25 May 2012

Cigarette tax 'another stress' for Maori families

6:27 am on 25 May 2012

The director of a Maori anti-tobacco organisation says a big increase in cigarette prices will stress out already stretched families.

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.

Of the Maori population aged between 15 and 64 years of age, 45% currently smoke.

Te Ao Hurihuri director Shane Bradbrook says the extra cost may put too much pressure on low income families.

However, he also says that pressure may help to push people into quitting.

The Government also allocated $20 million in the Budget to a new fund, Pathway to Smoke-Free 2025, which will fund programmes to help people quit.