Cost per average smoker$5237 per year*
Cost per average drinker$800 per year*

*This is based on 2017/2018 ABS data that daily Australian smokers averaged 12 cigarettes a day and our drinking estimate is based on 2015/2016 ABS data that the average Australian household spent $32 a week on alcohol [1][2].

We all know that tobacco, alcohol and refined sugar all have the potential to compromise your health and wealth as a smart renter but did you know that it’s actually easy to take back your freedom from these addictive substances?

Common threads

  • We used Allan Carr’s Easyway books to kick all three (Easy Way to Stop Smoking, Easy Way to Control Alcohol and Good Sugar Bad Sugar) starting with smoking for one of us.
  • We paid for them with our own money and receive nothing for recommending them; they just worked really well and explain addiction in a really straightforward way.
  • They are based on the idea that the physical dependency of an addiction is actually very weak, rather it’s ours and society’s idea of the addiction that makes it seem impossible to stop.
  • These books spend very little time on the reasons you shouldn’t do something, instead they look at the reasons for why you smoke, drink or eat a lot of sugary foods.
  • Forget willpower, using any of these books is easy; read and follow all instructions (and continue to use the thing that you want to quit whilst going through the book).
  • If reading books is not your thing, there are Easyway clinics available throughout Australia and online though they are more expensive than the books but do feature follow up support.


  • The pros of stopping smoking is that it is generally frowned upon by most Australians, cigarettes are not displayed on sale openly, and there’s no advertising.
  • The cons of stopping smoking is that we have been brainwashed to believe that it’s enjoyable and really hard to stop (even TV sitcoms and movies still revisit this theme occasionally, perhaps this is paid for?).
  • Cigarettes don’t give you a boost, they just relieve the withdrawal symptoms from the previous cigarette.
  • Quitting without willpower means you get to feel that sense of relief 24/7 and total freedom from the trap of nicotine addiction. It’s a wonderful feeling.
  • After attempting to quit seven times, one of us was lucky enough to be recommended the Easy Way to Stop Smoking book and quit successfully in 2006.


Photo taken in Khoa San Road, Bangkok.



  • The pros of quitting drinking is that it is limited to social events and doesn’t hook you in as quickly as smoking does.
  • The cons of quitting drinking is that the onus is on the person who quits to explain themselves and there is the belief that drinking is only a problem for a tiny segment of the population.
  • The important thing about drinking is not how much you drink but how it impacts you; we’re not here to preach but rather to offer a way out if you’re not comfortable with your drinking.
  • Alcohol gets credit for being the life of the party so it was enlightening to discover that the two drink buzz is really just good time numbed out by alcohol after more than two drinks.

Refined sugar

  • The pros of quitting refined sugar is that unlike tobacco, you’ll probably come across it in small quantities (e.g. in tomato sauce) without feeling the need to grab a chocolate bar.
  • The cons of quitting refined sugar is that it is in so many products (80% of supermarket foods on average have added sugar), is acceptable to consume 24/7 and marketers are cleverly using alternatives that are as unhealthy yet are advertised as sugar free alternatives [3][4].
  • Sugar is used to make unpalatable foods more palatable or even addictive. Cigarettes use sugar soaked tobacco to make it easier to draw smoke down into the lungs and increase the absorption of nicotine. Cigarettes would not be near as profitable without sugar [5]
  • Quitting refined sugar helps to reset your taste buds to enjoy natural sugars in fruit and vegetables that have fibre to prevent over eating.


Wholesome food doesn’t need sugar to taste great.


 A final note

  • There is a link between trauma and the use of addictive substances to numb that trauma (e.g. drugs like alcohol, marijuana, cocaine, heroin etc.).
  • As an example, drug use amongst soldiers and veterans tends to be higher than in the general population due to the need to cope with extreme trauma [6].
  • On the flipside, the vast majority of people who are given morphine in hospital for pain relief are easily able to stop when the pain is gone despite that it is a highly addictive opioid [7][8].
  • Because of this, we don’t want to oversimplify the idea of addiction and acknowledge that there may be a deep seated reason for why someone might be more inclined to abuse a substance more than others which needs to be addressed first [9].

If tobacco, alcohol or sugar are wrecking your health and wealth, it’s time to give them the flick. Rather than focus on the reasons for why you shouldn’t use these, we have found that the most successful and long lasting changes are the ones that focus on addressing the reasons for using them.

Health and Wealth HomePage


Further Reading:



[3] The 80% figure came from That Sugar Film (2014) by Damon Gameau, an excellent documentary on the health effects of sugar in our diets.

[4] Check labels carefully, for example some so called sugar free products simply substitute sugar for fruit syrup which is just as sugary as it doesn’t have the fibre of the fruit or the nutrition. As for artificial sweeteners, there are questions around their effects on our health, not to mention that like sugar, artificial sweeteners are often added to foods and drinks that have little to no nutritional value:

[5] Here’s a brief summary and there’s more detailed information in The Case Against Sugar by Gary Taubes:




[9] For a big picture view into drug abuse, trauma and the War on Drugs, read Chasing the Scream by Johann Hari.