The government has hiked up the price of packets of tobacco cigarettes by up to $2.70 per packet.
The changes came into effect from the 1st of September, with tobacco excise on cigarettes rising by 13 per cent per stick, and excise on other tobacco products by 17 per cent.
Liberal Democrat Senator David Leyonhjelm said it was a cruel tax rise that will only make things worse for addicted smokers.
“In addition, GST is imposed on both the cost of tobacco and the tobacco excise — a tax on a tax,” he said.
“Tax will rise from 66 per cent of the price of cigarettes to 69 per cent. Tax paid by smokers is at least 17 times the cost that smokers impose on other taxpayers via the health system.
“The government bans the sale of e-cigarettes that contain nicotine, even though these are 95 per cent less harmful than cigarettes. The extortionate taxation of tobacco, combined with the ban on e-cigarettes and plain packaging rules, have generated a booming black market in untaxed, unregulated tobacco run by organised crime. This supports the pushing of drugs and illegal guns.”
The new taxes and measures are expected to earn the government an addition $360 million in taxes over four years.
In 2016-17, the government raked in $10.69 billion in tobacco excise, News.com.au reported.
Finder.com.au’s Bessie Hassan said smoking adds up to a lot over the course of a year and that now would be a good time to quit.
“[You’ll] potentially save yourself over $10,000 a year,” she said.
“It’s not just the price of a packet of cigarettes but also more expensive insurance premiums, and the cost to your health over time that all add up. It’s important to note that insurers usually require you to have given up smoking for at least 12 months before they classify you as a non-smoker, so start today.”