Plain Cigarette Packaging: Octane for Organized Crime

From: Financial Review

The evidence is in: Plain packaging of cigarettes just doesn’t work

by David Leyonhjelm


Black market cigs? Yes please!

Later that week Amanda is buying cigarettes again, this time at a place recommended to her by a friend. Instead of swiping her card for a $30 purchase, she hands over a $10 bill. The cigarette pack she gets back looks like packs used to look, except the contents are smuggled and there’s no $17 of tax. Amanda, like 15 per cent of all smokers in Australia, has now joined the black market. She is getting her supply from the same criminal network that supplies teenagers with ice and terrorists with guns.

Richard doesn’t mind. He doesn’t mind that plain packaging makes it a hassle for the servo attendant to serve customers. He doesn’t mind that the ban on e-cigarettes means Amanda continues to fill her lungs with tar from cigarettes. He doesn’t mind that the world’s highest rate of tax on tobacco means the smuggling business is booming and government is missing out on billions of dollars of revenue.

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