The Australian Government should back up its outstanding record in tobacco control and announce a significant increase in the excise on cigarettes and other tobacco products, Cancer Council Australia said today.
Cancer Council Australia CEO, Professor Ian Olver, said price control through excise was by far the most effective public health measure to bring down smoking rates, particularly among young people and people on lower incomes.
"Evidence shows that the increase in excise in 2010 has driven down tobacco consumption by around 11%," Professor Olver said.
"The Preventative Health Taskforce, and our own evidence-based recommendations, have always been clear that the 2010 increase was the first of at least two phases required to bring excise in line with best practice.
"A significant increase would prevent many thousands of Australian deaths - it is the best step the Government could take to reduce the burden of 16 cancer types caused by smoking.
"The Government should increase the excise by at least 10% over each of the next four years. The bigger the increase, the better the health benefit.
"Discouraging tobacco use by increasing the excise is particularly effective among people on lower incomes, who bear the brunt of tobacco disease burden in Australia, and young people.
"A typical pack of cigarettes costs less than going to a movie. The Government needs to make dangerous, addictive tobacco products less affordable for vulnerable Australians.
"The Australian Government is rightly seen as a world leader in reducing the terrible harms of tobacco use, with groundbreaking initiatives such as plain packaging for tobacco products and an unprecedented investment in social marketing.
"It's time to take the next big, courageous step - make tobacco products less affordable, and help thousands of addicted smokers break a habit that will consign them to a premature cancer death."