Australian smokers will need to fork out an extra 12.5 per cent for their cigarettes from Tuesday 1 September as the tobacco excise increases.
Successive tax hikes from April 2010 have pushed the price of cigarettes higher, with today’s hike meaning a 25 pack of Marlboro Gold cigarettes will cost $48.50, while the average 20 pack will cost around $35.
Over the course of a year, that means a pack-a-day smoker will literally burn through $12,500.
The tobacco tax contributes around $17 billion to tax revenue, and according to Cancer Council Victoria, the taxes do contribute to declining smoking rates.
A study from the charity found that between April 2020 and April 2017, smoking in Australians 14 and over slipped from 17.87 per cent of the population to 13.30 per cent – or around 890,000 fewer Australians.
The tax hikes are estimated to bring in $4.7 billion for the government between 2016 and the final hike.
Price hikes aside, smokers have another incentive to quit in the form of Covid-19.
In Australia, four times as many smokers have tried to quit during the pandemic, Health Minister Greg Hunt has revealed, amid concerns that smokers will be hit harder by the virus should they contract it.
“Smokers are more likely to have lung damage or lung disease, which greatly increases the risk of serious illness should they contract Covid-19,” he said.
“When someone smokes, their fingers make contact with their lips. This may increase the chances of transmitting the virus from their hand to their mouth.”