24 May 2012

Tobacco taxes to increase 10% for next four years

3:33 pm on 24 May 2012

Tobacco excise taxes are to rise by 10% a year for the next four years.

Associate Health Minister Tariana Turia says this is in addition to the annual inflation-indexed increases in tobacco excise and follows a 40% increase in tax since April 2010.

Tariana Turia says for every tax rise, tobacco consumption falls.

Tariana Turia says for every tax rise, tobacco consumption falls. Photo: MAORI PARTY

Mrs Turia says the Government will increase the price of an average pack of 20 cigarettes to more than $20 by 2016.

The 2012 Budget also provides $20 million over the next four years for a new innovation fund - Pathway to Smoke-Free 2025 - for programmes to discourage young people in particular from taking up smoking and to help people quit.

This is to help create smoke-fee environments by investing in the design, development and promotion of innovative efforts to reduce harm from tobacco.

The first increase in the tobacco excise will take place on 1 January 2013, following annual increases on 1 January for a further three years.

Tariana Turia says the new tax increases will have a major effect in addition to earlier increases.

Mrs Turia says for every 10% rise in price, tobacco consumption falls by about 5%.

She admits the 2025 target is ambitious, but existing policies have New Zealand well on the way and will continue.