Tobacco consumption down 17.5% since plain packaging laws took effect

Wed, 03 Jun 2015  |  

Tobacco consumption has plummeted a staggering 17.5 per cent since the plain packaging laws were introduced in late 2012.

Stick that in your pipe and smoke it!

It was just over a year ago that The Australian peddled some convoluted findings about tobacco consumption in the aftermath of the plain packaging laws. Indeed, it the report of 6 June 2014, an article under Christian Kerr’s byline suggested: “tobacco sales volumes increased … last year”.

The facts showed the opposite and consumption of tobacco had fallen in the prior 12 months.

It was a disgraceful effort from Kerr and The Australian to suggest that smoking had increased and after I pointed this out in a blog post here , there was a tirade of abuse and retribution that was frankly incredible. The likes of Judith Sloan, Henry Ergas, Sinclair Davidson, Jack The Insider and several editorials did there best to slag me personally and muddy the issue with jargon, clap trap and a flood of erroneous comments.

Fast forward a year to today and the great news is that the volume of tobacco consumed continues to fall.

Today’s data in the National Accounts for the March quarter 2015 shows that the volume (and I repeat volume, Sinclair) of tobacco consumed in Australia is down 17.5 per cent in the two and a half years since the plain packaging laws were introduced at the end of 2012 (the base quarter is September 2012).

Get it Henry?

Just to repeat... the volume of tobacco consumed is 17.5 per cent lower than when the plain packaging legislation took effect. Judith, that is a minus sign. Jack, that is less, not more.

I wonder if The Australian will be running a Page 1 story on this fact tomorrow?

I simple note a couple of other benchmarks. The volume of tobacco has fallen 32 per cent since 2005, it is down 37 per cent since 1995 and it is down a staggering 60 per cent since the mid-1970s.

Before I close off, there are no doubt that other factors influencing this fall in tobacco consumption. Things like the 35,000 or so people who have died from smoking related illness in the since the plain packaging laws were introduced is certainly a negative for their consumption of tobacco.

Then there are the excise increases, advertising bans, bans of smoking in many public places, health warnings and public awareness campaigns that all have had some impact on tobacco consumption.

Whatever the exact reason, let’s rejoice that tobacco consumption is in free fall and let’s hope this trend continues.

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How Labor lost the federal election SO badly

Thu, 07 Nov 2019

This article first appeared on the Yahoo Finance website on 20 May 2019 at this link: 

How Labor lost the federal election SO badly

The Coalition did not win the election, Labor lost it.

The tally since 1993 for Labor is a devastating seven losses out of nine Federal elections. By the time of the next election in 2022, Labor will have been in Opposition for 23 of the last 29 years. Miserable.

The reasons for Labor’s 2019 election loss are much more than the common analysis that Labor’s policy agenda on tax reform was a big target that voters were not willing to embrace.

Where the Labor Party also capitulated and have for some time was in a broader discussion of the economy where it failed dismally to counter the Coalition’s claims about “a strong economy”.

In what should have been political manna from heaven for Labor, the latest economic data confirmed Australia to be in a per capita recession. This devastating economic scorecard for the Coalition government was rarely if ever mentioned by Labor leader Bill Shorten and his team during the election campaign.

This was an error.

If Labor spoke of the “per capita recession” as much as the Coalition mentioned a “strong economy”, voters would have had their economic and financial uncertainties and concerns confirmed by an elevated debate on the economy based on facts.

This parlous economic position could have been cited by Labor for its reform agenda.

Why animals are a crucial part of the Australian economy

Thu, 07 Nov 2019

This article was written on 31 October 2019: It was on the Yahoo Finance website at this link: 


Why animals are a crucial part of the Australian economy

Animals are a critical part of the Australian economy, either for food, companionship or entertainment.

But every month, millions of sheep, cattle, pigs, chickens, fish and other animals are bred and then killed. Most of them are killed in what we define as ‘humane’, but no doubt tens of thousands are horribly mistreated, as are a proportion of the animals we keep as pets.

Animals are slaughtered to provide food for human food consumption, to feed other animals (your cats and dogs are carnivorous) and for fertiliser.

The Australian Bureau of Statistics collects a range of data on animal slaughterings and the most recent release of the Livestock and Meat data release included the following facts.