May 31, 2019
Further pain for smokers in Budget
Tobacco control researcher Marewa Glover is questioning the effectiveness of continuing to raise the excise duty on tobacco.
Budget 2019 forecasts another 10 percent rise in tobacco tax at the start of 2020, continuing a series of annual increases that began in 2010 and have since almost tripled the cost of a single cigarette to around $1.50.
Dr Glover, the director of the Centre of Research Excellence: Indigenous Sovereignty & Smoking, believes the increases have disproportionately impacted Māori.
Māori already spend more than $1 billion on tobacco every year, including excise and GST, when it’s clear current stop smoking initiatives don’t work for them.
She wants to see more access to risk-reduced alternatives such as vaping and heat-not-burn products, which are more effective than patches and gum at helping people to stop smoking.
The Lung Foundation is also disappointed with the tax increase because none of the funds raised will be earmarked for disease prevention.
Chief executive Philip Hope says high tobacco prices can act as a disincentive, but to be effective these need to be matched with investment in harm reduction.
Today is World Smokefree Day.
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