Does smoking cost the Australian economy $31.5 billion?

More lies from Labor. This time it’s Tanya Plibersek on Facebook.

Plibersek - smoking

Okay – so one more time:

The ABS does not measure or estimate the number of cigarettes consumed.

We have covered the $31.5 billion number before – but here goes again. Eric Crampton has discussed the $31.5 billion number in detail:

Oh please. What’s the source on the $32 billion? Almost certainly Collins & Lapsley, who found that the total costs of smoking in Australia were $32 billion. How much of that $32 billion was health? $318.4 million. Is that much much less than the aggregate tobacco excise tax take?

Here we have tangible costs divvied up by category (intangible costs of premature death and the like make up the bulk of the purported costs of tobacco and aren’t in this table). Note that we’ve disputed the alcohol figures rather strongly. But what do we see? By C&L’s figures, tobacco costs the Australian health system $318.4 million. That’s somewhat less than the figure claimed by the Australian Cancer Council, assuming that they’re quoted correctly.

Here is Nick Cater disputing the numbers from a couple of years ago:

The net cost of smoking to the health system is therefore $318.4 million, a figure that hardly makes a dent on the $8.85bn the government was expecting to collect from smokers this year, even without the additional revenue from the proposed excise increase.

The calculations get more incredible. The authors say absenteeism and workforce reduction costs the economy $5.75bn a year. A net loss of $8bn is attributed to a reduction of unpaid household labour. A dubious $3.6bn is included as the cost of resources used in the manufacture and distribution of tobacco products.

By far the largest and most speculative component is $19bn in “intangible costs”, the hypothetical cost of pain and suffering and the “valuation of life” — an estimate of the loss of productive capacity from a premature death.

The authors admit this costing “is the subject of considerable debate”. Former Treasury secretary Ken Henry dismissed this element as impossible to calculate in his 2010 tax review.

So we have Tanya Plibersek just recycling tired old lies and tired old talking points to justify crappy policy. The thing is this – if Labor had actual evidence their policy had actually reduced smoking we’d have seen it by now.

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49 Responses to Does smoking cost the Australian economy $31.5 billion?

  1. Infidel Tiger says:

    Lying on Facebook. Has she no shame?

  2. DrBeauGan says:

    Lefties have trouble with even the concept of truth, let alone the practicalities of getting closer to it.

  3. ar says:

    So we have Tanya Plibersek just recycling tired old lies and tired old talking points to justify crappy policy.

    This is what leftists do, lie constantly about everything. Tell the truth once and the whole thing falls apart.

  4. Ant says:

    “Each year smoking kills 15,000 people in Australia.”

    She sounds concerned.

    The 15,000 ‘victims’ chose to smoke and as a consequence it’s arguable that smoking may have contributed to their deaths in most cases (unlike Tanya, I try to be accurate – and truthful).

    Yet in under 6 years Tanya and her leftist deadbeats drowned 1,200 people by enticing them with taxpayer funded goodies to take to the high seas in ricketty boats.

    I don’t recall hearing a word of concern from the Plibster on that one.

    For the left, some people’s lives matter more than others.

  5. Bruce of Newcastle says:

    If tobacco was banned what would happen?

    Lets see.

    10.2% of Australians aged 14 years and over have used cannabis in the previous 12 months. Link

    The prevalence of daily [tobacco] smoking for Australians 18 plus in the 2007–08 survey was 18% among people 15 plus Link

    So if tobacco was banned completely at most the drop would be 40% or so. Given that cannabis is much more expensive than tobacco, that the former figure is probably an underestimate because of sensitivity, and because tobacco is fiendishly addictive, I suspect that all the current supposed fall in use is just people moving from over the counter commercial cigarettes to black market smuggled products.

    There have been plenty of reports recently that the black market has been skyrocketing. When Ms Plibersek reports data on this aspect I may listen, but until then she is bullshitting.

  6. Lem says:

    Tanya’s tweet or whatever the twittery was, invites us to believe that because 15,000 people die from smoking/year, stopping them from dying from this cause saves $31.5 billion/year. So hilarious.

    Has anyone told Tanya life, and death are zero sum games?

  7. jupes says:

    I see the junkies wife has gone with TLS’ lucky glasses.

    I hope they are just as effective for her.

  8. David says:

    I’m not convinced she is lying. Mainly because I am convinced she has trouble understanding numbers.

  9. Rudiau says:

    Nine months I haven’t paid tobacco excise, I thank Tony not Tanya or Nicola.
    If Tony had been true to his Liberal Party policies I would still be enjoying my ‘bad’ habit.

