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Individual smokers suffer economic hardship as a result of smoking.



In an Australian study that compared those who smoked in all three waves of a survey with those who were smokers only in the first wave, the odds of experiencing financial stress were 42% lower for quitters than for continued smokers.

In developing countries low-income households containing a smoker tend to divert a significant amount of (already scarce) income to tobacco products, which results in less resources for food and other essentials. This leads to a real decline in the quantity and quality of food consumed in poorest households, and there is a statistically significant reduction in the nutritional status of children in such households.

Tobacco consuming households in India had lower consumption of milk, education and clean fuels which has more direct impact on women and children compared to men. Tobacco spending was also found to have negative effects on per capita nutrition intake. Further, smokers in Cambodia were found to spend less on shelter, transportation, education and food, a consequence of the “crowding out” effect tobacco purchases have on a household budget. Finally, spending on tobacco instead of more economically productive goods has pushed 15 million Indian citizens below their national poverty line.
Interventions to encourage cessation among disadvantaged households are likely to enhance their material conditions and standards of living, and to reduce socioeconomic disparities in mortality.



Siahpush M, Borland R, Yong HH. Sociodemographic and psychosocial correlates of smoking-induced deprivation and its effect on quitting: findings from the International Tobacco Control Policy Evaluation Survey. Tob Control. 2007; 16(2): e2.

Siahpush M, Spittal M, Singh GK
. Smoking cessation and financial stress. J Public Health (Oxf). 2007; 29(4): 338-342.

Block S, Webb P. Up in Smoke: Tobacco Use, Expenditure on Food, and Child Malnutrition in Developing Countries. Economic Development and Cultural Change 58, no. 1 (October 1, 2009): 1-23.

John RM
. Crowding out effect of tobacco expenditure and its implications on household resource allocation in India. Soc Sci Med. 2008; 66(6): 1356-1367.

John RM, Ross H, Blecher E. Tobacco expenditures and its implications for household resource allocation in Cambodia. Tob Control. 2012 May;21(3):341-6.

John RM, Sung HY, Max WB, Ross H. Counting 15 million more poor in India, thanks to tobacco. Tob Control. 2011 Sep;20(5):349-52.

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