September 1, 2014

Second 12.5 Per Cent Tax Rise on Cigarettes Starts

Average Australian smoker will now pay nearly $26,000 over next four years on cigarettes

Lung Foundation Australia and the Australian Association of Smoking Cessation Professionals (AASCP) are urging Australia’s approximately three million smokers to consider a ‘second chance’ quit attempt, and avoid the impact of the Government’s tobacco tax increase, which came into effect today.[i]

The 12.5 per cent tax increase is the second of four annual tax increases on tobacco; the combined impact of these increases is estimated to result in a total tax increase of approximately 60 per cent on cigarettes by 1 December 2016. Following the cumulative annual tax increases, the average Australian smoker will spend nearly $26,000 on cigarettes over the next four years.[ii]

Price increases, such as those resulting from a tax rise, are a proven and effective strategy for reducing tobacco use.[iii] However, nicotine is a powerful addiction and most smokers need repeated attempts to quit.

Only three to five per cent of unaided quit attempts are successful.[iv] That number rises to a 25 to 30 per cent quit success rate with counselling and support from health care professionals and the use of optimal stop-smoking medication.[v]

“Last year’s tax increase resulted in a spike in quit attempts, but most of these were unsuccessful,” said Dr Colin Mendelsohn, Vice President of the Australian Association of Smoking Cessation Professionals. “We suggest smokers seek additional support in their quit attempts and not be discouraged by setbacks; each progressive quit attempt marks an important step forward.”

“Many Australians do not realise that engaging their doctors, tobacco treatment specialists and counselling services can dramatically increase their chance of success,” said Heather Allan, CEO of the Lung Foundation Australia. “Most people will require multiple attempts. As the burden on smokers’ health and wallets increase, we hope people will seek support to quit now.”

“There are immediate health benefits to quitting smoking at any age,” she continued. “There are even health benefits to quitting if a person has already been diagnosed with a smoking related disease.  Stopping smoking decreases the risk of lung and other cancers, heart attack, stroke and chronic disease compared with continued smoking.”[vi]

Despite reduced overall rates of smoking in Australia, the impact of tobacco on individuals, society and the country’s economy remain high:

  • Tobacco use causes one in 10 adult deaths globally;[vii] in Australia smoking is the largest single preventable cause of death and disease.1 It kills more people than alcohol, other drugs, murder, suicide, road crashes, rail crashes, air crashes, poisoning, drowning, fires, falls, lightning, electrocution, snakes, spiders and sharks combined.[viii]
  • Each year, smoking costs Australia $31.5 billion in social (including health) and economic costs.[ix]
  • Most smokers do want to quit. At any time about 60 per cent of smokers are thinking about or preparing to make a quit attempt.[x]

“More than one in two long-term smokers will die as a direct result of their smoking,” said Dr Mendelsohn. “If you or someone you know is a smoker, please consider this tax as a second chance to take action and see your doctor or a health professional for assistance in quitting.”

For media enquiries including interviews with AASCP or the Lung Foundation Australia please contact:

Jessica Bardoulas
+61 0450 244 311



About Lung Foundation Australia

The aim of Lung Foundation Australia is to ensure that lung health is a priority for all in Australia.  It achieves this by raising awareness of the importance of lung health and the symptoms of lung disease; supporting those with lung disease and their carers; developing clinical resources to promote evidence-based care of lung disease; advocating on behalf of those with lung disease and supporting research.

About the Australian Association of Smoking Cessation Professionals (AASCP)

The primary aim of the AASCP is the promotion of optimal smoking cessation practice in Australia by trained health professionals incorporating evidence-based practice. For more information visit:


For more information about smoking cessation, click here.


[i] Australian Bureau of Statistics. 2013. Accessed August 2014.

[ii] Pfizer Australia Pty Ltd. 2013. Accessed July 2014.

[iii]  Chaloupa F. Tobacco taxes as a tobacco control strategy. Tob Control 2012

[iv] Hughes J.R., Keely J., Naud S. Shape of the relapse curve and long-term abstinence among untreated smokers. Addiction; 2004; 99:29–38.

[v] Tonnesen P. Smoking cessation: How compelling is the evidence? A review. Health Policy 2009; 91:15-25.

[vi] US Department of Health and Human Services.  The health benefits of smoking cessation.  A report of the Surgeon General.  DHHS Publication No CDC 90-8416.  Rockville, MD: US Department of Health and Human Services, Public Health Service, Centres for Disease Control, Centre for Chronic Disease Prevention and Health Promotion, Office on Smoking and Health; 1990. Available from:

[vii] World Health Organisation.

[viii]  OxyGen! Accessed August 2104.

[ix] Australian Government Department of Health. 2014. Accessed August 2014.

[x] Prochaska, J.O. et al. Size, consistency and stability of stage effects for smoking cessation. Addict Behav 2004: 29:207-13.