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CHARTS: Australian tobacco consumption is getting smoked

Photo: Ian Waldie / Getty Images.

Australia’s GDP report, a vast document that offers all kinds of interesting economic tidbits, never fails to create talking points on the state of the Australian economy.

Take the chart below, tracking the volume of cigarettes and tobacco consumed within Australia. It’s about as bearish as a chart can get.

Source: ABS 5206.0

From the June quarter of 1975, the all-time peak for cigarette and tobacco consumption in Australia at a total spend of $9.295 billlion, volumes have been steadily falling, culminating in an all-time record low in the September quarter 40 years on at $3.375 billion.

The figures are in volume terms, and so adjusted for price movements. From peak to trough, volumes consumed have fallen by close to two-thirds over the past four decades.

Volumes have also fallen 18.3% since plain packaging legislation came into effect in the December quarter of 2012, something that, along with smoking bans in pubs and clubs, plus excise increases and health campaigns have likely contributed to the decline in smoking levels.

This chart, from the Commonwealth Department of Health, shows smoking prevalence rates for 14 years or older Australians since 1990 as anti-smoking measure were introduced.

Source: Department of Health

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