In an ongoing attempt to prevent smoking, cigarette prices rise higher than ever. So what’s the most a pack can set you back?
Recently, Australia took third place in the list of the most expensive countries in which to purchase alcohol, cigarettes and drugs, following Japan’s first place and New Zealand in second.
This high placing may come from Australia’s attempts to reduce the amount of smokers in the country through increasing the prices of cigarettes.
In a similar feat, the price of cigarettes in the US is set to increase this month, as New York City Mayor Bill de Blasio decided to raise the price of cigarettes from $10 to $13.
Despite the cigarette cost now being in the teens for US smokers, the price still doesn’t come close to the current home of the unaffordable cigarette: Australia.
Following the budget for 2018, Australia’s cigarette prices have hiked. This rise doesn’t come alone however, as Treasurer Scott Morrison announced that the amount smokers are paying is set to rise again on September 1, 2018. This rise comes second in four consecutive 12.5 per cent tobacco price increases.
The tax increase in Australia is expected to raise the average packet of cigarettes by about $3, with packets now nearing the staggering region of $40 AUD – around £23 – per pack.
Unfortunately, the price hikes do not appear to have had the desired effect, as Australia reported only a 0.2 per cent drop in smokers in the last three years.
In terms of who dropped the most smokers, Iceland took the lead, cutting its tobacco intake by 12 per cent, followed by Norway at 7 per cent.
When Morrison first announced the 12.5 per cent increase in 2016 the budget stated:
One of the most effective ways to discourage smoking is to increase the price of cigarettes.
Increases in tobacco excise over the last two decades have contributed to significant declines in the number of people smoking daily.
Anti-smoking campaigns in Australia have been downsizing their smoking community since the 1970s.
Despite these early leads, Australia’s handle on smoking is not what it used to be.
The Chairman of Australia’s Tobacco Harm Reduction Association, Associate Professor Colin Mendelsohn, spoke to Yahoo7 News, explaining the situation:
High prices simply aren’t working anymore.
Australia is no longer the world leader in tobacco control it once was.
Where the amount of smokers in Japan, the US and the UK continue to drop quite dramatically, Australia’s decline has slowed.
Dr Mendelsohn suggests this may be due to Australia’s lack of alternatives to smoking.
Where other countries have substitutes such as vaping, these options are not so readily available in Australia.
Dr Mendelsohn said:
We are punishing smokers who just can’t quit and it’s hurting them financially as well as physically.
Australia’s tobacco price increase is set to continue until 2020, so buying those packets will be sure to empty smokers’ pockets.
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Emily Brown first began delivering important news stories aged just 13, when she launched her career with a paper round. She graduated with a BA Hons in English Language in the Media from Lancaster University, and went on to become a freelance writer and blogger. Emily contributed to The Sunday Times Travel Magazine and Student Problems before becoming a journalist at UNILAD, where she works on breaking news as well as longer form features.