POSITIVE POLICY

Fight Smoking Related Diseases

Tobacco consumption continues to have serious health and economic impacts for individuals, their families and society.

Each year in Australia tobacco still kills more than 15,000 people and has more than $31.5 billion in health and economic costs.

Results from the 2013 National Drug Strategy Household Survey show approximately 12.8 per cent of Australians - or around 2.5 million people - smoke daily.

The costs of smoking also continue to weigh down on the economy and on the budget through its adverse health effects and associated costs to the healthcare system.

The $31.5 billion in economic and social costs is more than triple the amount of revenue raised by the Commonwealth from tobacco excise, which stood at around $8.3 billion for the last financial year.

A Shorten Labor Government will further curtail Australia’s biggest preventable cause of disease and death by raising tobacco excise to bring it in line with world’s best practice. Labor will introduce four annual 12.5 per cent increases in excise on tobacco.

Following the four 12.5 per cent increases in excise, taxation as a proportion of the retail price of a packet of cigarettes will sit at around the World Health Organisation’s target of 75 per cent of the retail price.

Estimates suggest that in Australia these measures should lead to tens of thousands more Australians quitting smoking and that number again will smoke less than they otherwise would for every excise increase contained in this package.

After initially opposing this measure as “another tax grab”, Labor welcomes the Coalition’s inclusion of it in the 2016 Budget. Only Labor can be trusted to take effective action to reduce smoking.

Further information is available here.