A new tobacco tax has been in place for a matter of hours but it’s already the subject of controversy.

While some agree with the tax hike, others are critical and say it will do little to cut smoking habits.

Jessica Uhlmann reports.

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TRANSCRIPT

A tax of $2 more on a box of thirty cigarettes aims to cut smoking rates but experts warn of far-reaching negative impacts.

Gary Black, National Retailers Association: “This will significantly and adversely impact on small retailers. It will reduce an important revenue stream for them.”

There’s questions about whether the tax will cut smoking rates or merely change people’s shopping habits.

Mahesh Kumar, Tobacco Station, Stones Corner: “People will probably switch over from the small places to a specialist discount outlet to get better prices.”

But a price increase won’t stop these smokers anytime soon.

Vox one: “I don’t think it’s going to stop people from smoking. It’s just another way for the government to make more money I think.”

Vox two: “I think it’s unfair because it’s our choice to smoke.”

The Cancer Council Queensland says eight out of 10 smokers want to kick the habit and this new tax could be the extra incentive they need.

Deb Gillespie, Cancer Council Queensland: “It’s certainly going to drive the figures of smokers down. Smoking is the largest burden of disease and the biggest strain on our health system.”

The Cancer Council also supports plans to remove advertising on cigarette packets.

Deb Gillespie, Cancer Council Queensland: “We know that young people in particular are very vulnerable to advertising so if we can stop them from taking up smoking it will have better outcomes for the health of all Australians in the longer term.”

But that too has come under fire.

Vox three: “We’re buying the packaging not the product.”

Laws to remove advertising from cigarette packets are expected to be in place by July 1 2010.

Jessica Uhlmann, QUT News