New data for the volume of tobacco consumed in Australia shows another fall, to a fresh record low. It continued the extraordinary trend over many years, with a highlight being the free-fall in consumption since plain packaging was introduced in December 2012 and as the rate of tobacco excise has been increased.
The volume (yes volume Judith) of tobacco consumed fell 1.3 per cent in the September quarter 2015 after falling, respectively, 2.7%, 4.4%, 3.5% and 3.3% in the prior four quarters. It’s a Great Depression, at least for tobacco companies and retailers.
Since the introduction of the plain packaging laws, tobacco consumption – and this includes cigarette, rollies, cigars and pipe tobacco – has fallen a staggering 18.2 per cent. To be sure, the excise hikes would have had an impact on consumption, as would the death of over 40,000 smokers over that time who obviously no longer buy tobacco products, but plain packaging has play a vital role deterring younger people from taing up the habit.
Who would want to be a tobacco producer or retailer with this sort of trend? I must say I do not feel at all sorry for the doctors losing business on the back of fewer smokers presenting to them simply because there are fewer smokers.
Australia stands out as the text book example of how to reduce smoking rates – a mix of advertising bans, high excise rates and plain packaging have driven an extraordinary decline in smoking.
So a special thanks to former Health Minister, Nicola Roxon, for being bold enough to deliver plain packaging.
And I’ve nothing but on-going contempt for soon to be ex-editor of The Australian Chris Mitchell and his foul campaign to suggest plain packaging was not working. He and his merry band of clowns – Judith Sloan, Christian Kerr, Henry Ergas, Chris Merritt, Jack the Insider, Sinclair Davidson, Adam Creighton and the editorial writer should be suitably humiliated with these recent facts on the volume of tobacco consumed in the aftermath of the plain packaging laws.