  10. curious george says:

    As an ex smoker, 11months plus, all I can suggest to Blabbershriek and her junkie pusher husband is to go and get well and truly knotted.

    Slime of the first order. Perfect Liars party members.

    They’re on my list for when they can engineer their revolution.

  11. Dr Faustus says:

    It’s a shame the Government doesn’t have the capability to respond to political nettles like this. This isn’t some backbench nutter – it’s not trivial, it is objectively wrong, it’s the prospective PM/Deputy PM, it goes to character.

  12. Motelier says:

    I gave up smoking in January, 1987.

    Think of my low tax status. less for them, more for me. But I will probably be one of the many tht die of lung problems.

  13. candy says:

    Ms Plibersek more than anyone should be aware of the utter suffering to families with a person addicted to illicit drugs.

    Ruining young people’s lives breaking families apart, the suffering is immense.

    I think she’s concentrating on the smokes to deflect from you know who who dealt drugs and probably contributed to the suffering of families and death of addicts.

  14. "Up The Workers!" says:

    I suspect she’s trying to get people off the gaspers, and on to little packets of white powder.

    I seem to recall she has some contacts in that line of business.

  15. Leo G says:

    A question about the validity of “valuation of life” as an estimate of the loss of productive capacity from a premature death.
    To what extent, including temporally, with regard to each individual is that a marginal loss to the utilisation of productive capacity in the overall economy?

  16. spangled drongo says:

    Smoking built Australia. And saved us a bundle. The consolation of a durry-on-the-job contributed to happy, hard work for a lifetime followed by a quick, pension-free death on or prior to retirement.

    A much more cost effective system than we have today which runs on drugs and alcohol.

  17. Monkey's Uncle says:

    There have been numerous studies done overseas that show that smoking is of substantial net benefit to public finances. Even though smoking adds to some health care costs, taxes on cigarettes generate substantial government revenue. And because smokers die sooner, they end up costing governments less in terms of pensions and other costs associated with old age.

    I understand the argument being made here is net costs to the economy/society as a whole, not just governments. But as has been amply demonstrated, you can easily make up a whole lot of exaggerated numbers to quantify factors that are difficult to quantify and are inherently subjective. So Plibersek really may as well have pulled the figures out of her arse.

  18. rickw says:

    How on earth is pensioners croaking early costing the economy $32 billion?

  19. Tel says:

    How on earth is pensioners croaking early costing the economy $32 billion?

    Same way oil and coal are subsidized I suppose.

  20. Andrew says:

    Strange that the CFMEU never runs memes on FB saying “smoking is down since we massively increased taxes.” Why is that? Surely if they are so proud of their policies in reducing $32bn of made up costs, they should be boasting about them. Like they did with the WBCT – Blabbersac never stopped crapping on about the 0.1% of people who gave up hearing their homes after their WBCT.

  21. Some History says:

    It’s important to understand, historically, how we got to this antismoking madness.

    3rd World Conference on Smoking & Health (1975)
    Sir George E. Godber
    Chairman, Expert Committee on Smoking and Health
    World Health Organization

    (Excerpts from Godber’s opening address)
    “In 1969, the World Health Organization Regional Committee for Europe and the Americas had passed resolutions calling attention to the dangers mof smoking and deciding that smoking would not be allowed during their meetings.”
    “None of us can be really satisfied with what we find anywhere. Yet there has been progress sufficient to make one feel that THIS world conference will have an even clearer message for the world and will be able to endorse and amplify the views expressed at the World Health Assembly in Geneva last month.”
    “I imagine that most of us here know full well that our target must be, in the long-term, the elimination of cigarette smoking…… We may not have eliminated cigarette smoking completely by the end of this century, but we ought to have reached a position where a relatively few addicts still use cigarettes, but only in private at most in the company of consenting adults.
    “First, I think we must ask ourselves whether our society is one in which the major influences exercised on public opinion are such as would convey the impression that smoking is a dirty, anti-social practice, spoiling the enjoyment of youth and accelerating the onset of the deterioration of age.”
    “Need there really be any difficulty about prohibiting smoking in more public places? The nicotine addicts would be petulant for a while, but why should we accord them any right to make the innocent suffer?”
    “…..described the way in which education against smoking was to be incorporated into the general programme of health education which is so well presented in the USSR.”
    “Every smoker is a promoter of other smokers. The practice ought to be an enclosed one, not to be endured by the non-smoker in ordinary social intercourse; and no one should be allowed to use advertisement or any indirect means to suggest otherwise.”
    “If we start with the view that we can begin to get rid of cigarette smoking from many communal occasions and that we can and should make it more and more difficult for the individual to smoke cigarettes in public
    , and if we can eliminate the false message of the advertisers, I believe we could have a rapidly cumulative effect…..There are plenty of weapons of persuasion, of restriction, of financial penalty by price and tax increases with which we could seriously hope to reduce the consumption of cigarettes by a substantial portion within 5 years.”
    A longer-term target would make cigarette smoking an undesirable and private activity
    within ten years after that.”

