2 Jan 2011

Increased cigarette tax 'good reason to give up'

1:32 pm on 2 January 2011

The group that runs the Quitline service for smokers says an increased tax on cigarettes is an incentive for people to stop.

The price of cigarettes went up by 10% on 1 January and now cost as much as $16 for a packet of 20. A pouch of tobacco rises to $27.

The price rise is part of a 30% increase in tobacco excise over two years.

Quit Group chief executive Paula Snowden says Quitline predicted that 140 people would ring the service on New Year's Day, but it instead received 176 calls.

It was the first Saturday that telephone service has been open.

Ms Snowden attributes the number of calls to the tax increase and the fact that giving up smoking is a common New Year's resolution.

While some people say they will smoke no matter how much cigarettes cost, the reality is that many of those who call Quitline are sick of spending money on smoking, she says.