “Calling Quitline is one of the best things people can do if they want support with quitting smoking, independent research shows that people who use the Quitline are twice as likely to succeed with their quit attempts.

    “Smoking is becoming an increasingly expensive habit, but a greater price to pay is that tobacco products will kill two in three long term users.”

    Anyone wanting advice on how to quit smoking should call the Quitline on 13 7848 or visit www.quitlinesa.org.au.

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