    (emphases added)

    It should be obvious that Godber’s is a prohibitionist rant – the elimination of smoking from public view. Critical is the date of the rant. In 1975, Godber is referring to tobacco users as “nicotine addicts”. Yet at the time tobacco use was not considered an addiction, and for good reason. It was re-defined as an “addiction” by the same prohibitionists in 1988 operating through the long-hijacked Office of the Surgeon-General. Godber is alluding to secondary smoke “harm”. Yet his comments were 6 years before the first [questionable] study on secondary smoke by the antismoker Hirayama in 1981 and 18 years before the corrupt review on secondary smoke by the US EPA in 1992/93 that has been used the world over as the basis for indoor smoking bans. Also Godber is referring to “plenty of weapons of persuasion, of restriction, of financial penalty by price and tax increases”. At the time there were no “studies” concerning the “extra cost” of smokers to society. Godber is referring to “weapons of persuasion” (i.e., punitive, coercive measures), including hikes in taxation on tobacco, in the way prohibitionists typically salivate over these baseless, inflammatory measures.

    So the prohibitionists wanted tax hikes as part of a raft of punitive measures to force people to quit smoking.

    This is from antismoking central, the World Health Organization just this year:
    The Economic and Health Benefits of Tobacco Taxation, produced by the Tobacco Free Initiative of the World Health Organization and the Secretariat of the WHO Framework Convention on Tobacco Control, highlights the importance of tobacco control in the post-2015 development agenda, and the potential for higher taxes on tobacco products to act as a large funding source for governments. Taxing tobacco products has been proven to be the most effective tobacco control measure for reducing consumption, and therefore saving lives. Introducing higher tobacco taxation is a win-win policy: it not only saves lives, but it also increases government revenue that can then be spent on health and development priorities.”

    Extortionate taxes have nothing to do with the “cost of smokers to society”. It is solely a punitive measure that keeps the prohibitionists happy and provides the [obscene] payoff for government in supporting/funding the antismoking (prohibition) crusade. “Cost of smokers to society” is the trash that’s fed to the public to provide a veneer of “respectability” to what is straight out robbery.

  22. Some History says:

    There was a presentation in the 1980s (see Godber Blueprint ) at one of the World Conferences on Smoking & Health concerning the “cost of smoking” to the health system. There were no studies to that point. The presenter, who was partial to antismoking, concluded that smokers were not an additional cost. He also pointed out that these sorts of studies are highly arguable in that they rely on so many questionable assumptions. Obviously, the fanatics didn’t receive this presentation too well and simply disregarded it. For decades, they have been proclaiming that smoking/smokers are a burden to the health system, even though a number of studies over that time indicated that it is not true.

    Through this fraudulent claim, the fanatics convinced governments to hike tobacco taxes to “cover” the extra medical services. Governments are only too happy to oblige; it means more money in the coffers. And the fanatics always insist that they should be given a cut of the extra taxes to continue “educating” the public, keeping them in comfortable, lucrative employment. In the last decade, tobacco taxes have been hiked many times into the realm of compounded extortion. So inflated are the taxes that it’s impossible to hide the charade any longer.

    Consider a recent “cost analysis” appearing in an Australian government publication; bear in mind that the Australian government is rabidly antismoking. Net health costs of tobacco-use was estimated at $318,400,000 (p.51). The net revenue from tobacco sales was $6,700,000,000 (p.22). The revenue from tobacco is 21 TIMES the “extra” cost of treating smokers. This difference is obscene. Even the extent of this “extra medical cost” is arguable and there’s not even any subtraction of forgone pensions. The “21 times” is extremely conservative.$File/mono64.pdf

    Governments and the fanatics that advised them aren’t going to come out and admit that they’ve severely overcharged smokers to the point of robbery and that the tax on tobacco should be considerably reduced. Given that the fantasy that smokers cost the health system can no longer be maintained, the fanatics do what they do regularly – they change the “argument” (storyline), i.e., shift the goalposts. NOW they argue, smokers [way] more than cover their additional health costs, but there are “other costs”. And the above report concocts around $32,000,000,000 of “other costs”, which are not actual government expenditures. There isn’t time to consider how all these “other costs” are entirely arguable. However, the absurdity of the claims attracted some rare criticism. Further, these “costs to the State” smack of a socialist framework where individuals are the property of the State, with the expectation of a particular, average “working life” able to be extracted from each individual.

