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Northland smokers told: “Beat the Price Increase!”

Media Release
21 December 2016
Bridget Rowse - Smokefree Advisor, Northland DHB

Northland smokers told: “Beat the Price Increase!”

Every year thousands of kiwis escape their working lives for a few weeks for a summer holiday – epitomised by journeys to the beach, families and feasting, and of course the timehonored tradition of New Year’s resolutions. Giving up smoking is consistently at the top of the list for New Year’s resolutions.

From 1 January 2017, the price of cigarettes and loose tobacco will go up another 10% as another scheduled tobacco tax increases takes effect.

Bridget Rowse, Northland DHB Smokefree Advisor is urging smokers to beat the price increase and consider quitting this summer.

“We’re encouraging everyone to make giving up smoking their resolution this New Year. It’s a great opportunity to begin that journey to a smokefree life,” says Bridget.

"We are trying to put a stop to whanau dying needlessly from smoking-related diseases.

More and more people are quitting and we are seeing more outdoor public spaces become smokefree. It used to be very social and now it's not. Kiwis didn't want smoking in their country anymore.”

Bridget says, “The cost of smoking maybe going up, but the cost of quitting hasn’t changed.”

An 8-week supply of Nicotine patches, gum and lozenges costs as little as $5 – and just by using the patches, gum or lozenges you will double your chance of quitting for good.

Nicotine patches, gum and lozenges are safe, and contain only a minimal amount of nicotine, and come packaged without any of the 4,000 chemicals (many of which are harmful) found in cigarettes.

Tax on tobacco will continue to rise by 10 per cent on January 1 each year for the next four years as part of the Government 2016 Budget announcement.

"We know that most smokers would love to quit. Increasing tobacco tax is one of the best ways to reduce smoking.”

Previous Tobacco tax increases have reduced tobacco consumption per capita by around a quarter and prompted thousands of smokers to quit.

“Some people may feel targeted, but the tax hikes send a "clear and consistent" message that, in the long-run, New Zealand was committed to drastically bringing down smoking rates,” continues Bridget.

Tax hikes are part of a number of measures designed to move New Zealand towards The Government's goal of a smoke-free New Zealand by 202 – reducing smoking prevalence to less than 5 per cent of the total population.

2013 Census data shows more than 19,986 people in Northland aged 15-years and over smoke regularly (19.1%) compared to 15% nationally.1 To get help to stop smoking, talk to your Doctor, midwife, Maori health provider or call Quitline on 0800 778 778.

- Ends –

1 http://www.stats.govt.nz/Census/2013-census/data-tables/total-by-topic.aspx

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