Australia: Up in smoke: Cigarette prices to soar

3 May 2016

A PACK of 20 cigarettes will almost double to about $40 in just four years as the tobacco excise rises 12.5 per cent a year, starting on September 1, 2017.

And the number of duty-free ciggies you can buy at the airport will halve from 50 to just 25.

The measures will raise an estimated $5.1 billion over four years, including $445 million in GST for states and territories.

The news came as no surprise to Greystanes plumber Garry “Dooley” Burke and his mates at Parramatta’s Royal Oak Hotel. “They put up everything,” he said. “Including their wages.”

Mick Kruger has been a smoker for decades and doesn’t want to see prices rise again. 

“Why is it always the people who smoke and drink? I’d love to give up but I’m addicted. They need to put more positives into giving it up.”

The government believes the price rises will put more people off smoking. “One of the most effective ways to discourage smoking is to increase the price of cigarettes,” the Budget said.

“Increases in tobacco excise have contributed to significant declines in the number of people smoking daily.”

The news is slightly better for drinkers, with taxes on wine, beer and spirits untouched. But tax rebate schemes for producers are being adjusted, which could lead to higher prices for consumers.