Tobacco Tax set to increases prices 33% over 2 years

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Legislation passed under urgency last night has seen the price of cigaretts (taylors and rollies) increase overnight by 10%. The tax is set to increase twice over the next two years and will see a pack of cigarettes go from $13 to $17 by 2012. The argument is that by increasing taxes on tobacco, pressure will be put on family members to quit and prevent young people from starting in the first place.

Organisation such as Quitline and theNew Zealand Nurses Organisation (NZNO) congratulates are exceedingly happy by the move. With the NZNO saying:

If the revenue raised from higher tobacco taxes is used specifically for programmes to support smokers to quit then it will be a win-win situation.” said NZNO kaiwhakahaere Kerri Nuku. Our recent submission to the Maori Affairs Select Committee pointed out that legislation is one of the best tools to ensure that the numbers of smokers decline and continue to decline. It is heartening that this step has been taken so quickly.”

NZNO acknowledges that smoking is an addiction and low income smokers are likely to hit hardest by the price-increases.

We urge government to make sure that extra resources are available for people needing help to quit as the effects of the price rises hit home.”

The Maori Party has pushed hard for tobacco reforms and last night in Parliament MP Hone Harawira declared in his speech that “today we celebrate another step in saving the lives of New Zealanders addicted to tobacco, in reducing the number of our citizens who die in their thousands every year from smoking and for those who want to know exactly what were talking about, its about trying to put a dent into the wiping out of the population of Kaitaia, every single year.

Tobacco companies have come out saying measure such as these have not seen any reduction in smoking and that this creates a “black market” in the supply of tobacco, if this is so it will be interesting to see what steps are taken to deal with these issues.

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