5 Dollars for one Cigarette, New Zealand Considers

New Zealand’s government is considering $100-a-pack cigarettes as part of its tough program to stamp out smoking by 2025, internal documents say.

cigarette constituantsThe idea of charging $5 a cigarette is the most radical of several ideas floated in a Ministry of Health discussion paper obtained through a freedom of information request by the 3 News television network.

“Whatever it takes” is the reaction to the idea from New Zealand’s associate health minister Tariana Turia, when questioned by 3 News.

Prime Minister John Key was more skeptical, saying he feared the consequences in black market sales of cigarettes.

Cynthia Callard, executive director of Physicians for a Smoke-Free Canada, is equally skeptical.

“It’s a good conversation point. I doubt it would be a good policy. Taxation is not my favourite tool. It puts the blame on the smoker as opposed to the tobacco companies and I would be concerned about the burden on household incomes.”

Callard praised New Zealand overall campaign, which includes the also-controversial switch to plain packaging.

The New Zealand government cabinet has agreed in principle to follow Australia’s lead and package all cigarettes in similar boxes that are essentially health warnings rather than brand names.

The U.S. Chamber of Commerce has protested New Zealand’s move as trademark infringement. The government of Australia faces legal challenges on three levels to its plain packaging law, which comes into effect in December.

“The chambers of commerce were recruited by the tobacco companies to represent their interests,” said Callard. “That position has not been supported by any international agencies who have death with intellectual property rights.”

New Zealand and Australia have “a level of public support and political engagement” to be in the vanguard of tobacco control, a position Canada used to have but has eroded, she said.

New, stronger health warnings on cigarettes packs, soon to be implemented, have taken eight years to bring about, she said.

The March 29 federal budget also cut $15 million from the government’s tobacco control strategies, she said.

Callard is confident Australia can win against the tobacco companies’ challenge to its plain packaging law, the first in the world.

“The Australian government is very aggressive, they know their stuff. They don’t take risks when they’re not on a good footing.”



4 comments to 5 Dollars for one Cigarette, New Zealand Considers

  • henkeboys

    I bet the crime "robbery" will skyrocket when all the addicted kids are gonna have to start robbing people to be able to afford their drug. Nicotine is the worst of the drugs. It's easier to climb off a GHB-addiction than a nicotine addiction.  I feel sorry for all the innocent people in austrailia that are gonna get to bear the flashback from this new strategy of the govt.. 😉

  • Today all of the cigarette company writing a stronger health warnings on cigarettes packs. But, we don't follow this writing. That is very bad effective for us. But the consequences in black market sales of cigarettes can be give us some knowledge able concept about the smoking.

  • IcanSee

    Pricing cigarettes beyond the reach of the elderly, low income and young smokers, way to go to discourage
    smoking is it?
    On the bright side upping the price will quickly collect the money for taxes and manufacturers, a stockpiling of money for the lean days when the pawns no longer smoke.
    What a bunch of bs, if you want people to cease smoking, cease production, if this seems over simplified,
    it because It is as it is simple to bring cig packs to 100 & dollars!

    @Electronic – the messages mean little as negative reinforcements DO NOT work & never have or will, we
    all know it's bad for us we're not stupid just a addicted to the nicotine and chemicals they pour into tobacco.

  • ICU2

    Of course they will never consider charging a tax of 100 times the product value on polluting luxury items which only the rich can afford, such as a private jet, a yacht or a limousine. Furthermore, despite the politicians claims that they honestly want to reduce the unhealthy effects of cigarette smoking, the one thing we never see is a law that requires the disclosure of all foreign chemicals which are added to the tobacco by commercial cigarette manufacturers. Also, why are they not taxing plastic bottles which leech toxic chemicals into the products they contain? Why do they not require all manufactured foods to use standard size square bottles that reduce pollution by reducing the space that products take up on trucks? Does anyone really believe that politicians are sincere about their motivations?

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