Huge drop in Australian smoking rates attributed to standardised packs

Wednesday 16 July 2014

New figures released by the Australian government have shown adult smoking rates have fallen by a massive 15%. Before the measure was introduced in December 2012, daily smoking prevalence stood at 15.1% and has now fallen to 12.8%. [1]

Standardised packaging is the only new policy intervention over this time period and is therefore the most likely reason for the significant fall in smoking prevalence. The survey was conducted before the Government’s major hike in tobacco tax of 12.5% in December 2013.

Deborah Arnott, Chief Executive of health charity ASH said:

“The UK government is currently consulting on standardised packaging before deciding whether to proceed and has asked for new and emerging evidence. Well here it is and it demonstrates a massive decline in smoking prevalence in Australia following introduction of standardised packaging. This is exactly the strong and convincing evidence the tobacco industry said was needed.”


Notes and Links:

[1] Source: 2013 National Drug Strategy Household Survey: key findings (2013 NDSHS) Australian Institute of Health and Welfare (AIHW).

The 2013 NDSHS collected information from approximately 24,000 people aged 14 years or older across Australia, from 31 July 2013 to 1 December 2013. Information collected relates to tobacco consumption, alcohol use and illicit drug use among the Australian population.
The 2013 NDSHS results do not reflect any impact from the Australian Government’s change to bi-annual indexation of tobacco excise or the first of four 12.5% excise increases on tobacco products which took effect on 1 December 2013.
A summary of key facts and figures on tobacco sales, consumption and prevalence in Australia is available.

See also the report in Sydney Morning Herald.

[2] UK Government consultation.