29 May 2014

SPC urges tax hikes on tobacco to save lives

7:31 pm on 29 May 2014

The Secretariat of the Pacific Community says it wants governments to reduce the number of deaths from cigarette smoking by putting up taxes.

The SPC's non communicable disease adviser, Jeanie McKenzie, says tobacco smoking contributes to the deaths of six million people globally every year.

She says increasing the price of cigarettes reduces consumption, improves health, sustains quitting and deters young people from starting smoking.

"In fact we know that if we just put up the price by ten per cent, we can be expected to reduce demand by between four to five per cent of cigarettes. So it really is an extremely effective strategy."

Jeanie McKenzie says there is huge variability in the price of cigarettes throughout the Pacific.