The Australian Greens have welcomed the Federal Government's decision to increase the tax on tobacco products by 25% and introduce plain packaging for cigarettes and tobacco products, describing it as important preventative health measures.
"This is a very positive step for the Government to take," Australian Greens health spokesperson Senator Rachel Siewert said today.
"We support both the packaging changes and also the increase to taxes on cigarette and tobacco products."
"Smoking costs Australia $31 billion per year and we are committed to supporting legislation which can lead to effective reductions in this burden."
"Claims by tobacco companies that they should be compensated are spurious," she said.
"If anything they should be compensating Australian taxpayers for knowingly pushing products that costs us billions of dollars and shortens thousands of lives.
"We are hopeful that the new tax will see increased investment in education and support programs targeting those groups most vulnerable and most affected by smoking - especially addressing high rates of smoking in Aboriginal communities, an the uptake of smoking among young Australians.
"It is essential for Australia's long term health that we reduce the nation's smoking rate as this eases pressure on the health system and allows essential services to be directed to other people in the community," Senator Siewert concluded.
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