economic as a discipline has evolved considerably over time with continuous development and modifications in its conceptual framework, much of which can be attributed to the real world problems and issues in the economies across the globe which have evolved with time. Of the different building blocks of the theoretical and conceptual framework of economic, the primary ones are that of the concept of market, demand and supply as well as the elasticity of demand of different commodities and services (Baumol and Blinder 2015).
In economics, the term “Market” refers to the open forum where the buyers and the sellers of different commodities and services interact with each other to decide the quantity of the commodities or services which are required to be produced as well as the price of the same. The buyers representing the demand side and the sellers representing the supply side, the demand and the supply forces thus play crucial role in determining the structure and the dynamics in the market (Frank and Cartwright 2013). On the other hand, the demand for all the products are not of same type and the governing bodies of different countries often impose price and quantity restrictions or regulations in different markets, which in turn have considerable impacts on the dynamics in the same.
Keeping this into consideration, the concerned report tries to analyze the impact of government restriction in the form of taxation in the market for goods of addiction like tobacco, cigarettes and wine, specifically in the economics domain of Australia, in the light of the economic theories as discussed above. To analyze and interpret the impacts of taxation on such goods and its effects on the demand pattern of the same, the concerned report refers to the article named, why the cigarette tax won’t stop people from smoking (NewsComAu 2018).
Essence of the Article
As per the assertions of the concerned article, the government of Australia has imposed an increased excise tax on the consumption of cigarettes, by the considerably increased amount of 13%, which in turn is expected to increase the price of each pack of cigarettes in the country substantially (Tobaccoinaustralia.org.au 2018). The article also points out to the fact that the primary motive behind such a hike in the tax on tobacco, as has been portrayed by the government of the county, is that of decreasing the consumption of such hazardous goods like tobacco, thereby increasing the overall welfare of the population of the country.
However, as per the assertions of the concerned article, this imposition of a considerably huge amount of tax on the tobacco products will not have any substantial impact in the aspect of reduction of demand of the same in the country. This has been explained by the article by the fact that people in general tend to consume such products to get temporary relief out of there stressed lifestyle and the increase in the price of such products will not make them realize the harmful effects of tobacco on their health, thereby helping them to quit smoking (Chaloupka, Yurekli and Fong 2012).
According to the concerned article, the tax imposed on tobacco and the subsequent increase in the price of the same is only going to increase the economic agony of the smoking population of the country as they are going to feel the burden of increased price of cigarette but are not going to be able to reduce the demand for this “Stress buster” in their life.
The above phenomena, as has been explained by the concerned article can be explained with the help of the concept of demand and supply as well as with the economic notion of price elasticity of demand of commodities and services. According to the law of demand, with the increase in the price of a product or a service, the demand for the same is expected to reduce and vice versa, provided that the product taken into consideration is a normal commodity (Hollander 2012). Thus the demand curve for normal goods is usually downward sloping, which can be shown with the help of the following figure:
Figure 1: Demand curve for normal commodities
(Source: As created by the author)
As is evident from the above figure, with the increase in the price of normal commodities the demand for the same is expected to decrease and vice versa. However, the reduction in the demand in response to an increase in the price of the commodity may vary in terms of magnitude and extent from product to product.
This is explained by the concept of price elasticity of demand of a commodity. The elasticity of demand for a commodity or service shows the degree of responsiveness of demand for the concerned product to one unit change in the price of the same. If due to one unit change in the price of a product the demand for the same changes more than proportionately, then the demand for the concerned product is said to be highly elastic (Pindyck and Rubinfeld 2014). On the other hand if due to one unit change in the price the demand changes less than proportionately, then the demand is considered to be inelastic. This difference can be shown with the help of the following figure:
Figure 2: Inelastic and elastic demand
(Source: As created by the author)
In this context, the demand for tobacco products, in Australia, can be considered to be highly inelastic. This is primarily because tobacco, being a product of addiction, people do not usually reduces its demand with an increase in the price of the same. Thus, the imposition of tax on these products is only going to increase the revenue of the government and not the welfare of the population of the country, as has been argued by the concerned article (Santerre and Neun 2012).
From the above discussion it can be asserted that tobacco products can be treated as a health hazard, the decrease in the consumption of which should be one of the primary agenda of any government. But imposition of high taxes cannot solve the problem fully as the demand for tobacco products, being highly inelastic, the demand does not decrease significantly with the increase in the price of the same. Imposition of quantitative or quota restrictions can be more effective in this aspect and can thus be implemented by the government of different countries, including Australia.
Baumol, W.J. and Blinder, A.S., 2015. Microeconomics: Principles and policy. Cengage Learning.
Chaloupka, F.J., Yurekli, A. and Fong, G.T., 2012. Tobacco taxes as a tobacco control strategy. Tobacco control, 21(2), pp.172-180.
Frank, R. and Cartwright, E., 2013. Microeconomics and behaviour. McGraw Hill.
Hollander, S., 2012. 2 “Classical Eonomics”. Reflections on the Classical Canon in Economics: Essays in Honour of Samuel Hollander.
NewsComAu (2018). The new cigarette tax is ridiculous. [online] NewsComAu. Available at: [Accessed 26 Apr. 2018].
Pindyck, R.S. and Rubinfeld, D.L., 2014. Microeconomics.
Santerre, R.E. and Neun, S.P., 2012. Health economics: Theory, insights, and industry studies. Cengage Learning.
Tobaccoinaustralia.org.au (2018). 13.2 Tobacco taxes in Australia - Tobacco In Australia. [online] Tobaccoinaustralia.org.au. Available at: [Accessed 26 Apr. 2018].