Cigarette price hike risks black market - PM
Mon, 23 Apr 2012 6:18p.m.
By Adam Ray
The Prime Minister says a huge hike in the cost of cigarettes could encourage a black market for smokers.
3 News revealed yesterday that Health Ministry officials think cigarettes need to cost $100 a packet to make New Zealand smoke-free.
But Associate Health Minister Tariana Turia says she has a whatever-it-takes attitude to the idea.
Felix Five would love to quit, but struggles because he's addicted. He says pumping up the cost of cigarettes won't stop smokers.
“People still use heroin,” says the smoker. “It is expensive, cocaine is expensive. So I don't think people will stop smoking.”
A Health Ministry paper obtained by 3 News says drastic measures are needed to meet the Government's aim for New Zealand to be smoke-free by 2025.
One proposal is for prices to increase by around a third every year to reach $100 a packet within eight years.
But officials said one shock increase followed by smaller increases is more reasonable.
John Key says the Government is looking at a range of policies to stop smoking and huge price hikes could fuel black market trading.
“Whether that would be sustainable in terms of the black market, I don't know,” says John Key. “It seems like a big step.”
The Health Ministry says the discussion paper may be used to give advice to Government.
3 News asked Associate Health Minister Tariana Turia if she supported the idea of making cigarettes $100 a packet.
She gave a simple answer: whatever it takes.
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26/04/2012 10:54:15 a.m.
Great idea. Bet alot of other countries will be watching with interest. see alot of knee jerk reactions in comments. i`ll get black market cigs !! NZ is an island and our inforcement officers with dogs are doing a terrific job Learning all the time the new crook ways to foil them, it`s like a game and Nz`rs are good sportsmen. Toursits ; well just like the pub smoking ban, they will get used to it. When I travel to Europe the smokers there is unbelievable in public and wish it wasn`t so when we offer a CLEAN country I think alot of other countries will sit up and look at lil ol NZ. GO for it.
25/04/2012 8:18:58 a.m.
Smokers save New Zealand money by dying earlier than non-smokers and buy paying the already large taxes on cigarettes. This far outweighs any costs to the health system caused by smoking related illness. Focus on the real problems this country faces and leave us alone.
24/04/2012 5:22:56 a.m.
For those curious about the workings of a black market trade in cigarettes, you only need walk down some back streets of London and be offered cheap (and obviously fake) Marlborough lights by some dodgy fella to realise how easily it can be done. And if the RRP is at $100, then they have a very lucrative market selling at even half that.
24/04/2012 2:04:40 a.m.
You can make the price whatever you like, when there is a market there will always be a seller somewhere and as for JOHNSON and his "most wouldn't go to the effort" I can only assume you are completely out of touch with the drug scene here in NZ, like any addiction if you want it you know where to find it. I agree with Kelvyn I have worked in Tourism for years and many many tourists smoke...how you gonna police that? I also agree with Liz, are you gonna make McDonalds KFC etc go to plain packaging? Or are you just trying to score political points? Better hope Nats are non-smokers!!!
23/04/2012 11:47:34 p.m.
Who cares about the black market? With $100 cigarettes, I don't see school students affording those or being handed them. The benefits of price increase outweigh the downsides. How do you get access to the black market? Most wouldn't go to the effort.
23/04/2012 8:44:11 p.m.
So much politically correct crap. be like me, grow your own. Im 65 and have been smoking since I was 16. Dont pay any tax and its a lot cheaper.
23/04/2012 8:13:58 p.m.
the increase in smokes will just raise the crime rate. smoking is one of the hardest addictions. wot ever happen to freedom of choice. If you look at the percentage of alcoholics & obesity you are at a no win situation. By taking away one addiction will only lead to another. You are killing the people of New Zealand by taking away an addiction which has been around way before our time. Slowly you are depriving the rights of the people, nek minit something else will be taken away. Smoking is an addiction, but increasing the price will lead to stress, crime and depression. You will probably notice an increase in peoples mental state. Think about it, you are making a bad choice if you want to take away smoking. No body put food to your mouth Tariana to make you fat-just like cigarettes. No difference huh. Tariana you paid to have surgery to remove your fat because your health was probably at risk, but that was your choice to eat right- well it is smokers choice to smoke. What ever the consequences'there is no difference.
23/04/2012 7:59:16 p.m.
Why take the price to $100. What kind of thinking is that. If you want to make NZ smoke free just ban cigarettes. Then you don't need to create even more poverty than there is now by a massive price rise. Of course such a price hike would cause another level of criminal activity similar to the present drug trade, and surprise, surprise, some moteliers etc would go out of business because, once again, another surprise, a lot of tourists smoke. They wont holiday here if the country is smoke free. Smokers cant just turn it off for a couple of weeks.
23/04/2012 7:46:24 p.m.
Jen Puckrin wrote:
So many problems will arise from a smokefree NZ - yes it would be he fantastic ideal, but alcohol can cause just as many problems - are they planning on hiking that up to $100??
And I agree with the idea that a black makt type situation could arise - so then it beomes a problem of law and having to punish those people - costing the government money to run prisons and the courts.
23/04/2012 6:38:32 p.m.
The packets could be $100 each right now, yet the contents themselves would still impose a far greater duty on the consumer, since human life is more valuable than any material measure. The smoker doesn't have to receive any feedback from anyone for this to be the case, and the true measure for being 'informed' has to account for what's inside the cigarette, not just the packet.
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