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Tobacco tax increase helped 93% more Kiwis to Quit

New research confirms latest tobacco tax increase helped 93% more New Zealanders to quit smoking

More New Zealanders have successfully given up smoking as a direct result of the April tobacco tax increase according to research released by New Zealand’s national smoking cessation support organisation, The Quit Group.

“The majority of smokers wish they had never begun smoking and our survey shows that an increase in tobacco prices provides the trigger some smokers need to begin their quitting journey,” says The Quit Group’s Chief Executive, Paula Snowden.

In May 2010, 4,000 callers registered with Quitline. This is almost double the number of callers compared to May 2009. The Quit Group’s research shows that 26% of callers had not tried to give up smoking in the previous 12 months. Over two thirds of survey respondents cited the tax increase as one of their reasons for quitting.

Of the 4,000 callers to Quitline, 975 were Māori and 230 were Pacific Peoples. “It is pleasing that Māori, among whom smoking rates are higher, in particular responded to the tax hike by giving us a call,” notes Paula Snowden.

As part of The Quit Group’s tobacco tax increase research, two surveys were carried out: the first from February to April 2010 and the second in May and June 2010. Clients were contacted three weeks after they registered with Quitline and asked questions including their motivation for quitting, use of Nicotine Replacement Therapy (ie. Patches, gum or lozenges) and whether they were smokefree.

Paula Snowden continues, “The April tobacco tax increase is to be followed by a 10% increase in January 2011 taking the average price for a packet of 25 cigarettes to over $15. This is a big hit to peoples’ wallets and could quickly amount to the equivalent of a tank of petrol in a week, or even a week’s rent over a month. A further 10% in January 2012 will keep the pressure on.

“To assist smokers when this next tax increase occurs, we will be open for business on New Year’s Day. January is always peak season for us and with the tax increase, a new advertising campaign and New Year’s resolutions we expect to be very busy!

“We know that those who use support and the patches, gum or lozenges are five-times more likely to succeed. Smokers who want to quit don’t need to do it alone!

“If someone is serious about breaking the habit, they can contact us for immediate support and a long-term quitting strategy as well as subsidised patches, gum or lozenges to help manage the cravings.”

Anyone seeking support can call the Quitline for free on 0800 778 778 or visit for online support, the online blog community and to register for Txt2Quit, a free text-based service. Quitline can also put callers who request face-to-face support in contact with relevant service providers.


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