    Shifting the “storyline” or goalposts, i.e., the trash that’s fed to the public, keeps the ideological fanatics happy (and they usually call for additional funding to help “educate” the public), Gigantic Pharma is happy because it can keep peddling and profiting from its essentially useless “nicotine replacement” wares. And the government is happy because it can claim that it needs to extort even more taxes from smokers. There is now a lucrative antismoker industry that did not exist 30 years ago. From part of the extortionate taxes, it is smokers that are financing a considerable portion of it: They are being forced to pay for their own persecution. It is a very sick, fraud-based, self-serving system. The partnering of government with prohibitionists can well be referred to as racket.

  23. Infidel Tiger says:

    Does smoking cost the Australian economy $31.5 billion?

    It’s no coincidence that Australia’s growth and creativity has slowed with every rise in tobacco and alcohol excise. Nanny has numbed us and ruined us as people.

    Smoking gives a person excellent thinking time. We are now a stupid non-thinking nation.

  24. Some History says:

    Bear in mind too that the $318,400,000 (estimated net health costs of tobacco-use) is entirely arguable. And what about that “15,000 killed by smoking” annually? That claim is also entirely arguable (folk wouldn’t be too impressed by how that number is arrived at, and there aren’t too many that are familiar with how the figure is arrived at). There’s very little that’s come from the mouths of prohibitionists over the last 400 years that isn’t entirely arguable although prohibitionists are notorious for black-and-white, absolute language.

  25. Some History says:

    More on the real reason for extortionate taxes. Note that there is no mention of “cost of smokers to the health system/society”:

    WHO: Stepped up government tax action needed to curb tobacco epidemic
    7 July 2015
    “Raising taxes on tobacco products is one of the most effective – and cost-effective – ways to reduce consumption of products that kill, while also generating substantial revenue,” says Dr Margaret Chan, WHO Director-General.”

    Strategic Thinking on State Tobacco Tax Increases
    RWJF 2006
    “For the most part, this unprecedented success can be attributed to state fiscal crises resulting from the downturn in the national economy.
    State policymakers were desperate to find new revenues to plug growing deficits in state budgets.
    In many states, public health advocates were ready and able to partner with policymakers in
    developing tobacco tax strategies that advanced public health goals and filled budget holes.”
    “This document is designed to assist public health advocates in recognizing and weighing the strategic decisions that must be made before beginning a campaign to increase tobacco taxes at the state level.”
    “After answering the questions above and examining polling data, choose the highest increase that is politically viable”
    “From a strictly economic standpoint, tobacco taxes fall under this definition because the same amount of tax is charged to all individuals regardless of income.
    This means the tax is a greater percentage of the income of low-income persons than those with more income.
    Critics charge that regressive taxes are easiest to raise because they place the heaviest burden on those without a political voice”

  26. Some History says:

    The Anti-Tobacco Racket: History Revisited

    Anti-tobacco/smoking has had a long, sordid, 400+ year history. Pretty well all of the antismoking crusades have been prohibitionist, usually banning the sale/use of tobacco. There was one notable exception – King James I (‘tis he who commissioned the King James Bible translation) in the early-1600s. Jimmy did a few things. He penned the antismoking piece, “A Counterblaste To Tobacco”, a work loaded with inflammatory drivel written in ye olde English. It was important to clearly indicate moral outrage because this provides the pretext for taking action on the tobacco “issue”. But Jimmy didn’t prohibit tobacco/smoking. Armed with the appearance of moral high ground, he banned the growing of tobacco in England and arranged for the importation of tobacco from Virginia, America. Banning the growing of tobacco in England reduced the risk of locally produced contraband. So, King Jim manufactured a monopoly on tobacco (entering through imports) in England. And didn’t Jimmy have a field day with the monopoly. He set a ration on the sale of tobacco per person and super-inflated the price of tobacco. He was robbing his tobacco-users blind. What a good “christian” king. Unfortunately the racket had a limited life. The mass-scale robbery invited contraband. Tired of losing revenue to contraband, Jim eventually relented and lowered his price.

