David Leyonhjelm Wants You To Vote For Smokes

08/04/2016 2:12 PM AEST | Updated 15/07/2016 12:51 PM AEST
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NSW Senator David Leyonhjelm wants you to smoke 'em if you've got 'em.

"This election you have choice," Leyonhjelm says into the camera while puffing on a massive cigar in a video that doesn't look in any way like an audition tape for the role of Dr Evil.

"You can vote Labor or Liberal and they'll make you pay $40 for a packet of smokes, or you can vote Liberal Democrats. We support your right to choose to smoke and we will fight tobacco taxes."

The Senator, who in 2014 told Fairfax media he had accepted donations from tobacco company Phillip Morris, has long argued against Australia's increasingly tough smoking laws.

"I've gone from being strongly opposed to totally opposed to plain packaging," he said at the time, explaining how the donations had influenced his stance on plain packaging.

Labor announced in November last year it would have four increases in tobacco excise of 12.5 percent each, which would raise nearly $4 billion over the forward estimates and around $48 billion over the medium term.

The plan which would see a packet of 25 cigarettes cost more than $40 by 2020.

Coalition MPs who campaigned hard against a GST increase are reportedly prepared to accept a higher tobacco excise, and suggested four increases of 10 per cent would raise around $30 billion over the medium term.

According to the Department of Health smoking tobacco is recognised as one of the largest preventable causes of death and disease in Australia, and it kills an estimated 15,000 Australians each year and costs Australia $31.5 billion in social and economic costs.

Federal, state and territory governments have committed to reduce the national adult daily smoking rate to 10 percent by 2018.

The Senator's proposal attracted a few responses on Twitter:

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