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August 5th, 2013:

Australian Smoking Rate to Beat U.S.’s on Tax: Chart of the Day

Australian Smoking Rate to Beat U.S.’s on Tax: Chart of the Day

By Lee MillerAug 5, 2013 1:00 AM GMT+0800



Australia’s plan to raise excise taxes on cigarettes could reduce its national smoking rate to below that of the U.S., a position it lost last year for the first time since 2004.

The CHART OF THE DAY compares the percentage of adults who smoke in Australia to levels in the world’s five-largest economies. The U.S. rate fell to 18 percent in 2012, below Australia’s 18.1 percent, according to data compiled by Bloomberg. France had the highest rate at 30.5 percent and was the only nation in the group where smoking rose the past decade. Japan declined the most, to 21.1 percent compared with 32.7 percent a decade earlier, the data show.

Among 80 economies tracked by Bloomberg Industries, India had the lowest smoking rate at 6.5 percent, followed by Hong Kong’s 10.2 percent. Georgia and Russia were highest at 46.7 percent and 41.9 percent, respectively.

“We know that increasing excise is the single most effective way for government to reduce premature death and disease due to smoking,” Australian Treasurer Chris Bowen said in a statement Aug. 1. Australia had the 12th largest economy, according to the most-recent global data.

The excise tax measure will increase the average price of cigarettes in Australia to almost A$1 each, or about A$20 ($17.80) per pack of 20. The average price of a pack of cigarettes in the U.S. was $6.10 as of the end of last year, according to data from the Tobacco Merchants Association. Costs and taxes vary among the 50 U.S. states. Minnesota last month raised taxes by about $1.60 per pack, pushing the average price to $7.50, according to a statement by ClearWay Minnesota, a non-profit group that aims to reduce tobacco use.

To contact the reporter on this story: Lee Miller in Bangkok at

German man faces flat eviction for smoking

German man faces flat eviction for smoking

Friedhelm Adolfs smokes in front of the district court in Dusseldorf. Photo: 24 July 2013 Friedhelm Adolfs has lived in the flat for 40 years

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A court in Germany has ruled that a man who smokes in a rented flat can be evicted if the smoke gets into public areas of an apartment block.

The Dusseldorf court’s verdict followed a complaint from the landlady of the building where Friedhelm Adolfs lives.

She and other residents said that they could smell the smoke in the stairwell.

The 74-year-old heavy smoker had argued that his flat was not completely sealed and he could not help it if smoke seeped under the door to public areas.

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image of Stephen EvansStephen Evans BBC News, Berlin

Germany is more tolerant of smokers than seems to be the case in Britain and North America.

Smoking is banned in public places but special rooms are set aside in restaurants.

All the same, there is resistance to what protesters at a recent rally in Dusseldorf called “pervasive paternalism”.

They carried placards likening the smoking ban to the regulations made by the Nazis and Communists.

The smokers are particularly angry that in parts of Germany the ban has been toughened to prohibit smoking in tents at carnivals, for example.

At the demonstration, one mayor railed against what he called the “persecutory smoking law”.

In its ruling, the Dusseldorf district court said that other residents of the apartment block should not be expected to endure an “unacceptable and intolerable odour“.

It said, therefore, that Mr Adolfs – who has lived in the flat for 40 years – could be evicted, although he had a right of appeal.

At the same time, the verdict maintained that people had a basic right to smoke in their own homes.

Smoking is banned in public places in Germany, but special rooms are set aside in restaurants.

There had been public demonstrations by smokers against what they describe as draconian, totalitarian attitudes.

But Germany is also home to some smokers with a high public profile.

Former Chancellor Helmut Schmidt, 94, for example, insists on smoking through television interviews: in one appearance, he smoked 13 cigarettes on camera, the BBC’s Steve Evans in Berlin reports.

Mr Schmidt’s political colleague also said that he had stockpiled 38,000 menthol cigarettes at his home in anticipation of a ban by the European Union.