    Fast-forward some 400 years to the island nation of Australia. Since the early-1900s, growing tobacco in Australia has required a government permit. The only ones issued these permits were tobacco companies.

    Australia bought into the antismoking hysteria in the 1980s. The leaders of the current antismoking crusade are prohibitionists. Their goal, as it was in early-1900s America, is to destroy the tobacco industry. The prohibitionists have brought to the table the “moral outrage”. Having partnered with the prohibitionists, the moral outrage permits the government to act on the tobacco “issue”. The beginnings were small. The goal was to put the heat on the “evil” tobacco industry – banning of advertising, constantly referred to as the “merchants of death”, etc. By 2014, the tobacco companies have been chased out of Australia. The tobacco companies no longer contract tobacco growing and their last, small manufacturing plant is about to close. All tobacco products are now imported into Australia. The growing of tobacco in Australia, based on early-1900s law, is effectively banned; tobacco-growing permits are not issued to individuals. If someone wants [legal] tobacco, they have to buy the officially-imported, government-tax paid stuff. The Australian government finds itself in a manufactured position not unlike King James. It has a monopoly on [imported] tobacco in Australia and has complete control over its price through excise tax. Unlike Jimmy, the government hasn’t even had to get its hands dirty sourcing imports. It uses tobacco companies as offshore growers/manufacturers that then import tobacco products into Australia. And, just like Jimbo, isn’t the Australian government having a field day with the monopoly. It just keeps jacking up the taxes on tobacco. The price for premium brands is already at $AUD200 per carton. It’s, again, mass-scale robbery.

    It’s important to note the collusion between government and zealot prohibitionists. The prohibition sought this time is not the sale of tobacco but to effectively ban smoking in all the places that people typically smoke. Taxation is also a “punitive” tool. Important is that the same step is interpreted differently by prohibitionists and the government. Increased taxation is viewed by the zealots as a coercive tool to antismoking conformity, whereas the government views it as a means to increased revenue (through robbery). To maintain the appearance of a moral “high ground” the government needs the moral outrage of the zealots. It doesn’t matter if the moralizing zealots are constantly lying in their claims. All that matters is the moral outrage and the appearance of moral high ground. To keep the zealots on-side, it has to appease the antismoking whims of the zealots, e.g., smoking bans, plain packaging. In doing so, it legitimizes what are baseless claims by the zealots. The government can then claim that extortionate taxes, which it’s really interested in, are necessary to “help” people to quit or that taxes cover the “smoker burden” to society.. The fact of the matter is that those who smoke are being fleeced by baseless, ever-increasing taxes. The government knows that most won’t quit smoking and it counts on increased revenue from tax hikes in its budget forecasts. It’s robbery based on the moral fraud of antismoking rhetoric. It’s a racket. Worse is that some of the zealot prohibitionists want kick-backs in the form of funding to further “educate” the public, advance their careers, and remain in comfortable employment.

    This results in the utterly perverse situation that those who smoke are further and further marginalized through baseless antismoking laws, smoking deemed “unfit” for normal society while they’re also being robbed through ever-increasing extortionate taxes. Smokers are forced to pay for their own “denormalization” and further fleecing. And this is occurring not in the autocracy of 1600s England but in a one-time relatively free society like Australia where the government is supposedly a servant of the people (which includes those who smoke). It’s the government in its partnering with zealot prohibitionists that is conducting itself like a criminal entity.

    It is also worth noting that the wholesale price of tobacco plus excise tax plus retail mark-up also has a “goods & services” tax (GST) of 10% slapped on top. The Federal/State arrangement is that GST is apportioned amongst the States. So the States also have a vested financial interest in appeasing antismoking lobbying and, therefore, hikes in tobacco excise by the federal government.

    It goes a considerable way in explaining why Australia is one of the world leaders in antismoking insanity. Australia has comprehensive indoor bans, including hospitality venues. Shortly, it will have a comprehensive al-fresco ban in hospitality venues, all enacted by individual States. One State goes the antismoking route and all the other States follow suit shortly thereafter. There are no States that buck the trend.

    This corruption of government can’t even be placed at the feet of just politicians. It’s taken many years to build this racket. The corruption is squarely in government health and finance bureaucracies; it’s with unelected bureaucrats. This is why it makes no difference as to which political party gets into power. Politicians are advised by the same bureaucrats and end up toeing the antismoking line. So there is no relief from the extortion from the democratic/voting process.

    Bring on the contraband. It’s one of the few “solutions” to crooked government egged on by zealot nut cases.

