The Only Thing Smoking Doesn’t Kill Is The Government
It’s plain and simple why the push for the legalisation of e-cigarettes continues to go around in circles in many parts of the world, but mostly in Australia.
Time after time we are fed the same enormous amount of gibberish arguments from the government to justify not allowing e-cigarette sales, such as:
Yet, we all know that they are after one thing and one thing only.
Taxes from cigarettes.
Its always been on the tip of our tongues that the government needs us to be smoking to make ends meet. According to the National Tobacco Strategy 2012-2018:
“Tobacco remains a significant cause of death and disability in Australia. Around 3.3 million Australians still smoke and an estimated 15,000 people die each year of smoking-related illness.”
Yet apart from raising the prices and plain packaging, nothing has been implemented to tackle the epidemic of the smoking culture.
Matt Barrie, Chief Executive Officer of freelancer.com and the publisher of this very successful article on Medium, has never shun away from telling it how it is or calling out the policy makers that threaten our very existence.
In his article, Barrie provides some very daunting and factual insights into the reality of just how much the government thrives off the tobacco industry and the demise of its citizens;
“It would probably shock the average person on the street to discover that the government collects more tax from cigarettes ($9.8 billion) than it collects from tax on superannuation ($6.8 billion), over double what it collects from Fringe Benefits Tax ($4.4 billion) and over thirteen times more tax than it does from our oil fields ($741 million).”
Of course we are no strangers to tax, but when an industry like the e-cigarette market threatens to pick the pocket of the tobacco revenue stream it’s abundantly clear why there are many backs against the wall.
“[Prime Minister] Turnbull is increasing the tax on cigarettes by 12.5% a year for the next four years. In the latest federal budget, the government forecasts that by 2020 that it will collect $15.2 billion from taxes on tobacco per annum. This is four times the amount that the government collects from the entire coal industry per annum. Just compare these numbers:
$15 billion is over double what the government projects it will collect from petrol excise in that year ($7.15b), 21 times what it will collect from luxury car tax ($720m), 27 times what it will collect from taxes on imported cars ($560m) and 89 times what it will collect from customs duty on textile and footwear imports ($170m).”
While many say that the annual price hike is designed to deter smokers from purchasing cigarettes and instead search for healthier “approved” alternatives such as patches, the reality is as Barrie explains;
“If you look through federal budget forecasts, taxes on cigarettes is the only thing practically floating the federal government’s finances other than wishful thinking in forward projections. Which is, of course, some other future administration’s problem.
How they think they can raise $15 billion in taxes per year on cigarettes — a product that costs a cent per stick to make and will retail for almost $2 a stick in 2020 — without creating a thriving black market, another Pablo Escobar and throwing hundreds, perhaps thousands of people in jail, who will decide unwisely to participate in that black market, astounds me.”
It’s only now I really get it.
A conversation with Mr Barrie that spelled everything out so clearly and concisely that I actually had the hairs on my back stand up.
The federal government doesn’t want you to have a healthier alternative, because much like the addiction and dependance on cigarettes, the government are addicted and dependant on the tax.
We export $34 billion in coal per annum which equates to a few billion in tax. Meanwhile, they’ll be pocketing over $15b in tax from cigarettes.
Cigarettes are more valuable to the government than coal. Four times more valuable, to be exact.
So, on behalf of the government: