Australian Prime Minister Kevin Rudd has said an extra A$5bn to be raised from an increase in tobacco excise will be directly invested in hospitals over the next four years.

Rudd stated that the funds raised will be channeled to the National Health and Hospitals Fund, which will be spent on better health and better hospitals for Australians.

The funds will go towards reducing elective surgery waiting lists, improving emergency department waiting times and providing more hospital beds, doctors and nurses.

“This is a tough decision for the government. The big tobacco companies will hate what we are doing,” Rudd said.