  27. Gary in Erko says:

    If a smoker dies from lung cancer due to the same genetic influence that cause death by lung cancer for three of their non-smoking siblings, are they counted as a death from smoking? How many smokers died last year from causes usually blamed on smoking, but in their particular cases was not due to their smoking? I imagine these sort of statistics are not of interest to the nanny prudes.

  28. C.L. says:

    The Australian left are now the straighteners and wowsers and flogging parsons who feature – with monotonous regularity – in Manning Clark’s History of Australia.

    Incredibly amusing.

    They are literally terrified that somebody, somewhere, is doing something they disapprove of.

  29. C.L. says:

    If a smoker dies from lung cancer due to the same genetic influence that cause death by lung cancer for three of their non-smoking siblings, are they counted as a death from smoking?


    A deceased 99 year-old who smoked (or smokes) is counted as a “smoking-related” death.

  30. Some History says:

    A sampling from the “Conclusions” section of the 3rd World Conference (1975)

    [Remember the following statements were made years before the forced enquiry into secondary smoke and non-smokers. In 1975 there were very few interested in the ranting and raving of prohibitionists. Yet by 2015 most of the recommendations (or more severe) made in 1975 have been implemented in many countries around the world]

    Programs aimed at creating a social environment in which smoking is unacceptable .
    An educational emphasis on the exemplar role of female adults (especially) as it relates to children.
    The utilization of the women’s liberation movement to encourage rebellion against the old social systems by the act of not smoking .
    The utilization of tobacco tax revenues for smoking education programs .
    All organizations and associations concerned with matters of smoking and health should set an example for the societies they serve by taking and enforcing all necessary and appropriate measures for the protection of non-smokers including the prohibition of smoking in their
    offices, or their conferences and workshops and on the part of any persons representing them professionally or officially at any function or activities .
    All organizations and associations concerned with matters of smoking and health should utilize their resources for, and provide their wholehearted vigorous and unequivocal support to, legislative, administrative and other measures or initiatives for the protection of the health of non-smokers.
    That professional obstetric associations make their members aware of the scientific evidence that the non-smokers rights of the unborn children are being violated and their health impaired by the involved smoking mothers .
    That more time be allocated to the rights of the non-smoker
    at the Fourth World Conference on Smoking and Health .
    That there be no areas for smoking for teachers or students in schools .
    A coordinated world-wide campaign against cigarette smoking would dramatize and emphasize this health problem . Therefore, to the extent possible, we recommend that a common theme be adopted internationally . Such a theme should be based on the positive aspects of enjoying freedom from cigarettes . . . that it’s fashionable to be free from smoking .
    In order to start a new generation of health professionals who will provide a medical environment free of smoking, present health professionals must adopt good health practices themselves specifically not smoking .
    This sub-section believes that the combined efforts of health professionals can help make the use of tobacco socially unacceptable.
    Much public education is needed to help create the ideal of a non-smoking oriented society .

    Exposure to tobacco smoke is aggravating and sometimes harmful to non-smokers and adds to the problems of those who have recently stopped smoking . Restricting areas where smoking is permitted in public places will provide important incentives to those who are trying to stop smoking and to others who have stopped and require support to remain free of tobacco . Therefore, it is recommended that as a part of national health policy the use of tobacco should be viewed as behavior that is destructive to self and to others and to implement this aspect of policy by appropriate legislation, regulation, and voluntary action, there should be a deliberate and systematic enlargement and guarantee of non-smoking areas in all public places including places of employment . Non-smokers should always have the right to work in smoke free areas .
    That Governments be urged to develop comprehensive programs directed against the smoking of cigarettes and based on the recommendations of this conference and those of the WHO expert Committee on Smoking and its Effects on Health.
    That Governments be urged to introduce legislation to require the production of cigarettes of low tar and nicotine content .
    That there be progressive and regular increases in the tax on cigarette tobacco .
    That it be recognized that unrestricted tobacco smoking in closed areas create a health hazard for millions of persons with a wide variety of medical susceptibilities and conditions and causes physical irritation and discomfort to the majority of nonsmokers
    and therefore, THAT legislation be introduced and that existing legislation be enforced to protect the right of the nonsmokers and to shield them from the hazards and irritations of passive smoking and THAT such legislation include the banning of smoking in public places such as cinemas, libraries, shops, trains, buses, and conference rooms .
    That senior government officials be urged to refrain from smoking in the exercise of their duties .
    That all organizations and associations concerned with the matter of smoking and health set an example by taking and enforcing all necessary and appropriate measures for the protection of the health and comfort of the non-smokers, including the prohibition of smoking in their offices, at
    their conferences and workshops, and on the part of any person representing them .
    That general or family physicians be encouraged to take the initiative in anti-smoking activities in their role as exemplars in their communities .
    That it be recommended to members of the teaching profession that they accept their role as exemplars in the campaign against smoking .

