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Greens call for a floor price on tobacco in response to Big Tobacco’s threats

Media Release
Rachel Siewert 17 May 2011

The Australian Greens will push for a floor price on cigarettes amid tobacco industry threats to slash prices if the government’s legislation for plain packaging is introduced. The funds raised should go to cancer research, Senator Rachel Siewert said today.

“The tobacco industry is fighting for its life, but not the health of Australian, with plans to flood the market with cheap tobacco,” Senator Siewert said in Canberra.

“The Greens believe the best way to guarantee health outcomes from the proposed plain packaging legislation is to combine that measure with a minimum price for cigarettes.”

“The health minister rightly points out that this is a fight between protecting profits and protecting people. It shows how desperate the industry is that they will stoop to these levels.

“The Greens have long been advocates for a minimum price for alcohol, to avert deep discounting, and the same approach should be applied to cigarettes,” said Senator Siewert.

This year the Greens discovered via the Senate estimates process that the tobacco industry had made almost 20 FOI requests to the Department of Health for thousands of files at a cost to the taxpayer of $1.5 million. Further information on the cost of meeting the industry’s excessive demands is due out today.

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