Aussie-made tobacco is about to get a lot more affordable and accessible thanks to a change in law.
The Federal Government announced a $1.25 billion package on Wednesday to help Australia’s largest cigarette brand, Altria, develop a tobacco-to-cigarette alternative.
“The tobacco-based tobacco product market is one of the biggest drivers of the global tobacco market,” Agriculture Minister Nigel Scullion said.
“It is an important sector that is seeing substantial growth in terms of new entrants and expanding the market for Australian brands.”
The Government announced the plan on Wednesday, alongside the announcement of its Tobacco Products Regulatory Authority (TPRA) to promote tobacco control.
The TPRA is a body which will set standards for the supply, marketing and packaging of tobacco products.
The legislation also gives TPRAs the power to require tobacco companies to provide information to consumers on the quality and quantity of tobacco they produce, and to make a report to the Australian Competition and Consumer Commission (ACCC).
The TPAs will be responsible for ensuring that tobacco products comply with the Australian Government’s tobacco control guidelines.
“As we have seen in recent years, there is an increasing number of countries around the world which have enacted legislation that prohibits the production and distribution of tobacco in their domestic markets,” Mr Scullions office said.
It’s a big step for Australia’s biggest tobacco brand, but it will be up to individual businesses to decide what to do with the new funds.
Alfa Romeo and Vodafone are two of the top three tobacco producers in Australia, with the world’s second-largest cigarette market, and the company is looking to diversify away from its iconic iconic brands.
“We will not be taking a loss on this investment,” Altria spokesman Rob Cavanagh told the ABC.
“There is no need for a loss of revenue in the long term.”
In August, Altra said it was investing $10 billion in new factories to make more tobacco, and a new range of premium cigars.
The Government has also announced $7 billion for tobacco control measures over the next five years, including $7.5 billion for the TPRA.