Australian smokers will now be paying a lot more for their bad habits.
On Monday, the excise on a pack of 20 cigarettes climbed from $8.13 to $9.24, an increase of $1.12. The excise on a pack of 40 climbed even higher, from $16.26 to $18.51.
As The Age points out, that means casual smokers will now be paying close to $1 for every smoke break.
The changes, which were supported by Health Minister Peter Dutton, are expected to encourage 200,000 Australians to quit smoking.
The government is predicting a lot fewer smokers as well. In this year’s budget, it slashed expected tobacco revenue by $500 million, saying that about 1 billion fewer cigarettes will be sold.
“The latest increase breaches significant price points,” Australian Council on Smoking and Health president Mike Daube said.
“It’ll cost $7000 a year to smoke a pack a day. We estimate that just as a result of this increase, around 800 million fewer cigarettes will be smoked in Australia and around 60,000 smokers will quit.
“It’s also important that the tax increases are accompanying a great deal of publicity about the harms of smoking and measures such as plain packaging.”
Australia isn’t the only place cracking down on smokers. In Arizona, Pima County administrator Chuck Huckleberry issued a memo proposing that smokers be exempted from hiring in a new initiative that could begin as soon as next January.
According to the memo [PDF] sent by Huckelberry, the move was meant to be an extension of Pima County’s “commitment to employee wellness, increased productivity and decreased medical costs.”
As AZCentral.com points out, the memo proposed other measures against smokers:
“Pima County declared its campuses tobacco-free zones in 2013, but the proposed regulations would expand the initiative to include:
– Not hiring smokers for county jobs.
– Testing for nicotine use among current employees.
– Enacting a surcharge on smokers covered by the county health plan.”
The moves to increase cigarettes to close to $1 per smoke appears to be working in Australia. Government statistics show that in the first three months of this year smoking consumption was the lowest on record.