AUCKLAND, NEW ZEALAND - In an effort to make the country smoke-free by 2025, New Zealand officials have been studying implementing huge tax increases on cigarettes, with one model using a $100-per-pack scenario as ridding the country of tobacco by 2025, 3 News reports.
Confidential documents containing the plan were obtained pursuant to the Official Information Act and show a government effort to make the country smoke-free in just 13 years.
"Tax is about the most effective measure of reducing smoking and encouraging smokers to quit that we've got," said professor Richard Edwards of the Department of Public Health at University of Otago, in assessing the hefty price increase proposals. "It is the first government in the world [considering such strict measures]€¦this is leading edge stuff."
One model shows that if the price of cigarettes were increased to $40 a pack by 2025, the country would fall short of its smoke-free goal. A second model shows that taxing cigarette packs at $100 each by 2020 would enable attainment of the 2025 target. The most likely model shows a "shock" tax increase next year, with a packet of cigarettes costing around $60 by 2025.
The Ministry of Health responding to the document leak, emphasizing that the paper is an internal policy discussion only and does not reflect existing policy.