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Smokers face A$20 cigarette packs

The Government is being urged to slash smoking rates to 9 per cent within a decade. (Reuters: Charles Platiau, file photo)

The Cancer Council says it would welcome any proposal for an increase in the price of cigarettes.

The Federal Government is currently analysing a series of recommendations aimed at reducing smoking rates put forward by the National Preventative Health Taskforce.

Newspaper reports say the yet-to-be-released recommendations suggest increasing the tax on cigarettes to more than $20 a packet and a move to plain packaging.

Cancer Council Australia chief executive Professor Ian Olver says increasing tobacco prices is the best way to reduce smoking rates.

“If you put up the price by 10 per cent per pack, you can actually drive down a country’s smoking rate by 4 per cent, which is an enormous impact on health care,” he said.

“But Australia has been lagging behind over many years in increasing that price.”

The taskforce has urged the Government to slash smoking rates over the next decade to 9 per cent.

It believes the price rise could convince 306,000 adults to quit and prevent 183,000 children from eventually taking up the habit.

Alarmed tobacco companies claim the measures could be unlawful.

Under the changes, cigarette packets would be generic and plain with larger graphic health warnings taking up about 90 per cent of the front and 100 per cent of the back.

Newspaper reports say tobacco companies also face a blanket ban on all sponsorship, internet sales, public relations activities and corporate responsibility donations.


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