Call For 20% Tobacco Tax Increase

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 today.

General-Manager Zoe Hawke says she knows there are some concerns around economic hardships, but the focus is on preventing future generations of Māori from becoming addicted.

This year, is the last year for the Governments four year commitment to annual 10% tobacco tax increases.

Zoe Hawke says a 10% drop in smoking statistics in the last census can be partly attributed to that.

Boyd Broughton from ASH (Action on Smoking and Health) says he’s hoping the possible 20% tax increase will incentivise lower income smokers to quit smoking and think about their finances.

However, he says if they don't quit and continue to smoke, the increase will be more detrimental. Maiki Sherman will have more on this story tonight, Te Kaea 5.30pm.