Amy is the head of news for the Bay of Plenty Times.

Editorial: Ciggie price fails to deter

2 comments
Photo / Gerard Johnston
Photo / Gerard Johnston

I hate everything about smoking. It's a waste of money for a start.

Not only that but you are spending it on something which seriously damages your health and could even kill you.

And it's addictive - once you start it's hard to stop.

On top of that, I can't stand the smell of it.

As taxpayers we also fork out for all the medical costs associated with treating people who become sick because they choose to smoke.

I'm all for anything that encourages people to give up the habit and I'd love to see the country become smoke-free.

In principle I support the Government's Budget day announcement to increase the tax on tobacco by 10 per cent each year.

In theory it should encourage people to stop smoking.

It will also help pay the medical costs associated with treating smokers and pay for programmes to help people quit and prevent young people from starting.

While I'd like to think the increasing cost will encourage people to quit smoking, or at least cut down, I fear many will not.

New Zealand First MP Fletcher Tabuteau described the increases as a tax on the poor.

It could well end up being just that. For those who can afford to smoke already, a tax hike will probably not make a huge difference.

But, for those who already struggle to pay for their habit it could mean sacrificing food or other essentials.

That's the sad reality.

It's not the smokers I worry about - if they would rather smoke than eat, that's their decision - it's the children who don't have that choice.

We need other initiatives working alongside the tax increase for it to make a noticeable difference.

Even then, anti-smoking ad campaigns and services like Quitline do help but in the end people have to want to stop smoking. Everyone already knows smoking is bad for you - but many do it anyway.

I have no sympathy for those who moan about the increasing cost but all that said, upping the cost is no quick fix.

More thought needs to be put in to figuring out how to get more people to give up the habit.

- Bay of Plenty Times

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