Cost pushes past $1 per smoke

The tobacco excise increased today and will go up 12.5 per cent each September for two years.
The tobacco excise increased today and will go up 12.5 per cent each September for two years.

BENDIGO smokers were in for a rude surprise when they went to purchase their cigarettes this morning.

The price of some packs of 20 had risen beyond $1 per stick after the tobacco excise increased from September 1.

The excise on a pack of 20 went up from $8.13 to $9.25, while it increased $2.25 on packs of 40 pushing the price above $30.

Some Bendigo smokers took exception to the latest increase.

Alex Reaburn, 21, said the increase was "disgusting" and it was not the role of government to influence people's behaviour.

"The government is there to make sure we have free choice in what we do, not to be dictated to," he said.

"I think some people don't have a grasp on how hard it is to quit, it's a serious addiction.

"I understand the need for areas where smoking isn't allowed. But they shouldn't be forcing people to stop smoking because someone else is offended by it."

The previous Labor government planned for four increases from December last year, with the excise to increase 12.5 per cent for three consecutive Septembers starting from today.

The Australian Council on Smoking and Health predicted that after the changes, it would cost a pack-a-day smoker $7000 per year and could encourage 60,000 Australians to quit.

Smoker Skye Smith said she was unsure whether it would make anybody quit.

"In general, I don't think it will force many people to quit," she said.

"It's an addiction, it's difficult to just stop."

Another smoker on Mitchell Street said the price increase still could not change the way she smokes.

Quit Victoria manager of tobacco control policy Kylie Lindorff said increasing tax on smoking received a lot of support from the smoking community.

"We've found that 80 per cent of smokers supported tax increases," she said.

"From the last increase last year, 43 per cent of Victorians reported they had decreased the number of cigarettes they were smoking.

"What evidence shows is that people from lower socio-economic areas tend to quit quicker because they recognise that they can no longer afford to smoke."

If you would like help quitting smoking, contact Quit on 137 848.


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