Tobacco was one of the first cash crops that was brought to Australia during the settlement period. Currently the Australian tobacco industry has suffered from stringent regulations and increasing taxation in 2017 leading to a strong decline in retail sales. However, growth remains positive fro tobacco with increases in unit prices.
Three multinational companies dominate the industry in Australia with supermarkets remaining the leading distribution channel for tobacco where more than half of overall value sales take place. The rising prices in cigarettes is expected to slow growth and negatively impact overall volume sales in the future.
Important Australian Tobacco Industry Statistics
#1. In the 1970s, when tobacco growing was at its peak in Australia, over 16,000 tons of leaf were sold each year. In 2006, the total tobacco crop yield was less than 4,000 tons. (Tobacco in Australia)
#2. In 2015, 14% of Australians 15 years of age or older reported that the smoked every day. Another 2% reported that they smoked on an irregular basis. That means about 2.7 million Australians use tobacco products of some type. (The Heart Foundation)
#3. 30% of Australians report that they have stopped their smoking habit. Another 55% say that they have never smoked tobacco products in their lifetime. (The Heart Foundation)
#4. Men are more likely to smoke tobacco in Australia compared to women. Over 1.6 million Australian men, above the age of 15, consider themselves smokers. 90% smoke every day. (The Heart Foundation)
#5. Since 2001, the number of Australians aged 15 or older who report smoking has fallen by 36%. This has resulting in a reduction of 1 million people who count themselves as tobacco smokers. (The Heart Foundation)
#6. People who are unemployed in Australia are more likely to smoke tobacco products (26.7%) when compared to people who are employed (16.1%). (The Heart Foundation)
#7. Households in remote areas of Australia are more likely to have someone who is a smoker (20.7%) compared to households located in a major city (14.2%)
#8. Residents of the Northern Territory are the most likely to be tobacco consumers, with 21.6% of the population reporting a smoking habit. Tasmania comes in second, at 18.5%. They are followed by Queensland (16.2%), Western Australia (15.8%), and Victoria (14.8%). (The Heart Foundation)
#9. In 2003, tobacco consumption was responsible for 7.8% of the disease and injury burden within the general population of Australia. That meant tobacco, at the time, was responsible for about 15,000 deaths each year. (Australian Bureau of Statistics)
#10. The estimated cost of tobacco consumption in Australia is around A$31.5 billion, including social, health, and economic impacts. (Australian Bureau of Statistics)
#11. Among 12- to 15-year-olds in Australia, 3% of the population are current smokers. The smoking rate for girls (3.2%) was slightly higher than it was for boys (2.8%). (Australia Tobacco Control Taskforce)
#12. For 16- to 17-year-olds, 10.3% reported being current smokers. In this age demographic, boys (11.6%) were more likely to be smokers than girls (8.9%). (Australia Tobacco Control Taskforce)
#13. Between 2013-2016, the decline in annual smoking rates was just 0.2%. In comparison, Iceland saw a 12% drop in smoking rates over the same time period. Even the United States saw a 7% decline in smoking rates. (News Pty Limited)
#14. With strict smoking laws in place, the average price for a packet of cigarettes in Australia is expected to reach A$40 in 2020. This pricing is expected to raise about A$4.7 billion in taxation revenues on the tobacco products. (The Independent)
Australian Tobacco Industry Trends and Analysis
The commercial tobacco farming industry in Australia does not exist. It began winding down in the 1990s as tariff protections were reduced. Government-financed grants shifted from protecting farmers who grew tobacco to encouraging them to leave the industry altogether.
In 1995, the Australian Tobacco Marketing Advisory Committee began to cease operations, finally closing in 1997 after the repeal of the Tobacco Marketing Act. Assets were transferred to the Tobacco Research and Development Corporation, which ceased operations in 2003.
The last sales contracts for tobacco were filed in 2004. In 2006, a majority of growers voted for a government buyout that had industry funding. As of 2017, there are no valid licenses issues for growing tobacco in Australia, either for personal or commercial use.
Since 2008, cigarettes made in Australia have used tobacco products that were grown in Brazil, India, Zimbabwe, or the United States.