Australia - tobacco tax increase results in more people quitting..

September 23, 2010 - An increase in tobacco taxes by 25 percent across Australia took effect at midnight on April 29, 2010. The tax increase will raise the price of a pack of 30 cigarettes by around A$2.16. Cigarettes currently cost around A$12 to A$15 a packet, depending on the brand, 1.00 A = 0.95 USD. Mr. Rudd said he hopes to use the A$5 billion from the higher cigarette taxes to fund public hospitals. (Australia - tobacco tax increase now in force, next comes plain tobacco packaging..)

Two months after the tax increase, a Galaxy survey of 1258 smokers found 38 percent had tried to give up, compared with 29 percent in the three months before the price rise. A further 29 per cent had cut down and 9 per cent had stopped.

Flinders University smoking cessation expert Associate Professor John Litt said the Government should consider further price rises. "It appears this move was the right one when it comes to trying to reduce smoking levels in this country," he said yesterday.

"According to this research, increasing the cost of cigarettes even higher would provide further benefits to our nation's public health. "As many as 68 percent would try to quit if the price hit $25 per pack (of 20) and only 16 percent would continue to smoke at any price. "This should be considered by our nation's leaders."

In July, the Australian Medical Association SA called for the Federal Government to go further and raise the price to $1 a cigarette.

One in five smokers responded to the price rise by stockpiling packs, buying on average four weeks' supply in advance.

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Reference: TOBACCO tax increases are pricing smokers out of the habit, latest research suggests, JILL PENGELLEY,, 9/23/2010.