    That it be recognized by all organizations and associations concerned with smoking and health that the campaign against smoking is political and economic in character and requires decisions based on political and economic factors .
    (emphases added)

  31. Oh come on says:

    This is what leftists do, lie constantly about everything. Tell the truth once and the whole thing falls apart.

    This is about as true as Plibersek’s $31 billion claim. Leftists aren’t remotely scared of the truth as long as they can deploy a countering lie that’ll blot it out for the following news cycle, which they usually can.

    Far from Leftist lies being disarmed by having the truth thrust in their faces, their lies are remarkably impervious during such scenes and remain highly resilient throughout much of the electorate, which, for instance, swallows whole the double standards the ALP applies to their political opponents and overlooks the breathtaking incompetence the ALP exhibited when in government and continues to display in opposition, to the extent that Shorten and co are genuine contenders for the win after only one spell in opposition.

    It’s just incredible. The modern ALP is not a house of cards; it’s the mightiest of fortresses. It is like the Tories of the early 1990s – an election-winning machine.

  32. Oh come on says:

    I know there are some here who dispute the claim that smoking reduces life expectancy. Let’s, for argument’s sake, accept that it does substantially reduce the life expectancies of smokers. Would the myriad of welfare savings that would inevitably result from all of these premature smoker deaths have been factored into the final “cost”? If not, why not? We must surely be talking about a multi-billion dollar saving upon Plibber’s headline figure, after all.

    How much are all the prematurely dead smokers saving Centrelink, public housing etc?

  33. DtjW says:

    I find that Tobacco advertising is still alive and well, although under the guise of public health warnings and messages presented by our Federal and State Governments and government funded Quit Agencies.

    All those TV and radio ads and bill boards plastered on buses and highway signs, keep the act of smoking very much present in the community, and act as a reminder for the addicted and those attempting to quit. I theorise that these “constant reminders” are a sly (is insidious to harsh?) attempt by the government’s, federal and state, to prey on the addicted and keep their revenue flowing.

    Congratulations Rudiau and curious george. My next quit attempt begins Monday and hopefully I can be as successful as you two. And Some History, I have your blog post of the 20th of June at 11:02pm, regarding the needed government warning on cigarette packs, and the extortion of the addicted as, hopefully, a reinforcement of my quit attempt.

  34. Struth says:

    What is the obesity epidemic doing toward public health costs since people shove maccas down their throats now instead of having a puff?
    How much is the cost of that, as it would have been less had people been smoking more!?
    I find it amusing how there would definitely be a measureable link between decreasing smoking and increasing obesity no one seems to talk about.
    Smokers are hospitalised before they die as are most people .
    If it is true that smokers die earlier than how much pension have they saved the tax payer?
    I could go on with these silly questions but the point being is Plebbers quoting statistics is embarrassing.

  35. Struth says:

    Smoking has gone down gradually due to increased prices and massive saturation propaganda about the evils of smoking, to the point where a smoker gets treated worse than a criminal.
    Plain packaging has nothing to do with it.

  36. Filbert says:

    I want to thanks Ms Doolittle for putting me onto the eCigs.
    They are now available with nicotine in Orstralia.
    You little beauty!
    No smoke, no tar, no smell, no ashtrays, no burnt holes in clothes, no lighters, no excessive Gov’t taxes!
    Just sweet Lady Nicotine.

  37. Andrew says:

    OCO they’re explicitly allowed for – as a cost. The “social cost” of not having my dad around when he died prematurely was added in at N, where N is substantially more than the cost of welfare, health and housing plus (if necessary) meals on wheels plus the normal services provided to everyone like libraries, rubbish collection. Therefore by dying early, that’s a big cost.

    Strangely there was no “social cost” to the 100,000 people who lost their jobs when the WBCT was imposed.

  38. Sparkx says:

    ” And what about that “15,000 killed by smoking” annually?” One wonders about the accuracy of these figures. When a friends grandfather died recently the young female doctor insisted on recording “smoking” as one of the causes of death even though the man hadn’t touched a cigarette in over 40 years!

