Tax hike hits smokers

By Joseph Aldridge

5 comments


Maintaining a smoking addiction just became 10 per cent more expensive, with a rise in the tobacco tax kicking in today.

Smokers spoken to by the Bay of Plenty Times supported the move but said the price spike would not provide enough incentive for those who were addicted to quit.

Richard Hirst, 34, on holiday in Mount Maunganui, said he would not be giving up his smoking habit today.

Mr Hirst said he has been smoking for about 20 years and had unsuccessfully tried to quit before.

The price hikes wouldn't stop him smoking, he said, although he supported the Government's efforts to stop people smoking.

"They don't motivate me, if anything they make me work harder so I can still afford it," Mr Hirst said.

The gruesome pictures on cigarette packets were a more effective deterrent, he said.

With tax increases planned for the next three years, today's price hike was part of the Government's effort to reduce the number of people addicted to nicotine.

Quitline staff expected thousands of calls for help in the next couple of weeks as smokers implemented New Year's resolutions, or began to feel the financial sting of the price rise.

The telephone service, which helps people give up their smoking addiction, received 8222 calls in January 2012 following a similar price rise, said Quitline chief executive Paula Snowden.

"People call Quitline for many reasons. It's fear of their own health and many worry about cancer and the effects of smoking on their family.

"A real trigger to call is the price increase. Many smokers will have been thinking and planning to quit smoking as a New Year's resolution," Ms Snowden said.

From today the cost of a popular packet of 20 cigarettes will rise from $14.40 to $16 and a packet of 25s will increase from $18 to around $20.

Caleb Swanson, from Whakatane, said he had called Quitline in the past but had not found the service helpful.

The 18-year-old said the cigarette price hike would definitely encourage some smokers to quit: "Not me though."

Research undertaken by Quitline showed 80 per cent of smokers would not smoke if they had their life over again and 70 per cent wanted to quit.

"A pack a day over one year will cost around $5840 [based on the new increases of $16 for a packet of 20].

"This is a lot of money that could be saved and could go towards the family, bills or special treats," Ms Snowden said. Anyone seeking support can call Quitline on 0800 778 778 or visit www.quit.org.nz.

- Bay of Plenty Times

Sort by
  • Oldest

© Copyright 2014, APN New Zealand Limited

Assembled by: (static) on production bpcf05 at 26 Oct 2014 15:56:52 Processing Time: 803ms