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Is household smoking status associated with expenditure on food at restaurants, alcohol, gambling and insurance? Results from the 1998–99 Household Expenditure Survey, Australia
  1. M Siahpush,
  2. R Borland,
  3. M Scollo
  1. VicHealth Centre for Tobacco Control, The Cancer Council Victoria, Melbourne, Victoria, Australia
  1. Correspondence to:
 Dr Mohammad Siahpush
 VicHealth Centre for Tobacco Control, Cancer Control Research Institute, The Cancer Council Victoria, 100 Drummond Street, Carlton, VIC 3053, Australia;


Aim: To examine how household expenditure on food at restaurants, alcohol, gambling and insurance vary between smoking and non-smoking households.

Design: Cross sectional survey of households from private dwellings, conducted by the Australian Bureau of Statistics (ABS), using a stratified multistage area sample design.

Setting: Australia, 1998–99.

Participants: Nationally representative sample of households (n  =  6892).

Main outcome measures: Expenditure on meals at restaurants, alcohol, alcoholic beverages at licensed premises, gambling, and insurance.

Results: The odds of reporting expenditure on restaurant food and health insurance were 20% and 40% smaller for smoking than non-smoking households, respectively. The odds of reporting expenditure on alcohol (not including expenditure at licensed premises), drinking at licensed premises, and gambling were 100%, 50%, and 40% greater for smoking than for non-smoking households, respectively.

Conclusions: The study suggests that smokers are more likely to engage in risky behaviour. Implementing smoking bans in licensed premises and gambling venues can provide an opportunity to reduce smoking prevalence. Quitting or cutting down smoking can provide opportunities for expenditure on other products or services, and enhance standards of living.

  • ABS, Australian Bureau of Statistics
  • IRSD, Index of Relative Socioeconomic Disadvantage
  • OECD, Organisation for Economic Cooperation and Development
  • SES, socioeconomic status

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  • Related papers: Siahpush M, Borland R, Scollo M. Smoking and financial stress in Australia. Tobacco Control2003;:–6. This paper is similar to the current paper in that it examines the relationship between household tobacco expenditure, the inability to afford essential household items, and financial stress.