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Tobacco Excise Bill passes all stages

Hon Peseta Sam Lotu-Iiga

Associate Minister of Health

27 May 2016

Tobacco Excise Bill passes all stages

The Associate Health Minister Peseta Sam Lotu-Iiga says the passing of a Bill to increase the tobacco excise will save lives and prevent young people taking up a deadly smoking habit.

The Customs and Excise (Tobacco Products-Budget Measures) Amendment Bill passed through all stages in Parliament today.

The Bill increases the excise tax on tobacco by 10 per cent per annum for the next four years, from 1 January 2017.

“Smoking is a relentless killer. But it is a deadly habit we can do something about. We need to use every measure to stop people smoking and deter others from starting. Increasing the price is the single most effective tool to do that,” Mr Lotu-Iiga says.

Smoking rates have dropped. 550,000 adult New Zealanders aged over 15 still smoke daily.

“Smoking remains one of the biggest causes of premature death in New Zealand,” Mr Lotu-Iiga says.

“Twelve people die each day from smoking related illness. 4,500 to 5,000 people die each year. That is like the entire population of a town like Foxton being wiped out by smoking,” Mr Lotu-Iiga says.

“About 85 per cent of people who die from lung cancer are smokers. They also die from heart disease; from stroke; from emphysema and from cancer of the mouth, pharynx and oesophagus. All because of smoking.”

Mr Lotu-Iiga says smoking related illness is a huge cost to the country as well as to individuals, their families and whanau.

“Increasing the excise on tobacco creates a strong incentive to quit and disincentives for those contemplating smoking, and in particular young people.”

“The price of a standard pack of 20 cigarettes will likely increase from around $20 now to around $32 in 2020.”

Mr Lotu-Iiga says the government has a range of packages aimed at reducing smoking rates such as Quitline, media campaigns and face to face support programmes.

“Together with increasing prices, these are effective at reducing smoking and saving lives in New Zealand,” Mr Lotu-Iiga says.


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