Why do people spend money on smoking

World No Tobacco Day May 31, 2017

© 2021 Action Alliance Non-Smoking e.V. (ABNR)

May 31st is World No Tobacco Day. This year's from the German Cancer Aid and the Action Alliance Non-Smoking e. V. issued motto in Germany is:

Smoking costs. No smoking costs nothing!


Smoking costs in many ways - not least life. The motto of this year's World No Tobacco Day illustrates the range of costs of smoking: from the individual burdens from spending on tobacco products, from illness and death, to the price for the general public due to health costs and production losses, to the ecological consequences of tobacco cultivation, production and disposal of tobacco products.

Individual costs

Smokers initially pay an average of 150 euros per month and 1,800 euros per year for their addiction. Smokers pay far more health-wise. Every year over 120,000 people in Germany die as a result of smoking, which corresponds to every seventh death. More than 80 percent of lung cancer deaths are caused by smoking. Tobacco consumption is also linked to many other cancers as well as vascular and lung diseases. Smoking reduces life expectancy by an average of ten years.

Despite improved protection for non-smokers, many people are still involuntarily exposed to secondhand smoke - it increases the risk of strokes by 20-30 percent, for example. Children cannot defend themselves and suffer particularly as a result. In the womb, in vehicles and indoors, they must be consistently protected.

Public costs

In addition to the diverse individual burdens, the general public also pays a high price for smoking. The damage to the economy amounts to around 80 billion euros a year - 25.4 billion for the health system and 53.7 billion for production losses and early retirement. If these expenses were included in the price, the cost of a pack of cigarettes would have to be 11.30 euros.

Ecological costs

Last but not least, tobacco cultivation, production and disposal of tobacco products cause massive ecological problems and corresponding follow-up costs. The effects of clearing primeval forests, massive use of pesticides, overfertilization and monocultures not only affect the cultivation countries, they also pollute the climate and thus affect the world. In addition, the working conditions in the growing countries are harsh, child labor is widespread and workers are inadequately protected against pesticides and nicotine.

The production and disposal of tobacco products also generate enormous amounts of waste. The manufacture of tobacco products around the world is estimated to generate more than two million tons of solid waste, 300,000 tons of nicotine-containing waste and 200,000 tons of chemical waste each year. Cigarettes are the most common waste product thrown away. Cigarette filters can be found everywhere in our environment and contain toxic and carcinogenic substances.

The demands of the ABNR for World No Tobacco Day 2017

The health, social and environmental costs of smoking are enormous. They would be 100 percent avoidable by not smoking. Yet far too little is being done in Germany to curb tobacco consumption. On World No Tobacco Day 2017, the ABNR is therefore calling for Germany to finally take effective regulatory measures to protect the population from the dangers of smoking and to promote non-smoking. Above all, this includes:

  • comprehensive protection of non-smokers through a nationwide regulation
  • a ban on outdoor tobacco advertising
  • a ban on smoking in cars if underage children are traveling with them
  • significant tax increases for tobacco products

Get active - for consistent tobacco prevention!

You can help raise awareness of the dangers of smoking and of growing and producing tobacco. There are many ways to get involved on World No Tobacco Day and beyond:

  • Advertise the benefits of a smoke-free life on social networks and draw attention to the harmfulness of consuming tobacco products.
  • Protect your children by ensuring that your home and your car are smoke-free.
  • Whether as pupils, teachers or parents: suggest projects and project days in your school to make clear the harmfulness and costs of smoking for the individual and the general public.
  • Offer information stands and events on tobacco prevention for your colleagues, employees, patients or customers. Encourage health days and smoking cessation in your company, in your company, in your authority, etc.
  • Advocate strictly smoke-free at your workplace.
  • Motivate your members of the state parliament and the Bundestag to work for consistent tobacco prevention in Germany: through complete non-smoking protection, a consistent ban on outdoor tobacco advertising and a significant increase in tobacco taxes.

We are happy to support you with free information material

You can use the order forms from the German Cancer Aid (order form cancer aid) and the German Cancer Research Center (order form DKFZ) to order information material.

You can also download the following materials directly:

  • The poster motif 2017 (pdf format)
  • The ABNR leaflet for World No Tobacco Day 2017 “Smoking costs. Not smoking does not cost anything! "(Pdf format)
  • ABNR positions 11/2016 - The European Tobacco Product Directive - an opportunity for a ban on outdoor advertising and other forms of advertising for tobacco products and electronic cigarettes (pdf format)
  • ABNR positions 10/2015 - Tobacco advertising (pdf format)
  • ABNR positions 8/2014 - Tobacco taxes - an effective preventive instrument (pdf format)

Publications of the German Cancer Research Center:

  • From science for politics 2017: Smoking harms - from cultivation to cigarette butts (pdf format)
  • Red series Volume 11: Environmental risk tobacco - from the plant to the dump (pdf format)
  • From Science for Politics 2015: The Cost of Smoking in Germany
    (PDF format)
  • From Science for Politics 2014: Tobacco Prevention in Germany - What Really Helps? (PDF format)

The World Health Organization (WHO) theme for World No Tobacco Day

This year's WHO theme is: Tobacco - a threat to development. You can find out more on the WHO homepage.

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