Tobacco tax on cigarettes has just risen by 13%, from 62 cents to 70 cents per cigarette, which equates to a packet of cigarettes which previously cost $32.50, now costing $35.20. Additionally, excise duty on other tobacco products has been raised by 17% from $771.60 to $901.39 per kilogram.
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“That’s a $2.70 price hike that will make poor, addicted smokers worse off,” said Liberal Democrats Senator David Leyonhjelm. “The government bans the sale of e cigarettes that contain nicotine, even though these are 95 per cent less harmful than cigarettes. The extortionate taxation of tobacco, combined with the ban on e-cigarettes and plain packaging rules, have generated a booming black market in untaxed, unregulated tobacco run by organised crime. This supports the pushing of drugs and illegal guns,” he added.
Finder.com.au spokeswoman Bessie Hassan, pointed out that now would be a good time for smokers to quit. “It’s not just the price of a packet of cigarettes but also more expensive insurance premiums, and the cost to your health over time that all add up. It’s important to note that insurers usually require you to have given up smoking for at least 12 months before they classify you as a non-smoker, so start today.”
Increased prices do not make people smoke
“For the first time ever, there has been no statistically significant reduction in the smoking rate, and an increase in the number of smokers in Australia,” said Mendelsohn. He pointed out that for the first time, the smoking rates in Australia have exceeded those in the US. “This is despite plain packaging and the most expensive cigarette prices in the world.” A packet of cigarettes in Australia costs an average of $25.10, while in the UK it would cost $14.80 and $8.50 in the US.
Alex Wodak, director of the Australian Drug Law Reform Foundation, agrees with Mendelsohn “Australia is doing everything right in terms of tobacco control, but one key difference with the UK and USA, where smoking rates have dropped, is our hostility to e-cigarettes,” he said.
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