Taxation plus cessation support needed
Te Ara Haa Ora
New research has recently been released highlighting the impact of tobacco excise tax on smokers. While leading Maori tobacco control agency Te Ara Haa Ora applauds the release of any data on tobacco control, there is concern that tobacco excise at the current level is not increasing Maori quit rate as fast as it could. "Currently this level of tax is creating an inequality of smoker outcomes" says Zoe Hawke of Te Ara Haa Ora. "This highlights the fact that tax at the current rate won't do it and that more effort is needed in cessation support alongside increased tax of 12.5%" says Mrs Hawke. We want to celebrate more than a 10% decline in Maori smoking rates in the next census.
With figures showing six hundred Maori dying a year from tobacco related disease, Trevor Wilson CEO of Whakatū Marae, provider of Aukati Kaipaipa quit support in Nelson endorses Mrs Hawke's call. "To make a real dent in the numbers of smokers and to reach a smokefree 2025, the research is clear that we need to do all we can to support Maori" says Trevor. "At the higher level through tax regimes that will be effective for Maori and at the local level through greater support for those working on the ground to change smoking behaviour". Whakatu Marae alongside Te Awhina Marae in Motueka and Te Hauora o Ngati Rarua in Wairau are working towards the smokefree target for 2025.
Tobacco control agencies are pleased to see the authors have suggested an increase in the size of the tax increase to ensure it's effectiveness. "Combining a suite of measures including cessation support, nicotine replacement devices, unbranded packaging, smoke free cars alongside further 2014 tax increases will increase Maori quit rates and get us to 2025" says Mrs Hawke.