A tobacco tax increase taking effect today has been welcomed by health stakeholders.
Quit Victoria Director Dr Sarah White says regular price increases for cigarettes are the single most effective means of reducing death and disease from smoking.
Price increases are particularly effective at stopping young people from taking up smoking, and encouraging quit attempts among lower socioeconomic groups, she says.
“Cancer Council research found that more than half of Victorian smokers tried to cut down or quit in response to cigarette tax increases in 2013,’’ Dr White says.
“We are confident today’s tax increase will motivate many more Victorian smokers make a quit attempt.”
The tax increase commencing today is the third of four annual 12.5% increases in federal tobacco excise.
The initial increase took effect on December 1, 2013; the final increase is due to occur on September 1, 2016.
Dr White says the tax rise will add about $1 to a packet of a leading brand of 25 cigarettes, pushing the price over $20.
She says a pack-a-day smoker could save more than $7000 a year by butting out, in addition to the significant health benefits.
Mary Barry, CEO of the National Heart Foundation, says increasing taxes is a proven measure that will save countless lives from the harmful effects of cigarettes.
“We applaud the Federal Government for continuing to drive down smoking rates through tax increases. The increases also help propel Australia towards world best practice when it comes to the single most effective measure to cut the carnage caused by smoking – tax and price,” she says.