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More Tar, More Tax: Reduced-nicotine Proposal Will Make People Smoke More

The Government’s proposal to reduce nicotine in cigarettes by up to 95 percent is a dangerous intervention that will make people smoke more cigarettes, says the New Zealand Taxpayers’ Union.

Union spokesman Louis Houlbrooke says, “Nicotine doesn't kill, cigarettes do. If you lower the nicotine, you'll increase the number of cigarettes smoked to achieve the same buzz. The only possible way this policy makes sense is if the goal is to increase cigarette sales and government revenue.”

“Even the academic touting the policy on the AM Show this morning conceded that the immediate effect will be more intensive smoking. That is alarming.”

“This policy has the same flawed logic as the ongoing hikes in excise tax: proponents make a song and dance about the handful of smokers who might quit on the margin, while ignoring the increased harm to the majority who continue to smoke.”

“The full suite of proposals announced today will serve to ignite an already-booming black market in foreign packs. Do we really want to tie up more Police and Customs resources dealing with a tidal wave of smuggled Chinese durries?”

“The Government should stick to the existing, successful strategy of switching smokers to vaping. But of course, that doesn’t boost government coffers.”

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