Coles, IGA and Foodworks under fire for cut-price Ukrainian cigarettes

Three of Australia’s major supermarkets are drawing harsh criticism for selling cheap imported cigarettes – targeting those most vulnerable to the habit

Three of Australia’s major supermarkets are drawing harsh criticism for selling cheap imported cigarettes – targeting those most vulnerable to the habit in the process.

According to The Sydney Morning Herald, Coles, IGA and Foodworks supermarkets are now selling cigarettes from Imperial Tobacco: some manufactured in New Zealand, others in the Ukraine.

These Ukrainian cigarettes can be up to $6 cheaper than their New Zealand counterparts, which has drawn harsh criticism from anti-smoking advocates.

Dr Sarah White, director of Quit Victoria, has raised severe concerns over the move.

“Any measure that is trying to make cigarettes cheaper for people to keep them hooked on an addictive product that kills two out three long-term smokers is reprehensible,” she said.

“We strongly suspect that there is manipulation of prices particularly in areas where people cannot afford premium price packs and there are studies that show there are prices lower around schools”.

“The cigarette companies are not doing this make money, they’re doing this to keep people hooked on their toxic product”.

This measure is a serious setback for the federal government; high taxes on cigarettes remain a major part of their plan to discourage smoking, particularly among Australia’s youth and those in lower socio-economic backgrounds.

A spokesperson from the federal department of health told SMH the Australian government “would be concerned about any reduction in the price of a packet of cigarettes that may attract young people to take up the habit”.

“We have one of the highest rates of tax on cigarettes in the world as a means of deterring people from smoking, but if cigarette companies legitimately bring product into the country and drop the price unfortunately there is nothing we can do about that”.

How do you feel about this reduction in cigarette prices? Should the cost remain higher for moral and health reasons? Do Coles, IGA and Foodworks have an obligation to avoid cheaper imported cigarettes, or is it a fair business practice?

  1. Martin Smit  

    I t
    Hink the government are a bunch of hipocrits.
    On one hand they say “dont smoke it”s bad for you and then put an illegal and immoral tax on them.
    On the other hand they dont tell you that they not only want but need the money that they rip off us. If they were serious they would ban cigarettes but that means it would start a black market which is almost impossible to tax. Bunch of losers!!!!!!!!

    • Please explain how this is an illegal tax when the Commonwealth has the right to implement taxes constitutionally. And how is it immoral to tax a product that causes so many health issues?

  2. The watcher  

    I wonder if ethics and morals have a ‘tricklddown effect’? It seems that the corporate executive business community is bent on harming the general population, the pursuit of the dollar taking predence over decency.
    High time we looked at the french solution to rid ourselves of our home grown self appointed aristos.

  3. denis boyles  

    Dont complain about the govt. Stop smoking … I stopped 3years ago after 40 years and Im so glad those cig companies arent getting anymore of my money.

    • Elaine  

      Don’t you mean your glad the government isnt getting your money! They get double what the cig companies get!

  4. Vic  

    Smokers choice… If they want to smoke, let them…….the government gets enough tax on the product.. If no one smoked they would put the price up on something else… Smokers always cop the raw end of the deal. Just go away and leave people to their choice. They want to build or develop places for ice and drug users, wasting $$$$ on them… Stuff it, drugs nowadays are worse then smoking! I work, I smoke, junkies use their dole to pay for their drugs and get a rehab to go to… their money is to pay rent, which most of them don’t pay anyway.. I Know, I am in real estate/rentals… !!!!! So back off the smokers and get real!

  5. I’d like to see the government put up the price of beer to $40 per bottle. No? You bunch of weasels!

    • Gloria  


    • George Covacs  

      Hey Henry, I take it you want to tax moderate, responsible drinkers to the hilt just to save a few idiotic binge drinkers from themselves.
      I bet you vote tax-and-spend friendly Greens or Labor!

  6. sharyn quinn  

    they try to stop us smoking they try to us stop eating ,they try to make everybody healthy , then they tell us that we are living too long and becoming a burden on the health system and the pension. there are bullies in this world and the government is one of them, alcohol causes more damage then smokes. if I smoke it doesn’t change me if I drink I become an idiot others do more. you will never make the world perfect as we are an imperfect race ,

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