“With the series of annual cigarette tax hikes now complete, the Government needs to keep driving the country’s smokefree ambition and that includes not punishing the most effective smoking cessation tool New Zealand has – vaping,” said VTANZ spokesperson Ben Pryor.
“Price hikes have helped smoking rates to fall, but more so has the arrival of vaping. The next thing the Government should do to reduce smoking is to simply restrict the access Kiwis have to cigarettes, and that includes limiting the types and numbers of retail outlets permitted to sell them,” he added.
NZ’s tobacco tax is increased annually
Pryor’s comments came following an increase of over 11% in tobacco prices on New Year’s Day, pushing up a 25-pack of cigarettes to over $40. In New Zealand, tobacco tax is being increased annually, and a recent analysis has even indicated that local tobacco companies have been using used annual tax increases to cover significant voluntary price increases.
Ben Pryor thinks that taxing the products is not enough, and that limiting access to cigarettes should be the Government’s next move. “Making cigarettes less available should now be the primary goal of the Government, not restricting the access and appeal of vaping – a product that has so far helped tens of thousands of Kiwi smokers to successfully quit deadly tobacco,” he says.
The Smoke-free Environments (Vaping) Amendment Bill
In the coming months, Associate Health Minister Jenny Salesa is expected to introduce the long awaited Smoke-free Environments (Vaping) Amendment Bill into Parliament. The bill is expected to restrict marketing for vaping products and Salesa has indicated that a flavour ban is highly probable.
Meanwhile, in line with findings by countless studies, Prior’s business partner Jonathan Devery has previously pointed out that 90% of adults transitioning from smoking to vaping, rely on flavours to quit successfully.
“If the Government gets too tough on vaping for adult smokers, international examples show it will only result in smoking rates rising and a dangerous unregulated black market emerging,” added Pryor.
“The Government needs to keep squashing smoking, support the good work its own Ministry of Health is doing promoting vaping as a quit tool, as well as deliver pragmatic legislation in 2020 that will ensure more Kiwi smokers can successfully switch to vaping.”