Making a mockery of The Australian’s story is the fact that, in seasonally adjusted volume terms, consumption of tobacco is 5.3 per cent lower in the March quarter 2014 than in the December quarter 2012 when the plain packaging laws were introduced.
To be fair to The Kouk that is true. But let’s have a look at the (seasonally adjusted) data itself.
Looks to me that the first full year of plain packaging resulted in an increase in tobacco consumption – contrary to the stated aim of the policy. The decline in the first quarter of this year is more likely due to the 12.5% increase in tobacco excise that came into effect in December.
Bottom line – not even the ABS data support the plain packaging policy.