Topic: Health

Tobacco tax increase forces long-time smoker to quit

By Maiki Sherman

The National Māori Tobacco Control Leadership Service is calling for a 20% tobacco tax increase.  The group put forward the proposal in its submission to the Government's Finance and Expenditure Select Committee.

Fed up with his money going up in smoke, George Jordan tried a cheaper option.

"Just finding out they were going to put it (cigarettes) up another $2 and it was going to cost me $180 instead of $140, so it's like that's just ridiculous!" he says.

Jordan tried a range of options, including growing tobacco plants, "What's more important? Buying cigarettes or buying food and clothes for our children?"

Increasing tobacco tax has certainly seen an increase in those going smoke-free.  Zoe Hawke was at Parliament today calling for that to continue.   

Hawke from Te Ara Hā Ora says, "Tax increases have played a part in ensuring less of us smoke, the next step we need is to increase tax increases so that more of our whānau quit."

The call is for a 20% tax increase.  The would mean an average packet of 20 taylor-made cigarets would go from $21.60 to $25.92. 

Hawke says, "I know that there are some concerns around the economic hardships that whānau might feel from tobacco increases but there's a whole lot of international and local research that is saying that if you carry on smoking you'll actually experience more financial and health negative consequences."

Syd Parata who works with those wanting to quit smoking agrees.

So even though the idea may be hard for some to take, it's a lot easier for others.