Chapter 13 The pricing and taxation of tobacco products in Australia

Sections 13.2 and 13.3 updated 2015 by Dr Michelle Scollo and Ms Megan Bayly

Fourth edition (2012) and third edition (2008) drafted by Dr Michelle Scollo

Sugar, rum and tobacco are commodities which are no where necessaries of life, which are become objects of almost universal consumption, and which are therefore extremely proper subjects of taxation. […] In the meantime, the people might be relieved from some of the most burdensome taxes: from those which are imposed either upon the necessaries of life, or upon the materials of manufacture. The laboring poor would thus be enabled to live better, to work cheaper, and to send their goods cheaper to market. The cheapness of their goods would increase the demand for them, and consequently for the labour of those who produce them. This increase in the demand for labour, would both increase the numbers and improve the circumstances of the labouring poor. Their consumption would increase, and together with it the revenue arising from all those articles of their consumption upon which the taxes might be allowed to remain.

Adam Smith. An Inquiry into the Nature and Causes of the Wealth of Nations, 1776i

i From Part 5 Public debts Book V of the Revenue of the Sovereign or Commonweatlth—p294 of Bobbs-Merril edition. Published in New York 1961.