The cigarette tax increase announced by the Federal Government today could help tens of thousands of Australians to kick the habit, Quit Victoria Acting Executive Director Kylie Lindorff said today.
The Federal Government announced today it would increase cigarette excise by 12.5% each year for the next four years.
Ms Lindorff said the decision had strong public support, with 81% of respondents in a recent Cancer Council Victoria survey approving of a tax increase on cigarettes if the government gave extra funding to help smokers quit.
"A cigarette price increase is the single most effective thing a government can do to drive down smoking rates and we congratulate the Federal Government for continuing its outstanding record on tobacco control by taking another important step in the battle against this deadly habit," she said.
"There is absolutely no doubt that this measure alone has the potential to save thousands of live that could otherwise be lost to the devastating harms of tobacco."
Cancer Council Victoria data released yesterday 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.
Ms Lindorff said calls to the Quitline doubled in Victoria in the weeks after the 2010 tax increase and consumption overall in Australia fell by 11%.
"With 15,000 Australian deaths every year from smoking-caused illness, this is a courageous step and one that will make tobacco products less affordable and help thousands of addicted smokers break a habit that will consign them to a premature death," she said.