Everybody knows, although not everybody admits it, that consumption of tobacco in Australia has fallen in the aftermath of the plain packaging laws which came into being in December 2012.
The Fairfax media group is reporting this morning findings from the National Drugs Strategy Household Survey that show smoking levels are in decline. Not at all surprisingly, the numbers from the NDSHS dovetail with the hard data on the volume of tobacco consumed from the Australian Bureau of Statistics. Those data show that the volume of tobacco consumed is 5.3 per cent lower in the March quarter 2014 compared with the December quarter 2012.
What is interesting is the fact that the NDSHS survey was conducted between July and December 2013, before the 12.5 per cent rise in tobacco excise took effect. The authors of the report noted: "We know that that tax has a lot of influence over consumption so it's really important that the data was collected before that".
"The only thing that happened in the 12 months before that was the introduction of plain packaging laws."
The key findings were:
- The daily smoking rate plunged from 15.1 per cent to 12.8 per cent between 2010 and 2013.
- Most people are now 16 before they smoke their first full cigarette, up from 14 in 2010, and 95 per cent of 12 to 17-year-olds have never smoked.
The Fairfax report can be found here.