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Car smoking ban kicks can down the road on real solutions

The New Zealand Taxpayers’ Union is not fooled by today’s band-aid announcement banning smoking in cars with kids in them, and is challenging the Government to use the law change to reform the restrictions that currently apply to reduced harm tobacco products which are the most effective pathway to encourage smokers to give up the smoking habits.

Taxpayers’ Union spokesman Jordan Williams says, “This is a common sense law change, but yet again shows the Government is kicking the can down the road in terms of reform to get New Zealand to a smoke-free status. Currently the law applicable to reduced risk products is exactly the same as applies to smokes. That means the relative benefits cannot be marketed or explained to smokers to encourage the switch.”

“The real problem is that politicians are addicted to the revenue they collects from smoking taxes. Ministers make announcements to tinker around the edges and cry crocodile tears, but sit on their hands and refuse to follow Britain and the Nordic countries which have shown that deregulation of reduced harm products like heated tobacco, snus, and vaping, is the way to cut smoking rates.”

The Taxpayers’ Union's most recent report, Ka Tukuna Atu, Ka Tukuna Mai, was published last week. Its key findings are:

1) The Government annually takes $120 million more from Māori via tobacco excise than it gives in Treaty Settlements and Māori Development funding.

2) When calculated as a proportion of income, New Zealand charges smokers the most punitive tobacco tax rate in the developed world.

3) There is increasing evidence to suggest that smokeless tobacco products like snus and heat-not-burn are far less harmful than cigarettes, and encourage people to quit smoking. Excise tax rates on these products should be weighted to reflect risks.

The report is available at: www.taxpayers.org.nz/ka_tukuna_atu



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