25 Jun 2012

Heavier taxation of cigarettes demanded

12:00 pm on 25 June 2012

Health groups are demanding bigger tax increases on cigarettes as well as getting rid of duty free tobacco products.

Submissions on a Bill which will raise the tobacco tax by 10% per year for the next four years closed on Friday.

Increases of 10% included in the Budget mean by 2016, a pack of 20 cigarettes will cost more than $20.

But groups including the College of Physicians, the College of Nurses Aotearoa and the Maori Medical Practitioners Association say the increases are not enough to deter people from smoking.

They say smokers adjust to smaller tax rises and they want a 40% tax increase on tobacco products in 2013, followed by three successive 20% increases from 2014.

They are also calling for duty free tobacco products to be scrapped.

The Bill is due to be reported back to Parliament towards the end of September.