The price of Australian cigarettes will rise by 12.5 percent this year, bringing the average pack to almost AUD50 ($34.26).
Beginning in September, a 25-pack of Marlboro Golds will cost AUD48.50, one of the highest prices in the world for a pack of cigarettes. The cheapest pack will be about AUD29.
This will be the eighth consecutive price increase as a part of the government’s attempt to reduce tobacco use.
Critics say the price increase will stimulate the black market and punish those who are addicted to nicotine. A pack-a-day smoker will spend more than AUD10,000 a year on average following the hike. RYO smokers will see a similar increase in the price of loose tobacco.
The Australian Bureau of Statistics shows that the number of adults who smoke daily has remained stagnant despite the price increases—the rate dropped 0.7 percent between 2014–2015 and between 2017–2018.
Black market tobacco sales increased last year; officials seized more than 300 tons of contraband in 2019.