Rising smoke prices urge New Zealanders to stub out habit

By Leah Te Whata

New Zealanders are gearing up for a 10% tobacco tax increase, which comes into effect on New Years Day. National quit smoking service Quitline says they are expecting an influx of callers hoping to kick their smoking habit.

Te Kāea interviewed Aucklanders about the hike in prices.

"I can't afford it it's too expensive, it's $22 a packet of cigarettes at the moment, I smoke about 5 packets a week, that's nearly $160 a week."

A reformed smoker agrees with the new year price rises and says smoking should be banned altogether.

"The only way it's gonna work is if the government ban it, completely, no more sales."

Others say that a 10% tax increase should be matched by the government with an increase in funding towards smoke-free initiatives.

"I'd be interested to see as they increase the price of the cigarettes that we are seeing that money going towards smoke-free awareness and options for quitting smoking."

This year, the top five reasons people contacting Quitline wanting to quit smoking were physical health, family and themselves. With money and children also being motivations to give up.

The average packet of smokes will sit at around $30 with new prices coming in to effect tomorrow.