Despite the snake oil, garbage econometric modeling and deliberate mistruths from tobacco companies and the IPA, the indisputable facts show volume of tobacco consumed by Australian households has fallen to a new record low. A record low! 

The national accounts reveal that the volume of tobacco consumed fell 2.2 per cent in the September quarter to continue the broad down trend in tobacco consumption evident over many decades.

Despite population growth, the volume of tobacco consumed in aggregate terms has never been lower going all the way back to 1959 when the ABS started calculating the data.

Of note, since the introduction of the plain packaging laws in December 2012, the volume of tobacco consumption has plummeted 6.3 per cent. If this was the volume of GDP, we would be approaching an economic depression. While the excise increases, the death of 25,000 smokers from smoking related illness and financial pressures more generally on consumers may have (almost certainly would have) contributed to the collapse in tobacco consumption, it appears that plain packaging laws played their part in the process. 

Whatever the reasons, other than smoker’s deaths, who cares why people are smoking less?

Let’s rejoice at some great news that bodes well for the health system and is wonderful for people’s health and well being and all because of government policy intervention.