If you think that quitting smoking saves you a ton of money here in the United States, be grateful that you don’t live in Australia where a pack of cigarettes will increase to a whopping $45 per pack by 2020. Thanks to a new tobacco tax, the Australian Parliament is enacting the new legislation as a way to encourage smokers to quit. Of course, a nice added side benefit is that the new tobacco tax will result in at least $5 billion of extra tax revenues after only two years, too.
For American vapers, this sort of government regulation sounds eerily similar to the recently announced FDA deeming regulations. But the two forms of legislation are actually very different. Unlike the FDA, the Australian Parliament is not including e-cigs and vaping devices in their latest tax increase. In fact, our friends “down under” view vaping as a significantly healthier alternative to smoking. They promote vaping rather than demonize it. Did you hear that, FDA?
Australia’s long history of tobacco taxes
This isn’t the first time that Australia has placed a sin tax on tobacco products. They’ve done it twice before in the past decade, in 2010 and 2013. But Australia also boasts some of the lowest populations of smokers in the world. Where approximately 21 percent of Americans currently smoke, only 13 percent of Australians take up the nasty habit.
Furthermore, the new tobacco tax comes in conjunction with a new packaging law which forbids cigarette companies from including any special branding or imagery on their labels. Every pack of cigarettes essentially looks identical with the same generic font and dreary olive-brown coloring, meant to make the cigarettes look rather unappealing to the average consumer. Again – did you hear that, FDA? Perhaps you could follow the lead of Australia. They seem to know what they’re doing.
The Aussie government is counting on the steep prices of cigarettes to overcome some minor budgetary issues. The new legislation was introduced by the Labor Party as a way to fill a massive $20 billion hole. However, many experts estimate that more than three times that amount could be raised by 2020, even as the smoking population continues to decline with each passing year due to the new $45 per pack price tag. In short, Australia’s tobacco tax is a win-win. The government makes tons more money, and public health soars as a direct result. Well done, Australia! Well done!