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Government is choosing high tax revenue over saving lives

Absurd packaging rules show Government is choosing high tax revenue over saving lives by misleading smokers on less harmful alternatives

10 AUGUST 2018

Smoke-free alternatives to cigarettes are set to be sold in cigarette-style warning packaging, deterring smokers from switching to less harmful products (that generate less tax revenue for the government).

New Zealand Taxpayers’ Union Executive Director Jordan Williams says, “The Government is slapping misleading graphic health labels, applicable to traditional smokes, on smokefree products that don’t combust or produce smoke and are therefore significantly less harmful than cigarettes.”

“This sort of misleading of consumers actually serves to harm New Zealand’s progress to the smoke-free 2025 goal. It reduces the likelihood that people will switch to the less harmful alternatives like ‘heats’ and snus.

“Considering these products don’t expose users to the harmful compounds in cigarette smoke, applying cigarette packaging to the new products runs completely counter to public health goals and the Government’s Smokefree 2025 goal.”

“The only explanation for these packaging rules applying to smokefree products is the determination of some politicians to protect tax revenue streams. They cry crocodile tears and say they need to hike tobacco taxes to ‘save lives’, yet here they are pulling out all the stops to prevent smokers from receiving accurate information about safer alternatives.”

“If all smokers switched to alternative products like e-cigarettes, heated tobacco, or snus, the Government would lose up to $2 billion in cigarette excise tax revenue. It appears to prefer money over the lives these products would save if regulated appropriately.”

Sensible regulation and promotion of safer alternatives to smoking represents New Zealand’s largest opportunity to both save lives and cut taxes. More information on the Taxpayers’ Union campaign is available at www.cleartheair.nz.


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