Saturday, May 01, 2010

Tax Hike On Cigarettes - It's About Time

I don't know about you but I abhor smoking. The smell is horrible, the health effects and the cost on the hip pocket all disgust me. When I was growing up our house was a smoke-free zone except for visitors who were deemed too important to offend by telling them to go outside. This was only one visitor from memory. It's been drummed into me from being a toddler that smoking is unacceptable.

Finally Kevin Rudd's government has done something that I can agree with. They upped the price of a packet of cigarettes by 20% by way of a tax increase. Very few smokers that I know (actually I don't associate with a great deal of smokers) would be put off by the price. They all know that it is detrimental to their health, which should be the biggest reason for quitting, but they still can't bring themselves to do it. Once they're hooked price doesn't really come into the equation. Finance 101 talks about supply and demand and the association with price. I don't think that the price hike will deter many hardcore smokers but long term there will be less smokers as youngsters will be able to afford to smoke less and less. If the young can be stopped from taking up the habit initially there will be much lower demand for cancer sticks. And that bodes well for society in my opinion. I feel that the effects of this will pay off in the long run but not create a significant change in the attitude of current smokers.

Another initiative of the government is to ensure that cigarette packaging is plain. The ghastly photos of gangrenous toes, cancer-ridden mouths and affected eyeballs obviously hasn't done the trick. There has been some response that the plain packaging won't have an affect but I'm sure it will. Cigarettes won't catch the eyes of the young and impressionable. I reckon it will see real benefits in the years to come.

I wonder how much money the government reaps from taxes on cigarettes and how much medical care actually costs the community with regards to treatment for smokers. If there was more to gain by getting rid of cigarettes then laws would be passed for them to reach $50/packet or ban them altogether but methinks that the revenue stream is too hard to ignore.

I can see Australian tourists returning home trying to bring more foreign cigarettes into the country. Why aren't they banned from the duty-free list? That would help a little bit. I don't see smokers getting their wages docked for taking smoko breaks when non-smokers can't.

Of course the tobacco industry is none too pleased by the decision taken by the government. Why would they be? I don't have any time for those who (knowingly) deal in death. I'm sorry to see that they can't find an industry that I find so personally offensive to make money out of.

Well done Kevin - 1 out of 7239 right is getting back on track.


Susan Ham said...

Don't remeember very many people who visited, or who smoked. I do remember telling Brenton and Sam to put their cigs out, and to pick up the butts when they left. They did not come again. Funny about that!The other reason our place was smoke fre, was because of my Asthma and alergies.

Anonymous said...

Tax those killers!!!

Iris Flavia said...

I don´t see much smokers these days anyways!
I was surprised to see so many smokers on Cuba, though...

Back here in Hannover I read a sign: "Smoke-Free Train Station" and thought, hmmm, thumbs up! Just to meet the next sign saying: "Smoker Zone 50m", gaah!

Yupp, higher taxes will at least frighten off the young ones!