Study: Aussies Have All But Given Up On Cigarettes But We’re Still Fond Of A Drink

Study: Aussies Have All But Given Up On Cigarettes But We’re Still Fond Of A Drink

New research analysing the spending habits of Australians over the past 30 years has confirmed it’s all bad news for the tobacco companies and seemingly good news for the alcohol ones.

Following on from the release of the nation’s GDP numbers yesterday, Business Insider Australia took a look at the consumption patterns of Australians since 1986 in five major categories – cigarettes, alcohol, food, electricity and gas, and new vehicle sales.

Obviously the results should be viewed in context of the nation’s population increases over the last 30 years – up from 16.1 million in 1986 to just over 24 mill last year.

Looking at the chart below (reproduced from Business Insider), sales of cigarettes and tobacco have plummeted over the past three decades and Aussies now consume a third less fags than we did in the late 80s. Clearly the health messages and the hefty price of a pack are working.


When it came to alcohol the research found that we may be giving up the durries but our love of booze has never been stronger. Back in 1986 we spent $2 billion a year on alcohol and that’s more than doubled to $4.037 billion in 2016. That’s double the spend despite the population in that time increasing by only 50 per cent.

The increase in alcohol consumption contradicts a 2016 report into the nation’s health that found drinking rates were actually in decline. The report by the Australian Institute of Health and Welfare found Australians were abandoning fags and booze, however, we were all getting fatter and more anxious. That report found two-thirds of Aussies were overweight and half had a chronic disease.

When it came to the weekly supermarket shop, we’re now spending twice as much as we were 30 years ago; however, things like inflation also need to be factored in. This mirrored our spends on electricity, gas and fuel – although there was a significant dip in the cost of these when Tony Abbott repealed the carbon tax in 2013.

For new car sales the study found seasonally adjusted vehicle purchases have increased from just over $1 billion per quarter in 1986 to around $4.5 billion in 2016. Sales of new cars also matched the economic climate of the time. There were sharp falls during the early 90s recession and during 2008’s GFC.

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