Tobacco taxes, poverty and organised crime

Tobacco taxes, poverty and organised crime

   Scott Morrison PM  

Bill Shorten Opposition leader

Richard Dinatale leader of the Greens

While nobody would argue that smoking is healthy or that it shouldn’t be discouraged, the entire Australian federal parliament is guilty of the unintended and horrendous consequences of the current “tax them till death” policy. Australia’s approach to this issue not only makes us the laughing stock of the world but also causes massive harm to our own society. Various political parties and groups have factored in to projected revenues these draconian tax levels.

The hypocrisy is evident to anyone with half a brain. Are “Quit Smoking” aids free? Of course not!

The Negative consequences of this stupid policy

There are many people, who cannot or will not (for various reasons) quit. Quite often these people are amongst the poorest in our community. This reads as “children without shoes or enough to eat.”

Tobacco products are so expensive in Oz that smokers drag their fags until the very end, thus consuming more tar and poisons. The mentally ill tend to smoke and it is always much harder for them to quit than for the general population. My own sister suffers from bipolar type 1, is a pensioner and one of her doctors told her not to try to quit as it would increase her stress levels and thus her illness. I, myself suffer from severe depression and OCD. I can’t see a way to quitting either.

Organised crime is laughing all the way to the bank. This policy is expanding and enabling the reach of organised crime networks. Tobacco is now more expensive than marijuana or ice. Troubled youth, who may have previously resorted to smoking are now taking the drug ice, which is far more dangerous for both the individual and society as a whole.


There are many ways to discourage smoking without targeting the extremely vulnerable. It is possible to set an age for purchase of smoking products (demanding ID) and raising it every year. That should assist in keeping the young from the evil habit. Progressive reductions in public areas where smoking is allowed can also help.

An example of a sensible tobacco policy that I am familiar with, springs to mind. In Taiwan the rate of smoking amongst the young is much lower than that in Oz. Their campaigns against smoking have become a cultural norm. Yet they do not target the vulnerable sections of their society such as the hopelessly addicted elderly, the mentally ill (my brother-in-law in Taiwan is battling schizophrenia and he smokes and is a low income earner).

The Future.

Will any of our parliamentary leaders have the courage to try to solve this problem and set tobacco taxes at reasonable and sensible levels? I can only hope but I doubt it! Australia is heading for third world status in a rush in all areas but one; tobacco prices

Draconian Australian tobacco taxes amount to social madness!

The previous Australian government introduced further, massive taxes on tobacco and these taxes have hypocritically been retained and extended by the present government because of its love for the almighty dollar. The approach of savagely punishing smokers financially along with the scare/shock campaigns has been an abject failure. During the last year for which statistics are available smoking rates actually increased for the first time in a number of years. Increasing the value or cost of an item can actually make it appear more desirable.

Evidently, the Australian government has paid little attention to the failure of the prohibition (alcohol) experiment in the U.S. in the thirties. The ridiculously expensive tobacco taxes will have a number of dire social consequences. The number of poor people and their children who do not have adequate nutrition or clothing will increase. Organised crime will have a field day. According to reports up to 13% of the tobacco market is already controlled by crime syndicates. In the past crimes such as burglaries, holdups and personal robberies were largely associated with illegal drug users. Now they will also be associated with tobacco users.

The war on “illegal” drugs has failed. It would seem that legalisation may be the only way to reduce crime and put criminal syndicates out of business. The Australian government has taken the opposite approach and now wants to add tobacco to the list of drugs fuelling crime and social chaos.

The amount of money collected in tobacco taxes is about double that used to fund the health system. If smokers were to stop smoking, for even a month, what massive new tax would the government then introduce on something else? There are more intelligent and effective ways to discourage smoking than that taken by the Australian government. However, they have one huge disadvantage. They don’t bring in billions of dollars!

Australian tobacco taxes – Rhemus Rudd the dud does it again



Australian Prime Minister, Kevin Rudd (affectionately known as Rudd the dud) has done the unthinkable yet again. He has introduced progressively escalating tobacco taxes on top of the highest such taxes in the world. He obviously wants to go down in history as the greatest anti-smoker in all creation. This sudden decision, once again, is made without thought of the drug kings who now see tobacco as a new field of illegal profits or of the children of addicted parents (who are generally the poorest people in the community). Where will their next meal or necessary pair of shoes come from? Mr Rudd’s wife is a multi-millionaire. Their family has no idea of the situation of others who are much less fortunate.

Mr Rudd claims that this new tax will fund shortfalls in his government’s budget and will further discourage smoking. He also claims that smokers cost the taxpayer, through the health system, millions of dollars. This is a gross lie. Most cancers caused by smoking result in a quick death, unlike dementia sufferers and others. Also, those smokers who are unfortunate enough to die this way have paid for their deaths many times over in the form of tobacco taxes.

This new tax plus another one targeting bank deposits (so say to form a fund to protect against the possibility of bank failures – Australian banks make huge profits and can afford to pay it themselves but will pass on the cost to their customers – has probably knifed any chance the government has of being re-elected. However the Coalition, when elected, undoubtedly will just accept these new tax increases to fund their programs. After all, they will say, they did not implement these new taxes but certainly they will not get rid of them.

As regards the leaders of the two parties it appears to be a contest between two megalomaniacs who will do anything to further their own interests and agendas. I for one will vote Greens. They do leave a lot to be desired but are the least of several evils.

In regards to the ridiculous level of tobacco taxes I sent a letter to British and American Tobacco but was not favoured with a response. In the current political and world situation it is very difficult to be optimistic about anything.

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