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Slashed duty-free allowances increase incentives to quit

Slashed duty-free allowances increase incentives to quit smoking

The Government’s decision to slash the duty-free allowance on cigarettes will remove an avenue of cheaper smoking and result in greater incentives to quit, the Smokefree Coalition says.

“Duty-free cigarettes can be bought at nearly half the standard retail price. Reducing the allowance of duty-free cigarettes means travellers will no longer be encouraged to buy cigarettes in larger quantities than usual or supply cheap tobacco for friends and family,” said Smokefree Coalition Director Dr Prudence Stone.

“Up to 5 percent of tobacco consumed in New Zealand is purchased duty-free and this has caused a loss of between 60 and 80 million dollars each year in tax revenue – a burden ordinary taxpayers have to carry.

“The Smokefree Coalition originally called for the duty-free cigarette allowance to be cut to 50 in 2012, so we’re happy to have achieved this milestone, taking us even closer to a Smokefree Aotearoa by 2025,” Dr Stone said.

The announcement that allowances are to be slashed from 200 cigarettes to just 50 was made yesterday by Associate Health Minister Tariana Turia, who said the new allowances would come into effect from 1 November 2014.

The change aligns New Zealand’s limit with Australia’s, but is still far from Hong Kong’s allowance of just 19 cigarettes.

ENDS

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