24 May 2012

Excise tax will hit Maori hard

7:03 pm on 24 May 2012

Maori will be hit hard by a sharp increase in tobacco excise tax, announced in Thursday's Budget.

For the next four years excise tax will increase by 10% a year, beginning 1 January.

The increase will mean an average pack of 20 cigarettes will cost more than $20 by 2016.

Centre for Tobacco Control Research director, Dr Marewa Glover, says Maori will find that difficult, as currently 45% of Maori smoke.

The Government has also allocated $20 million to a new fund, Pathway to Smoke-Free 2025.

Dr Glover says that fund will help to reach groups not currently responding to current quit initiatives, such as Maori.

The Government expects the tax increases to raise $528 million over four years.