Aussies May Charge $20 Per Pack of Ciggies

By Drew Nelles,  Newser Staff
Posted Jul 5, 2009 6:22 PM CDT
Australian advocates say higher cigarette prices could push 306,000 adults to quit smoking.   (AP Photo/Darron Cummings)
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(Newser) – Australians may be coughing up $20 for a pack of cigarettes if officials approve a new anti-smoking plan, the Age reports. The proposal, designed to cut Aussie smoking by a third, would ban all tobacco sponsorship and online sales, devote 95% of cigarette packaging to graphic health warnings, and tax packs—currently at $13.50—up to $16.35, and then $20.15.

Philip Morris says the proposal violates "competition principles whilst not contributing to public health." But VicHealth, a health advisory body that backs the plan, wants to go further, banning tobacco advertising outright. Tobacco companies are "very adept at exploiting any loopholes," VicHealth's CEO said. "As soon as you close down one form of tobacco advertising," companies "migrate to other areas."