Did the Government just admit they want people to keep smoking?

Think about it: if everyone in Australia stopped smoking and drinking, there would be no revenue from the taxes on

Think about it: if everyone in Australia stopped smoking and drinking, there would be no revenue from the taxes on these items. Shops would go broke and the healthcare system would see a lot fewer patients. So has this been the Government’s plan all along, especially when it comes to smokers?

It’s no secret that the tax on cigarettes is a revenue-raising exercise, however today has been an interesting insight into why it isn’t exactly on the agenda to reduce smoking numbers, but instead to increase the price of a pack for smokers.

Speculation is mounting that increasing the excise on cigarettes is part of the government’s Budget plan. Despite Labor’s plan earlier this year to push up the price of cigarettes to $40 over the next four years being criticised by Tony Abbott as a “workers’ tax”, it seems the current Government likes the idea. 

“We have very high tobacco taxes, but we also have found, as a Minister for Health in the Howard Government … one of the most significant ways of reducing health costs is to reduce the number of smokers,” Christopher Pyne told Channel Nine.

“It makes a direct impact on the cost to health on the rest of the community”.

So why then would the Government want to increase the cost of cigarettes again when they know people will smoke them?

Mr Pyne refused to reveal whether or not increased tobacco taxes would be announced in the Budget, but hinted any excise hikes would be smaller than those proposed by Labor. 

Finance Minister Mathias Cormann also wouldn’t rule out increasing taxes on cigarettes today.

“I’m not going to go into specific measures in the Budget,” he told Sky News.

“The Budget will be delivered on the third of May but what I can say is that our focus has been on strengthening growth, creating more jobs, and as such our focus has been on improving the way we raise the necessary revenue for government, not on increasing the overall tax burden in the economy.”

“Because what we are seeking to do is by improving our tax mix, by making our tax system more growth friendly.”

Labor MP Anthony Albanese told Today the government was acting as if it was the opposition.

“Poor old Christopher doesn’t realise that he’s the government,” he said, reports News Corp.

“Every time you get asked a question you talk about Labor”.

Shadow treasurer Chris Bowen told ABC TV, “I note that the government, after having complained about our policy has now … pretty clearly indicated they’ll be in the same space on election day”, referring to how the party in power seems to be borrowing ideas, namely cigarette tax, from Labor.

We’ll have to wait and see what the Budget holds, but it could be bad news for smokers.

Tell us, do you think the Government truly wants smokers to quit? Should there be more ads aimed at helping people quit, rather than dissuading them through measures that benefit the Government’s back pocket?

  1. Smokers will smoke regardless of the price. Quitting smoking is a very personal and difficult decision to make. They know the health risks so I can’t see much point in spending money on quit smoking campaigns

  2. Lorraine Wilson  

    What is going to happen when smokers start suing the government. Why are the taxes on cigarettes so high when the multi rich don’t even pay tax. Our government rob us on a daily basis thanks to the media for keeping us informed. Thanks to the smokers the government has money to give to refugees ( not OUR elderly, disabled or veterans ) and other countries. I believe that smokers should be saying where our taxes go and Australia might be a better place. If you don’t like the smokers then don’t live off their taxes.

  3. scotty  

    leave the bloody smokers alone.if they really want us to quit dont make them legel

  4. Fair Trading and compliance has been hijacked by a Government with investments in the Cayman Islands. The dark side of this is the Government have aligned themselves as common drug dealers clawing money from the common people full well knowing that community will have to come up with the money or else. Their health is not their concern, nor is where the money comes from.. They like it like that and there is nowhere anybody can go to do something about it. These are the same guys trying to take penalty rates away, raid our superannuation and than tell us to fight for our country. I’m not a smoker but B S is just plain wrong.

  5. Pamela  

    If no-one smoke or drank alcohol the loses from tax would be made up of savings from reduced health, accidents and criminal activity costs.

  6. Terri Rice  

    Gave up on real cigarettes 14 months ago, as had to have a minor operation on my feet but the surgeon refused to operate if I smoked – I had to be clear for 3 months before he would operate. That night I smoked the last 4 in my packet & haven’t touched them since. However I do use an electronic cigarette which is just as satisfying , but a lot cheaper & doesn’t contain the normal nasties of regular cigarettes. Instead of apx. $ 400.00 per month for 2 cartons, it now costs apx. $ 10.00 per month + I can get away with smoking the vapour ( which is all it is ) almost anywhere. The NHS in England did put them on as a free prescription for people who wanted to give up the real thing – but don’t know if that still applies.
    Only know I am really happy with the decision & thank my surgeon for forcing me to do it.
    What we need now is for our Australian government to recognise their benefits & allow them to be readily available – but of course there won’t be any tax revenue will there? Which is why they are still trying to block them whilst increasing the price of real cigarettes to gain more & more.

  7. bev  

    I’m not a smoker but my partner is he has smoked for 62 years. He has more than paid for his hospitals bed if he needs it. He smokes drum tobacco and it’s $56 per packet the exact same product in Bali is A$3 a difference of $53. He has tried a few times to give up but every time he watches tv all the quit smoking adds just remind him to smoke so they don’t work. The government will never ban smoking they make too much money from it. Honestly just leave the smoker alone they are paying their way I’m sure standing on a corner in cbd of a town is more dangerous from all the fumes from buses trucks and cars than the smoker

  8. BG  

    Alcohol causes far more damage to families and society than cigarettes ever will. Alcohol is mind altering which more often than not, leads to violence, assault and abuse. Why don’t the “do-gooders” and Government target alcohol as furiously as they do with smoking? I’ve questioned this for years and found no logical answer.

    • Terri Rice  

      Because most of them are alcoholics themselves & don’ t want to ” dirty their own doorstep ” ! !

  9. Julian de Meyrick  

    1. Like increasing tolls, increasing the price of cigarettes has been shown all over the world to be associated with a reduction in smoking. Those of us in Sydney enjoy the quieter traffic each time the tolls are hiked. But the effect wears off as people become used to the toll. Congestion on the roads is back up where it was prior to the hike. The difference with smoking is that it is part of a coordinated strategy, using education, price hikes, restricting availability to minors (most people take up smoking at about 15 years of age) etc. As a result, the proportion of people who smoke has dropped from around 70 percent of men in the 1970s to less than 20 percent now.

    2. I find it hard to have sympathy with the huge, very profitable tobacco companies who continue to prey on the vulnerability of young people to hook them on an addictive chemical – nicotine – and rip profits out of them knowing that more than half of the smokers will die a painful death 20 years before they would have died without smoking.

    3. Just pointing out that alcohol does more damage to the community than smoking is not a reason to take the pressure off smoking. Keep up the pressure on both. In the lifetime of what I imagine the typical SAS reader, we have reduced the road toll by a factor of ten and we have reduced smoking prevalence. We can do it.

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