In the realm of rock and roll, where rebellion and freedom are synonymous with the music itself, even the legendary Tommy Lee is not immune to the harsh reality of inflated prices. Recently touring Australia, the Motley Crue drummer found himself gobsmacked when faced with the exorbitant cost of a packet of Marlboro Gold 25s at a Melbourne 7-Eleven – a staggering $62.99. In comparison, a similar packet in his native United States only sets one back about $12 AUD. It seems the price of indulging in a ‘durrie’ Down Under comes at a hefty cost.
For those unfamiliar with the term, a ‘durrie’ is Aussie slang for a cigarette, an item that has long been associated with the rebellious spirit of rock music. In 1985, Motley Crue soared to the Top 40 charts with their cover of Brownsville Station’s “Smokin’ in the Boys Room,” an anthem that resonated with the defiance of schoolboys breaking the rules to enjoy a smoke in the bathroom.
According to News AU – The rock and roll lifestyle has often been intertwined with smoking, but the landscape is changing. As the cost of cigarettes skyrockets, some musicians are opting for alternatives like vaping or even quitting altogether. The health-conscious shift in the music industry mirrors the broader global trend, where smoking rates in Australia and the US hover around 10.1% and 11.5%, respectively, as of 2021.
However, the escalating cost of cigarettes seems to have little impact on curbing smoking rates. Instead, it becomes a lucrative revenue stream for the government. The Australian Tax Office reports a 34% shrinkage in the tobacco market from 2015-16 to 2020-21, yet the tax collected on tobacco increased by a staggering 43.7%. The government’s pockets grow heavier, even as the smoking landscape undergoes transformations.
The same financial dynamics apply to alcohol, where a substantial chunk of every beer slab contributes to government coffers. Australia ranks fourth in the world for beer tax and third for spirits tax. It becomes apparent that legal products like tobacco and alcohol, despite their negative health impacts, are essential sources of revenue for the government.
In conclusion, the rock and roll spirit endures, but the landscape is evolving. Tommy Lee may find solace in the affordability of cigarettes back in the US, but for Aussie smokers, the financial burden continues to rise. Whether it’s the relentless taxation or a growing awareness of health concerns, the relationship between rock music and smoking is transforming, reflecting the broader shifts in societal attitudes toward these vices.