ACT wants 75% cut in tobacco tax

Tobacco tax will be hiked another 10 percent today, in a long-running bid to make New Zealand smoke-free by 2020.

Quitline chief executive Andrew Slater says people are more likely to quit because of family or health, rather than cost, which comes in fourth. He's still expecting New Year's Day to be one of Quitline's busiest.

ACT leader David Seymour says the Government should try different approaches, "In a free market you have lots of new products that make it safer to ingest nicotine”.

Mr Seymour says the tax should have a set level of the additional healthcare costs smokers require - much less than the $3800 he says the average smoker currently pays. "I'd like to see tobacco taxes set at a level of additional health care smokers require. That level of tax would probably be a quarter of what it is now… One in 10 lower income households are going without the basics in order to buy tobacco."


Cahn McKenzie