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Can we have more tax please?

Can we have more tax please?

“Continuing tobacco tax is the single best thing we can do for health.” Emeritus Professor Robert Beaglehole

Tobacco taxes play an important role in cutting smoking rates in New Zealand. Since 2010 taxes on tobacco products have risen 10% every year with an overall average drop in cigarette sales of 23%.

With the last scheduled rise in tobacco tax approaching quickly, Stephanie Erick, director for Action on Smoking and Health (ASH) New Zealand, agrees with other tobacco control experts. “Tobacco taxes are working for New Zealand, but they end next year” she says. “So we need to continue with taxes – at 20% per year.”

Research shows that continuing tax increases would have multiple benefits to New Zealanders, including health gains, net-cost savings for the health system, and improving fairness between Māori and non-Māori.

Youth and young adults are particularly sensitive to price. If tobacco prices increase, this group is most likely to reduce their consumption. The ASH year 10 surveys reflect this as they show a drop in smoking prevalence among 14-15 year olds.

An American expert on the economics of tobacco control is visiting New Zealand on the 9th of October to support the tobacco control sector’s appeal for excise to be increased and extended beyond January 2016.

Professor Frank Chaloupka from the University of Illinois will join a group of leading tobacco control experts who are urging the government to review its decision not to extend increases in excise tax beyond 2016.

More information on tobacco tax in New Zealand is available from the ASH website: http://www.ash.org.nz/our-current-campaigns/tobacco-tax/

ASH New Zealand is a registered charity that produces and collects sound evidence to enable policy makers and communities to contribute to a Smokefree Aotearoa New Zealand by 2025.


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