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 https://thekouk.com/blog/the-australian-s-claim-on-tobacco-go-up-in-smoke.html , 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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