Spending, shopping and saving: Ex-smokers' perceptions about material gains following quitting

Billie Bonevski, Christine Paul, Paras Lorraine, Christophe Lecathelinais

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

2 Citations (Scopus)


Objective: To measure (a) the perceived amount of money saved by ex-smokers after quitting, (b) changes in shopping behaviours and (c) alternative uses of the money saved. Design: A 2006 computer-assisted telephone interview survey of smoking-related behaviours and attitudes in New South Wales, Australia. Main outcome measures: Participants (N = 147) who had quit smoking in the previous 12 months answered items regarding personal expenditure on tobacco smoking. Results: Most (51%) ex-smokers reported spending up to $40 per week on cigarettes when they smoked. Fiftysix per cent of lower socioeconomic status (SES) ex-smokers reported spending over $40 per week on cigarettes compared to 40% of those from higher socioeconomic areas. Almost a third (28%) of respondents reported shopping more or shopping at different locations since quitting. The three highest alternative items purchased since quitting were food (19%). other things not listed (13%) and clothing (10%); however, most respondents reported not changing their spending habits (54%). Conclusion: This study indicates that tobacco is a high-cost product with smokers spending approximately 5% of average weekly income on cigarettes. Those living in lower SES areas report spending more on cigarettes than those in higher SES areas. The majority of quitters could not identify any change in spending or saving as a result of quitting. However, changes in shopping behaviours were noted. It may be useful for quitters to quarantine their cigarette money to increase the salience and power of financial benefit as an incentive to maintain quitting.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)77-82
Number of pages6
JournalJournal of Smoking Cessation
Issue number1
Publication statusPublished - Jun 2010
Externally publishedYes


  • Costs and benefits
  • Financial outcomes
  • Smoking cessation


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