Tax Hikes Break Smoking Habit

March 2, 2012 New Zealand Taxation

Tax Hike Stop Teenagers SmokingThe number of young smokers in New Zealand is falling to an all time low, as increasing tobacco taxes push cigarettes out of the reach of teenagers.

The latest research conducted by Action on Smoking and Health (ASH) and released on March 2nd, indicates that the number of 14 to 15 year olds in New Zealand who smoke daily fell to 4.1 percent in 2011, compared to 5.5 percent in 2010. Approximately 8.2 percent of respondents claimed to be regular smokers, down 1.8 percent from the number of regular smokers indicated in the results of the same survey conducted in 2010.

The director of ASH Ben Youdan said that the significant drop in smoking rates amongst young New Zealnders is due to the recent price increases of tobacco products because of hikes in excise duties. He explained that taxes on tobacco products have gone up by approximately 30 percent in the last two and a half years, which has been one of the major driving factors behind smokers quitting or young people never smoking at all.

The Associate Health Minister and Maori Party co-leader Tariana Turia also commented on the results of the survey, saying that she is delighted with the current situation outlined in the report. She referred to the government’s actions to fight smoking, saying “ …it is an absolute success, one that I am proud to have worked towards.”

Photo by Hervé Corcia

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