What Economic Incentives Have Had the Greatest Impact on the Smoking Decline

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The use of tobacco is considered a threat to our health and economic well being. The World Health Organization’s international Framework Convention on Tobacco Control has provided a guide for synchronized global action. However, the accomplishment of this vision requires action to be undertaken by every nation. The actions include political commitment, a trained workforce and appropriate methods for collecting and evaluating data1. Attempts to reduce tax evasion, education and marketing endorsements, training to ensure smoke-free places of work are provided to the consumers in terms of packaging. These economic incentives had led mostly to the fall in smoking in Australia.
Australia’s largest avoidable cause of death and disease appears to be smoking. More than 3 million people, that is, nearly 18 percent of the Australian population who are aged between 14 and above, smoke on a regular basis2-3. Although the smoking rate has fallen over the existing decades, the risk associated with smoking continues to remain at the highest level4-5.

From Table 1 it can be seen that the total number of tobacco consumption has drastically fallen over the initial few years in Australia. The drop in consumption of tobacco may be due to several reasons such as increased quitting an activity, the expansion of smoke-free policies in public places in most states and provinces, and the modification of tobacco taxes between November 1999 and February 2001. There has been adjustment in the system of charging duty on per stick basis along with the imposition of the Goods and Service Tax (GST). This led to an enhancement of the increase in the price of the large cigarette packs and a reasonable increase in the price of smaller pack sizes. The sharp decline in the sales of cigarettes seems to have been slightly offset by the amplified use of smoking tobacco and cigars.