In March 2017, the Australian Bureau of Statistics (ABS) released figures that show the total consumption of tobacco and cigarettes, as measured by estimated expenditure on tobacco products to be:
- $7.174 billion in September 1959;
- $4.712 billion in December 2012; and
- $3.415 billion in March 2017.5
Tobacco clearances data (including excise and customs duty) are an indicator of tobacco volumes in the Australian market, and provide a useful approximation of tobacco consumption over time.
Treasury has advised that tobacco clearances fell by 3.4% in the 2013 calendar year relative to the 2012 calendar year, and fell by a further 7.9% in 2014, 3.5% in 2015 and 2.8% in 2016. As at the end of 2016, tobacco clearances had fallen a total of 16.5% since 2012.
These tobacco clearance rates do not take into account refunds of excise equivalent customs duty made under Customs’ plain packaging related Tobacco Refund Scheme between December 2012 and May 2013. These refunds cannot be related to annual net clearances on a comparable basis to other data used to derive tobacco clearance rates.
5 5206.0 Australian National Accounts: National Income, Expenditure and Product, Dec 2015 Available at: Australian National Accounts: National Income, Expenditure and Product. Available at: http://www.abs.gov.au/AUSSTATS/abs@.nsf/DetailsPage/5206.0Dec%202015?OpenDocument.