If you think cigarettes are expensive in the United States, be glad you don't live in Australia, where the price of a pack of smokes is set to rise to above $20, according to The Australian.
The higher price for cigarettes is the result of a rise in the tobacco tax, which government officials say they hope will not only increase revenues by billions of dollars over the next few years, but encourage smokers to kick the habit.
"Price increases encourage existing smokers to quit and raise the barrier for people considering taking up smoking, especially young people," the government-sponsored National Tobacco Strategy reads, as The Australian notes.
This isn't the first time the Australian government has raised taxes on tobacco, however. In 2010 it increased taxes on tobacco products by 25 percent, provoking panic among smokers, according to the Australian Broadcasting Corporation.
The new tobacco tax comes in conjunction with new cigarette packaging restrictions in Australia, which forbid tobacco companies from including any branding on cigarette labels, the Guardian reports. As of Dec. 1, cigarette packages must use generic fonts and a drab olive-brown color meant to discourage consumers.
Australia's tobacco tax isn't the country's only sin tax. Australia also taxes beer and alcohol, with higher taxes placed on beverages that have higher alcohol content.
Although higher tobacco taxes may reduce smoker addiction rates, at least one study has shown that such "nanny taxes," as they are often called, sometimes place a greater burden on lower-income consumers, the Australian reports.
But the increase in the tobacco tax may not bring in the higher revenues the Australian government is hoping for.
In September, the Australian Associated Press reported that tobacco tax revenue fell by $341 million. The federal government says its anti-smoking measures likely contributed to the drop, according to the report.
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<strong>Company:</strong> Intel Corp. (<a href="http://247wallst.dailyfinance.com/quote/nasdaq/intel-corp/intc">NASDAQ: INTC</a>) When Intel released the Ultrabook, it looked to be the key competitor to Apple’s MacBook. That clearly has not happened. Earlier this year, research firm IHS had forecast that 22 million ultrabooks would be shipped by the end of 2012 and an additional 61 million would be shipped in 2013. However, by October, the firm changed its projections drastically, predicting that just 10 million would be sold this year, and only 44 million would be sold in 2013. The problem with the Ultrabook is twofold. Ultrabooks are highly expensive in a market where pricing is everything — the majority cost around $1,000. But the larger issue is the increasing movement to mobile devices such as smartphones and tablets. “There once was a time when everyone knew the ‘Dude you’re getting a Dell’ slogan,” IHS analyst Craig Stice said in the firm’s report. “Nowadays no one can remember a tag line for a new PC product, including for any single ultrabook.” Read more at <a href="http://247wallst.com/2012/12/21/the-worst-product-flops-of-2012/#ixzz2FiQ3E7uO">24/7 Wall St.</a>
6. "Pan Am"
<strong>Company:</strong> Disney Disney’s second product flop of the year comes from its television segment. “Pan Am,” which debuted in September 2011, was heavily promoted by ABC. With stars such as Christina Ricci, the show was meant to take off in the ratings. Excluding promotion, the cost of the pilot episode was $10 million. The show’s debut was strong, with more than 11 million viewers tuning in. However, by the time the last episode was aired in February, viewership was down to below 4 million. That same evening, 10 million people watched “CSI Miami” and 7.7 million people watched the season premier of “The Celebrity Apprentice.” Critics pointed to a host of issues, including a dull plot line and competition from other major shows. There were rumors that Amazon would pick up the show for its streaming service, but the contracts for the cast and crew had expired. The show was officially cancelled in May. Read more at <a href="http://247wallst.com/2012/12/21/the-worst-product-flops-of-2012/#ixzz2FiPeyliC">24/7 Wall St.</a>
5. Nokia Lumia 900
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4. Sony Tablet P
<strong>Company:</strong> Sony (<a href="http://247wallst.dailyfinance.com/quote/nyse/sony-corp-adr/sne">NYSE: SNE</a>) Earlier this year Sony debuted the Tablet P, the company’s attempt to make tablets an even more portable experience. The P features a unique clamshell design, allowing the device to fold in half and fit into a pocket. This feature, however, also resulted in a flaw that ruined the device for most users. In order to fold, the screen is split in half by a large, black hinge, which makes playing games and reading incredibly awkward. Because of the screen split, as well as complaints about the operating system and touchscreen sensitivity, the P garnered horrible reviews. In response to poor sales, the device was sold at steep discount — dropping from $549 to $199 — within a few months. In August, Sony announced it would be updating the Android operating system to the latest “Jellybean” version for the Sony Tablet S, but that the P would not be updated. The company is no longer selling the tablet on its American website. Read more at <a href="http://247wallst.com/2012/12/21/the-worst-product-flops-of-2012/#ixzz2FiOW0gIl">24/7 Wall St.</a>
3. "John Carter"
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2. Dodge Dart
<strong>Company:</strong> Chrysler Chrysler placed much emphasis on the Dart, hoping it could compete with other compact cars such as the Honda Civic, Toyota Corolla and Ford Focus. The company began its marketing campaign during the Major League Baseball All-Star game with a 90-second commercial featuring NFL quarterback Tom Brady. Even though Chrysler aimed for the fences, the Dart appears to have struck out. Initial sales were as low as 200 units a month. And although Chrysler managed to sell 4,500 Darts in November, it was well below sales of the Civic and Corolla, which sold 30,075 and 22,255, respectively, during the same month. Analysts at Edmunds.com tell 24/7 Wall St. that Chrysler did not have experience selling compact cars in the same manner it had selling Jeeps and trucks. Reviewers from Consumer Reports failed to give the Dart its “recommended” rating due to powertrain issues. Read more at <a href="http://247wallst.com/2012/12/21/the-worst-product-flops-of-2012/#ixzz2FiNBzrEP">24/7 Wall St.</a>
1. Apple Maps
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