Price Of Durries To Hit $40 By 2020 If Labor Elected, Bill Shorten Says

Opposition Leader Bill Shorten announced this morning that if elected, the Labor party would increase the tax on tobacco causing a 25 pack of cigarettes to cost $40 by 2020.

Speaking to media today, Shorten said that the policy was aimed at preventing young people from taking up smoking in the first place: “Ask any parent who smokes whether they want their kids to start smoking as well, and of course they’ll say ‘no’. I want to stop young people taking up smoking and I want more people to quit smoking.”

He also cited his personal experience, which a depressing number of us could relate to, tbh.

As it stands, the price of a $24.69 pack of smokes today would rise to $29.91 in 2020.

The tobacco excise has been rising by 12.5% each year since 2013, but Labor’s policy would see it rise another four times each year till 2020, until 3/4 of the cost of durries would be tax.

Shadow health minister Catherine King says the policy will bring us into line with the UK, France, and New Zealand, and is based of evidence and recommendations from the World Health Organisation.

Shadow treasurer Chris Brown admits that hiking the price will affect poor people more, but that they’re trying to improve life expectancy: “Poor people do smoke more, poor people do die earlier. There is a number of reasons why [that is], but smoking is up there for people who are on low incomes dying earlier than people on high incomes.”

It’ll also raise an extra $47 billion over the next decade.

British American Tobacco Australia (BATA) reckons that Labor’s policy will simply cause the black market trade to rise, in one of the grossest press releases to ever slide into this writer’s inbox.

According to BATA-logic, if Labor decided to crack down on the black market instead of rising tobacco taxes, their revenue would almost double.
They seem to be forgetting that a) Labor (at least on a surface level) is coming at this from a health point of view, b) THERE IS ONE VERY OBVIOUS PARTY THAT WOULD BENEFIT HERE, AND WE CAN ALL SEE IT.
BATA (an artist’s impression):
“It appears that the Labor Party is more than happy to slug smokers in the hip pocket, rather than to tackle the illegal trade and organised crime,” BATA spokesperson Scott McIntyre said in the statement.

“If illegal tobacco was removed from Australia, the government would gain $5.6 billion dollars over a four year period in foregone revenue. This is much more than the $3.8 billion Labor thinks they would recover by slugging smokers with the tax they announced today.”

“There are nearly three million adult smokers in Australia and every time they pull a cigarette out of their pocket in the lead up to the election they’ll be thinking of the Labor Party slugging them with another tax.”

Image: Cameron Spencer via Getty.