(Image: Unsplash/ Mathew MacQuarrie)

When I see someone smoking, I tend to scowl as I pass through the putrid cloud they’re creating. But next time I might offer to shake their hand. Because smokers are almost single-handedly propping up our nation’s fiscal situation.

When smokers hand over $23 a packet for their death sticks they share a great deal of that expenditure with the rest of us. The excise on tobacco in Australia is $1076 a kilogram, or 80.7 cents per cigarette. And it is rising, again, by a whopping 12.5% in September this year.