Australia Mulls Higher Minimum Tobacco Age

    Photo: Taco Tuinstra

    Australia may raise the minimum age for cigarette purchases, if recommendations from the draft 2022-2030 national tobacco strategy are accepted, reports the Daily Mail.

    The current minimum age to buy tobacco products is 18.

    The new policy proposal comes as a national survey, conducted by the Cancer Council, revealed that most Australians would support a policy that stops retailers from selling cigarettes completely.

    In a recent survey conducted by Cancer Council Victoria, 50.8 percent of participants supported a phase-out, and an overwhelming majority of 61.8 percent said it should happen within the next decade.

    Australia is already home to the most expensive cigarettes in the world, with a typical 20-stick pack costing $40. The Australian government rakes in about AUD17 billion ($12.06 billion) in tobacco tax each year. The high prices are believed to have contributed to a significant illicit market for tobacco products. The illegal tobacco trade is worth about $600 million annually, according to Border Force.

    In December, New Zealand banned young people from ever being allowed to buy cigarettes in a rolling scheme that aims to make the entire nation smoke-free. People aged 14 and under in 2027 will never be allowed to buy cigarettes in their lifetime under the new law.