A cigarette excise increase would help hundreds of thousands of Australians to kick the habit, Quit Victoria Acting Executive Director Kylie Lindorff said today.
The Australian Government should build on its outstanding record and announce a significant increase in the excise in tobacco control products, she said. This would be in line with World Health Organization's recommendation that governments should regularly increase taxes on tobacco as well as a recommendation by the Preventative Health Taskforce.
New Cancer Council Victoria data released today found almost two-thirds of smokers said they would try to quit smoking if the price of tobacco increased by 15%. Almost half of respondents predicted they would be likely to smoke fewer cigarettes if a tax increase was introduced.
More than 81% of respondents, including a majority of smokers, said they would approve of a tax increase on cigarettes if the government gave extra funding to services to help smokers quit.
Quit Victoria Acting Executive Director Kylie Lindorff said research had shown the increase in excise in 2010 had driven down tobacco consumption by 11%. She said a cigarette price increase was the single most effective action the government could take to drive down smoking rates.
"As one in two long-term smokers will die from a smoking-caused disease, a decision like this could translate to thousands of premature deaths prevented," she said. "Regular price increases, along with anti-smoking advertising campaigns and expansion of smokefree areas, are a key factor in driving down smoking rates.
"The Federal Government should build on its internationally recognised reputation as a leader in tobacco control and take this courageous step and help thousands of addicted smokers to break this deadly habit.
The research was conducted by the Centre for Behavioural Research in Cancer at Cancer Council Victoria. All data was collected through the Victorian Smoking and Health Survey conducted during November and December 2012. The research surveyed almost 500 smokers on predicted responses to price increases and a total group of more than 4,000 Victorians on public approval for tax increases.