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Tax to blame for growing tobacco black market

Tobacco tax is fuelling a growing black market, says the New Zealand Taxpayers’ Union in light of a new KPMG study that finds 10% of all cigarettes smoked in New Zealand are sourced from the black market.

Taxpayers’ Union Executive Director Jordan Williams says, “The fact one in every ten cigarettes is now bought from the black market is seriously alarming. These cigarettes, generally smuggled from overseas, do not meet the same standards as legal products and fund organised crime.”

“Tobacco tax is the cause of this enormous black market. New Zealand’s punitive tobacco tax is driving addicted smokers to seek out more affordable options."

“Associate Minister of Health Jenny Salesa, who is currently reviewing tobacco regulations, must consider how excise tax is fuelling robberies and smuggling. Hiking tobacco tax any further would be a dangerous mistake. Fortunately, the Minister has other policy options. For starters, making it easier for smokers to learn about and access affordable alternatives such as e-cigarettes will cut smoking rates, improve health outcomes, and reduce the temptation of the black market.”

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