Tobacco prices are set to go up by just over 11 per cent on January 1, in the last of a series of annual tax-based price rises announced in the 2016 budget. A 25-pack of cigarettes will cost more than $40.

“Whilst we have been in support of this policy led by Dame Tariana Turia and other key Māori political leaders, which sought to raise the price of cigarettes progressively so they became unaffordable for people to begin smoking in the first place, it now seems we need to do something different,” says Mihi Blair, GM of the National Tobacco Control Advocacy Service at Hāpai Te Hauora. “Instead of placing the onus on those suffering from tobacco addiction, the Government needs to use the money generated from these taxes to actually invest into a range of comprehensive and strategic public health, harm reduction and disease prevention measures to help reduce our rates of smoking for those who have not yet been able to quit.”

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