May 30, 2016
Tobacco price rise bash bash bash
A Maori public health researcher says increased taxes on tobacco aren't helping to reduce Maori smoking, and the strategy needs a rethink.
The Budget resumed regular annual 10 percent rises in the excise tax, with Finance Minister Bill English crediting advocacy from the Maori Party for the decision.
Marewa Glover says politicians have been misinformed by academics who are making selective data in their bid for a smoke free country.
She says the reality is Maori and Pacific smoking rates have stayed the same for nine years, despite regular price increases which are putting an increasing burden on family budgets.
"I think our people are trying to quit but they are not able to sustain that because of the day to day trauma and stress in their lives. This is just one more bash bash bash," Dr Glover says.
While overall smoking rates have fallen, the problem is now concentrated among marginal groups like Maori women, so different strategies are needed.
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