Dad’s death sees Leisa back cigarette tax bill

AFTER watching her father die from smoking-related emphysema, Labor candidate for Capricornia Leisa Neaton is backing Bill Shorten's tax reform policy targeting cigarettes.

The Labor Party's major tax reform policy, which was confirmed and revealed to caucus on Tuesday, will focus on a $47 billion tax grab by taxing smokers an extra $10 a pack over the next five years.

The tobacco excise will be gradually increased each year from July 2017 to 2020.

With 2.5 million daily smokers in Australia and a $300 billion, 10-year estimate for health and economic costs related to smoking, both Mr Shorten and Ms Neaton have had a mixed reception to the policy.

"My father actually died of emphysema caused by 50 years of smoking, so it is a very personal issue because I spent the last five days of my dad's life by his side as he coughed up 50 years of horrible stuff," Ms Neaton said yesterday.

"I know people are upset about it but if it stops the future generation from taking on a future habit then we are moving in the right direction.

"It is an extra cost on existing smokers but my hope would be that they reconsider their need to smoke… and try to reduce their habit as much as they can."

But will adding additional costs actually stop those who are already addicted?

Rockhampton's Sara McCartney doesn't think so.

The psychologist and a hypnotherapist, who helps clients quit the habit, said she had never had someone approach her who identified the expense as the sole reason they wanted to quit.

Ms McCartney explained that to address the habit you need to address behaviour, and cost was rarely an incentive.

"When programs like The Biggest Loser are on I get huge influxes of people coming to me... and I expect I will have a fair few in the New Year when people are making resolutions," she said.

"It comes down to individual people, and they are ready when they are ready.

"Price doesn't matter at all because if it were just a price-based component, people would have quit when it was first increased."

Lighting up

17% of Queenslanders are current smokers

14% of Queenslanders smoke daily

28% are ex-smokers

About 55% of Queenslanders have never smoked

15.8 years is the age of the first full cigarette for persons aged 14 years and older

15% of women still smoke at some time during their pregnancy

About 2.6% quit before the second half of pregnancy and 13% smoke throughout

There are about 500,000 adults smokers in the state

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