29 Dec 2017

Rising tobacco tax likely to curb habit - Quitline

3:44 pm on 29 December 2017

Quitline is preparing for an influx of calls next week, with people making new year's resolutions to stop smoking and the price of tobacco rising by ten percent.

Stock photo

Stock photo Photo: 123RF

The price hike will be the second of four consecutive 10-percent rises coming into force on 1 January every year until 2020.

Quitline chief executive Andrew Slater said that meant a pack of 20 cigarettes would in 2018 cost about $27 to $30 dollars.

Roughly 15-percent of adult New Zealanders are estimated to smoke daily, but Mr Slater said it was likely more people would stop smoking because of the price rise.

"Increasing tobacco excise tax is internationally recognised as an extremely effective measure to reduce tobacco related harm and encourage people to become smokefree," he said.

Andrew Slater said Quitline expected calls to its help line would double over the New Year period.

"So normally we'd get around 150 calls a day, however that does increase to around 250-400 [calls] per day on that first week of the year," he said.

Mr Slater said staff numbers would be bolstered to deal with the increase.

"[It's] Quitline's busiest week of the year and we'll have extra team members onboard to help New Zealanders become smokefree in 2018. "

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