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Quit joins calls for an end to duty-free tobacco in Australia

Friday 23 February, 2007

Quit Victoria has joined the debate on the sale of duty-free cigarettes in Australia, calling for the removal of tax concessions on cigarette imports and exports by travellers entering or leaving Australia.

Under present laws, if cigarettes are purchased in Australia, their purchase price normally includes GST and customs or excise duty.

However, travellers entering or leaving Australia can purchase cigarettes free of duty and tax, subject to various conditions.

Executive Director of Quit, Mr Todd Harper said it was time for the Government to take a consistent approach to cigarette pricing and taxation.

"The Commonwealth Government must act to remove the tax exemptions that presently apply to cigarette purchases by travellers entering or leaving Australia"

"Raising the price of cigarettes through taxation is one of the most important steps that governments can take to reduce smoking among adults and young people."

Mr Harper said the current duty-free arrangements, which enable people to purchase cigarettes more cheaply was at odds with Australia's leadership in tobacco control.

"The last few years have seen significant progress in efforts to encourage people to quit smoking, so it would certainly be in line with other strong tobacco control policies to see an end to the duty-free sale of cigarettes."

Mr Harper said the lower costs of duty-free cigarettes encourage some people to stockpile cigarettes.

"There is always a danger that if someone has in their possession a large amount of duty-free cigarettes they may be tempted to smoke more, which is of course a concern for us."

The prohibition of duty-free tobacco sales to travellers is mentioned in the Framework Convention on Tobacco Control, to which Australia is a party.

 

ends

Edwina Vellar,
Media Manager
ph: (03) 9635 5400
mob: 0417 303 811
email:
Edwina.Vellar@cancervic.org.au

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