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Cigarette Tax and Plain Packaging could be “hit and miss”

Taxes on cigarettes in New Zealand will likely increase, with a rise in price of around $10 per year.

Cigarette packaging will now be plain, with boxes and packets set to feature more health warnings and remove all advertising.

Destined to be a massive sucker-punch to big tobacco companies, this is a clear move to get cigarettes out of the hands of young people in particular and it will be a good aid to the already decreasing rate of young smokers.

In order to be effective, the announcement that cigarette boxes will now be available in plain packaging was easy to expect, but last weeks announcement of a tax increase certainly wasn’t. With a tax increase, prices for cigarettes off the shelf will likely rise, but wether this will make New Zealand “completely” smoke free remains to be seen, and in fact, it could still be a long shot hope for the Government. 

All branding will be removed from cigarette packaging, with up to 75% of future packets set to feature health warnings on both the front and back.

Political journalist Duncan Garner claimed that the Government’s move will see “the beginning of the end” for big tobacco companies, and like was the case in Australia, the New Zealand Government would win in court should the big companies choose to sue.

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One commentator said that increasing the tax on cigarettes is racist, a claim that Maori Party co-founder Dame Tariana Turia strongly disagreed, saying that she believed the policy is the best way for the New Zealand Government to help save the lives of over 5000 people who die from smoking cigarettes.

The real loser in all of this is clearly big tobacco companies, all of whom are set to lose millions in the NZ Market.

One question that is yet to be asked is the one of illegally purchased and consumed marijuana. Could this move by the Government increase that activity?

 

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