The price of tobacco in Australia will be among the most expensive in the world should Labor win the next Federal Election. Fairfax Media are reporting that the Federal Opposition is looking to implement another round of three 12.5 per cent tax increases on tobacco products to pay for the last two years of Gonski education reforms. The Coalition says the previous Labor Government left the reforms unfunded to the tune of $30 billion. The current government is yet to reveal how it intends to pay for the increase.
The tobacco excise was last increased in September of this year and is due to go up another 12.5 per cent in September 2016 on top of indexation. Further increases would see the cost of a cigarette in Australia push well beyond $1 per stick.
The Department of Health website states that, “increasing tobacco prices, through taxation, is one of the most effective measures that governments can take to reduce premature death and disease due to smoking.”
What do you think? Are Australian smokers being unfairly targeted? Should the focus be less on increasing prices to raise more money for the Government and more on reducing the number of smokers in Australia?