$100 price for cigarettes mulled

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STACEY KIRK

The Ministry of Health has discussed raising the cost of a packet of cigarettes to $100 over the next eight years.

In an internal working paper addressed to Health Minister Tony Ryall, the ministry has suggested that raising the cost of cigarettes to $100 a pack would significantly help achieve the Government’s goal of a smokefree New Zealand by 2025.

The idea was floated that the Government hike the price of cigarettes to $60 next year and then 10 per cent every year thereafter, making the cost of a pack $100 by 2020.

The paper said “if we are to to continue to lower smoking prevalence we need to both increase the numbers who successfully quit smoking, and reduce smoking initiation among young people”.

The ministry said the most effective way to do this was through raising the price of a packet of cigarettes.

“The smokefree 2025 goal is unattainable by stopping smoking initiation alone and requires significant increases in cessation rates among current smokers.

“Some significant step-change measures are probably required early on – for example a very large increased in tobacco excise tax – to achieve the change in trajectory required.”

The New Zealand Institute of Economic Research (NZIER) provided figures to the Health Ministry that the goal was achievable, but would require “ambitious” mid-term targets.

The ministry said almost all smokers picked up the habit between the ages of 14-24 and smoking rates peaked at age 20-30. It was estimated about 650,000 New Zealanders were smokers.

The document said a test simulation from NZIER showed a one-off taxation increase of 60 per cent would halve the numbers of those who picked up smoking in a year.

A 30 per cent increase each year after that, combined with extensive media coverage of the smoke free goal and health programmes to enforce quitting, would reduce smoking prevalence to about 5 per cent by 2025.

The NZIER recommended that for the 2025 goal to be achieved, smoking prevalence would have to be reduced to between 10 and 13 per cent by 2018. That required Maori prevalence to drop from about 44 per cent today, to 25 per cent in 2018.

“Tobacco taxation is the single most effective intervention available to drive down smoking prevalence figures,” the briefing paper said.

Tax on tobacco has been hiked incrementally since 2010. Ministry figures showed since then, sales in roll-your-own tobacco had dropped by 14.7 per cent and manufactured cigarettes by 6.2 per cent.

The document said the NZIER had modelled a further tax hike to “kick start” the momentum toward the 2025 goal where, combined with a large “shock increase” in 2013, the price would rise 10 per cent every year after that.

It said that would be a more “realistic approach” than increasing the price of cigarettes by 30 per cent every year until the goal was achieved.

– Stuff

3 COMMENTS

  1. Seems hugely amoral to me that governments can continue to allow a product to be sold that, they admit, has a good chance of killing you if you use it in the way it is intended.
    And now govt plans to wrap tobacco in plain paper packaging? Apparently they expect large numbers of people will stop smoking because they won’t know the brand they’re purchasing.
    Ironic then that the Free Trade Agreement with the US will allow the Tobacco Industries to sue the nz government for billions of dollars lost profit by not being able to leverage off their brands.
    WTF PEOPLE???

  2. Do you think raising the price of cigarettes will stop smokers? Sure some will stop but im guessing that this will only increase recentment towards the government. No one wants to be told how to live your life. I have to say i only see it as a form of punishment and just another way to enforce a way of life as stated by those in power. I do see more and more ppl deciding that they should give up the habit. The trouble is theres no declinimg in illegal drug use and a push to decriminalise drug users. So what fuckin message are we sending out to our young ones, our future. Is this worth having extra money in the coffers, or is THAT the real motive behind the increases. I guess we the ppl will never know, better do it now before the ppl wake up and decide that its probably easier and quicker to change the government. Signed I STOPPED COS I WANTED TO.

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