With the price of cigarettes set to go up again on New Year's
Day, a new survey will look at how smokers are planning to
cope with the hikes.
Researchers from the University of Canterbury will be
interviewing smokers on their habits now, compared with what
they will do next year - and in the years after that, as
prices continue to increase.
Postgraduate psychology student Aimee Richardson will be
analysing survey results from Auckland, Wellington,
Christchurch, Dunedin and on the internet to complete the
Researchers hope to interview 110 participants in each
Ms Richardson's supervisor, Professor Randolph Grace, said he
believed it was the first study to look at the relationship
between price and cigarette consumption.
"From an economic perspective, we're trying to determine the
demand curve, which can be useful for policy-makers."
He said two surveys, done before and after the price rise,
would see whether or not participants' cigarette purchases
actually changed in accordance with their initial response.
The study would also look at electronic cigarettes as an
alternative that would deliver "a small amount of nicotine
without all the other harmful substances," Professor Grace
The research team will ask the participants to try an
electronic cigarette and then ask them questions about how
many regular cigarettes they would buy if they were cheaper
than regular cigarettes and widely available, Professor Grace
"If we find the e-cigarettes are highly substitutable, that
would suggest an effective direction for the Government."
The survey results will be available later next year, with
the preliminary results to be presented to an international
research meeting in Boston in March and to the Government by
"[Richardson's] answers could affect how much government
taxes cigarettes in future and whether sales of nicotine
electronic cigarettes should be permitted," Professor Grace
The research is being funded by Christchurch-based End
Smoking NZ Trust, with a grant from the Canterbury Community
Trust and the University of Canterbury.
- Herald Online