A 10 per cent tax hike on tobacco introduced today will help
more Kiwis escape a "creeping death", anti-smoking advocates
Quitline has had a surge in activity ahead of today's changes
with people desperate to quit to save money.
Tax increases in January 2012 and 2013 saw a 14.6 per cent
increase in cigarette prices and a significant impact on the
Today's hike is also expected to give many more smokers the
push they need.
"Smoking is expensive and it needs to be," Quitline chief
executive Paula Snowden said.
"The cost of tobacco is a big issue for people and when it
goes up it prompts hundreds of smokers to seek help to quit
... Smoking tobacco is a powerful addiction, a creeping death
that steals lives and robs families of health and
In 2013 a pack of 20 cigarettes cost between $14 and $18.40
and a 30g pouch of loose tobacco ranged from $29.90 to $35.90
How much retail prices soar this year will be decided by the
January is already a busy time for Quitline as people make
New Year's resolutions to quit and prices go up.
Quitline communications manager Sarah Woods said the number
of calls coming in quadrupled when the office reopened after
"People were talking about the price increase and the stress
involved and wanted to make sure they could order their
patches and lozenges in advance."
Health, family and money were the three main motivators when
smokers decided to quit, she said.
"It's more socially unacceptable since all the smoke free
policies came into effect. But there are still people who
live in lower socioeconomic areas where a lot of people still
The 2013 census showed the overall smoking rate dropped from
20.7 per cent in 2006 to 15.1 per cent last year.
Quitline has also launched a "scary" new advertising campaign
called "The Last Dance" which shows a dying man getting out
of bed to dance with his partner one last time as their child
It's hoped the ad will highlight the damage smoking can do to
a family, Ms Woods said.
Tax increases are part of the Government's plan to be
Smokefree by 2025, which will see smoking rates dropped below
5 per cent.
- Cassandra Mason of APNZ