Students grow tobacco after price hikes

By Kim Laubscher, Tom Eley, Mackenzie Mccarty, Lisa Kire

Students are growing their own tobacco in the face of cigarette price hikes.

Today is World Smokefree Day and to mark the occasion, Wintec journalism students scoured smokers' favourite haunts - off campus - to ask whether price rises announced in last week's Budget would force them to kick the habit.

Chris McKenzie, 27, said he expected a greater number of people would go "underground" and grow their own tobacco once the new price increases came into force early next year.

"There are already students in our classes who [grow their own]."

He also thought that if the government was going to raise the price of tobacco, then it should also raise the price of alcohol because more people drank alcohol than smoked cigarettes.

Another student, who did not want to be named, said his friends were already growing their own tobacco and more would probably follow.

Wintec student, James Soanes, said that he wasn't aware the price of tobacco was about to go up. He had been smoking since he was 17 and had trouble going a day without a cigarette.

"It depends on stress to do with assignments. I can't go a day without smoking," he said.Elliot Hopkins, a 19 year-old Media  Arts student, said he gave up smoking recently so the ten per cent rise rise wouldn't affect him. He believed the price rise wouldn't influence heavy smokers.

"People that are addicted will buy them anyway. It just makes it more of a hassle."

Meghann Rawling, 18, who is studying Early Childhood Education at Wintec and who is a roll-your-own smoker, said she had little interest in a smoke-free day.

"The rise of cigarette prices is ridiculous and I will not be able to afford to do anything."

Courtney Nelson, 19, who also studies Early Childhood Education, thought the price increase was 'stupid and excessive' and it would not stop her from smoking.

"It will just make me more broke. I did not mind the price increase the first time but it is just way too much this time."

Cresta Wilson, 20, a Wintec student studying Te Whiuwhiu o Te Hau, was also unaware that 'Smokefree Day' was today.

She prefers roll-your-owns because of affordability.

"I probably won't stop, but when the prices go up I'll try. Heaps of people will probably give up."

Kyle Sehnert, 20, a returning Psychology student, was also unaware of 'Smokefree Day'. He believed the latest price increase would mean more smokers quit.

"It is both inconvenient and understandable," he said.

Corrina Walters, 24, is a Te Whiuwhiu student and has been smoking for ten years. She also smokes roll-your-owns because it is all she can afford. She believed the price increases meant people would have to rework their budgets.

"In my opinion 'Smokefree Day' is just another day for the world to stigmatise and be prejudiced towards smokers," she said. "I think more people will turn to crime so they can get the money to afford it." She had no plans to give up even if the prices rose further.

Liza Kire, 26, a Wintec Journalism student, believed that she was being punished because of a personal choice.

"It is really annoying because I feel like I can no longer support my habit and the price increase will be the only reason I quit,"  she said. "If we have a smoke free day why can we not have a national alcohol free days as well?"



- Hamilton News

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