Tax Increase Would Affect Low-Income Smokers


In Australia a group of doctors are warned about new tobacco tax that comes into action from December 1. They say it would affect most of all low-income people and people with mental diseases.  The tobacco tax increase by 12.5% is expected to raise $5.3 billion over 4 years. Thus an average smoker will pay an extra $10 a week.

Accroding to Colin Mendelsohn, the  Australian Association of Smoking Cessation Professionals vice-president, the tax increase that comes into action several weeks before Christmas holidays, will mostly affect poor people as among them smoking is most prevalent. Dr Mendelsohn told that he really thinks that it is exploiting smokers, who are drug addicts, who want to stop but cannot do it

This creates a difficult situation for disadvantaged groups such as people from lower socio-economic groups, people suffering from mental disease and indigenous populations. All people from these groups do have low disposable income and low quit rates. Those who have problems with quitring are likely to be doubly disadvantaged by the increase of cigarettes proces.

Treasurer Joe Hockey opposed to that price increase when prime minister Kevin Rudd declared in August about tax increase.

According to Mr Hockey, this will lead to the increase of cost of living for smokers and they will feel themselves like prisoners, especially low-income smokers.

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