Last updated: 31 Aug, 2018

Just 1 in 20 singles willing to date a smoker: Josh quits, finds love

A new TV-led public education campaign from Quit Victoria casts a light on all the things smokers hate about smoking, such as the cost, the isolation, the breathlessness and the constant feeling of being judged.

Quit Victoria Director Dr Sarah White said the new campaign, You Quit, You Win which airs across Victoria from Sunday, highlights that there’s so much to gain by quitting smoking.

“This new campaign hones in on the things smokers have told us they hate about smoking – from the constant coughing and feeling short of breath, to having to hide their habit from loved ones and, of course, the financial expense,” Dr White said.

“Pack-a-day smokers could save around $9,500 a year, or $800 a month, by quitting. Over five years, that’s almost $50,000. I’m sure smokers would prefer to put that money towards a house deposit, family holidays or a new car – anything but lining the pockets of international tobacco company executives who knowingly sell products that kill two in three long-term users.”

Saving money was a huge motivator for Melbourne’s Josh Ridge, who quit smoking five years ago at the age of 35.

But as well as finding more cash in his bank account, he also – rather unexpectedly – found love.

Six months after Josh quit he met Antonia, his now fiancée and partner of four years. They also now have a 3-month old boy, Harry.

Figures from RSVP.com.au show that only 1 in 20 members are willing to date a smoker, while for 7 in 10 Elite Singles users, finding a partner who doesn’t smoke is a non-negotiable deal-breaker.

For Josh, these stats couldn’t be closer to the truth.  

“Since being with Antonia, I’m so happy. I have quitting to thank for enabling me to find love and build a family. Had I continued to smoke, this might never have happened,” Mr Ridge said.

The You Quit, You Win campaign centres around a TV advertisement that reflects the negative feelings and scenarios smokers say they experience on an almost daily basis, but reminds smokers of what they will gain if they quit. TV-led public education campaigns and high prices have been shown to be the two most effective measures to help smokers quit.

VicHealth CEO Jerril Rechter said smoking remains one of the largest causes of preventable death in Victoria.

“Alarmingly, around 4,400 Victorians die from smoking-related health problems each year,” Ms Rechter said.

“It’s vital that we encourage the 730,000 smokers in Victoria to realise how much their habit is controlling their lives, and empower them to break free by quitting for good.

“If you’re thinking about quitting and ready to take back control, calling the Quitline on 137848 is a great place to start.”

On Saturday, the second in a series of four annual 12.5% tax increases will come into effect, announced by the Turnbull Government, and in line with World Health Organization recommendations.

Based on analyses of previous tobacco tax increases, this is likely to prompt at least 320,000 Australians to give up smoking, and deter approximately 40,000 teenagers from taking up the habit.

The You Quit, You Win TV campaign is supported by radio, digital and outdoor advertising and runs until 13 October 2018.

Quit Victoria is a partnership between VicHealth, the State Government of Victoria, Cancer Council Victoria and the Heart Foundation. For more information, visit: www.quit.org.au