30 May 2012

Maori will be hit hard by excise tax

6:56 pm on 30 May 2012

The director of a Maori anti-tobacco organisation is encouraged by an increase in tobacco excise tax as billed in last week's Budget.

For the next four years tax on tobacco will increase by 10% a year - from next January.

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

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

Te Ao Hurihuri director Shane Bradbrook says the measures are a good step forward.

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