  39. Diogenes says:

    On the old rope that is my normal smoke (Shorts) the excise went up by nearly $3 a pack of 5 on Tuesday (I bought 20 packs on Monday) to nearly $20 a pack. I could buy them duty free in Vanuatu for $6 a pack just 2 months ago – I did not feel bad smuggling in 20 packs of La Paz (a much nicer smoke same price for a pack 3 in Vanuatu, or $10 a “stick” here ).

  40. Cassie of Sydney says:

    I reckon that the economic and social legacy of plibbershit and her party are a lot more than 31.5 billion per year, in fact the legacy that the slovenian anti-Semitic hag and her comrades have left to the Australian tax payer will be a burden for generations, not years. I wonder what the health cost of illicit drugs such as heroin is, perhaps she could ask her hubby that? I wonder what the social and economic cost of his illegal drug dealing was?

  41. Jim says:

    Has anyone done an economic analysis of the lifecycle benefits and cost to government budgets attributable to smoking? Could be a great honours project for one of your students.

    I suspect the present value of taxes paid and reduced pension payout (due to shorter life expectancy) would vastly outweigh the additional costs faced by the health system.

  42. Lem says:

    I suspect the present value of taxes paid and reduced pension payout (due to shorter life expectancy) would vastly outweigh the additional costs faced by the health system.

    I’d like to see that economic analysis too, Jim. I can tell you one thing. It is apparent to me there is a point beyond which individuals become a net drag on society, in terms of health expenditure compared to their productivity, and more importantly a net drag on their own happiness. (Don’t blame me for talking about people like economic units, it’s the socialists who are trying to justify the arguments about interfering with how people choose to live their lives because of the effect on “the economy”, so they framed the argument).

    The aim of the nanny state seems to be racking up the years regardless of your dementia, with the cardiologists stenting you, and the oncologists at the ready to jemmy open the coffin, just so long as you quit the fags like nanny said you should. Doesn’t matter how gaga you are, so long as you can be wheeled out to get a letter from the Queen, and a photo op with the Minister for Health.

    Living your life on other people’s terms doesn’t sound like much of a life to me.

  43. Monkey's Uncle says:

    I suspect the present value of taxes paid and reduced pension payout (due to shorter life expectancy) would vastly outweigh the additional costs faced by the health system.

    There have been numerous studies done overseas by finance departments that have established precisely that. No need for anyone to suspect that is true. It should be established fact by now.

  44. Lem says:

    By far the largest and most speculative component is $19bn in “intangible costs”, the hypothetical cost of pain and suffering and the “valuation of life” — an estimate of the loss of productive capacity from a premature death.

    It’s a very good point made. Exactly how to come up with this figure?

    Are they saying that old people dying from cigarette smoking from lung cancer (a pretty short illness generally) somehow is wrecking the economy? Pretty tenuous.

    Emphysema is much more costly, one has to admit, when home oxygen and nursing care is factored in.

    But “pain and suffering from premature death” as a cost factor? I mean when you’re dead, you’re dead. The pain and suffering have stopped, for you and the people paying for your health care.

    The logical conclusion of this argument is that any cause of death causes “intangible costs”. So is nanny going to announce a fatwa on death generally?

    Will our society be building ever more ICU’s hooking up failing bodies to ventilators to avoid the inevitable outcome of life? In fear of the hoards of lawyers produced since Keating’s time who will sue for lost opportunity?

    Nutsy stuff. Except that is exactly how modern medicine is working right at the moment. The medicare stats tell the tale.

  45. Jeremy says:

    If we accept her statistics at face value they work out at $2,100,000 per dead person as a result of smoking.
    If we apply the same figure to abortions (estimated at 80,000 per year because records aren’t kept)
    Then the nett cost of abortion in Australia is $ 168,000,000,000 per year. How about we put that to her and watch her head explode!

  46. Jeremy says:

    That’s $168 billion per year!

  47. This is just utter bullshit and no amount of thick rimmed glasses or fist leaning makes her eruidite or correct.

    If all of my teams get up this weekened and make it to grand finals (2/3 have so far), as boss man of the club, I will spark up a Romeo y Julietta # 2 Petit Turbos and Tanya can shove the dire warning packaging somewhere so I don’t have to listen to her dishonest ablutions.

  48. GregJ says:

    Plibersek is from the Left.

    She doesn’t care that what she says is a demonstrable lie, even when she knows it to be a demonstrable lie, because she knows that she can say these things because noone in the leftoid media will pull her up on it.

    All that matters to Plibs and her drug-addled fancy-boys of the Left is the fact that she can say it and get away with saying it.

    It is sickening.

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