Wednesday 18 October 2017

Smokers in Australia to pay €29 for pack of cigarettes

Australian Prime Minister Malcolm Turnbull. (AP)
Australian Prime Minister Malcolm Turnbull. (AP)

Jonathan Pearlman

Smokers in Australia will have to pay around $45 (€29) for a packet of cigarettes from 2020 after Prime Minister Malcolm Turnbull imposed a hefty tax hike on tobacco.

The measure was welcomed by medical experts and prompted some smokers to admit that the soaring prices would force them to quit. "That would mean [I would] just quit straight up," a 22-year-old woman told ABC News.

Expensive

"I can't afford 40 Australian dollars (€26). It's not worth the habit. It's already expensive as it is.

"I find at the end of the week I've probably spent $200 (€130 )just on smokes."

However, a 52-year-old who has smoked for 40 years said: "It's not going to stop me. You either want to smoke or you don't."

The average price of a packet of 25 cigarettes in Australia currently costs between $25 (€16) and $30 (€19).

Previous tax increases in 2010 and 2013 have caused cigarette prices to double in the past six years.

The ruling conservative coalition revealed the tax hike in its annual budget but insisted it was designed to improve health outcomes rather than raise revenue.

According to the budget documents, the excise on tobacco products will be increased by 12.5pc each year from 2017 to 2020.

This will mean the excise will amount to 69pc of the cost of a packet of cigarettes.

Taxes

Scott Morrison, the treasurer - a position equivalent to Minister for Finance - said the extra taxes would bring in an extra $4.7bn (€3bn) over the next four years.

Australia already has some of the world's toughest anti-smoking measures, including its notorious plain packaging laws.

The laws, which have led to legal challenges by the tobacco industry, require packets to carry no logos and to be plain aside from macabre health warnings.

Irish Independent

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