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Warning for Govt: don’t tax cigarette alternatives

11 MAY 2018

The Taxpayers Union welcomes the latest New Zealand Initiative report Smoke and Vapour: the changing world of tobacco harm reduction, and endorses the report’s view [Chapter 5.5] that politicians should not apply tax to new nicotine products. This move is likely to be considered during the current review of tobacco policies.

Taxpayers’ Union spokesman Louis Houlbrooke says, “As smokers switch to safer alternatives, the Government will look to plug a hole in the $1.8 billion of tax revenue currently generated by smokers.”

“The Government must resist any temptation to apply excise taxes to vape liquid, or even tobacco-containing products like HEETS or snus. This would only reduce the incentive for smokers to make healthier choices, and perpetuate a major cause of financial harm for some of the poorest New Zealanders.”

“Some lost tax revenue is a small price to pay for thousands of lives saved by these technologies.”

“Other forms of overregulation could also work against health goals. For example, restrictive rules on the use of these products in workplaces and public spaces could reduce the attractiveness of switching from cigarettes.”

“And the benefits of new products should not be hidden from the public – tobacco-style advertising regulations are likely to do more harm than good.”

ENDS


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