Cigarette butts thrown "like apple cores" now a leading source of plastic pollution in ocean

Despite the strong efforts of people on the frontline cleaning our beaches, New Zealand's cigarettes are now the largest source of plastic waste in our ocean, with health and environmental advocates challenging communities to reflect on New Zealand’s “tidy kiwi” brand.

One News - 'Cigarette packs hit nearly $40 each as NZ rings in new year with new tax hike'

Smokers will be hit even harder in the pockets in 2019, with a 10 per cent excise tax being introduced as of today.

The tax will see the price of a 25-pack of cigarettes creep towards $40, nearly four times the 2006 cost of $11.95.

The move is another aimed towards reducing the number of smokers within New Zealand, which is now believed to be at 16 per cent.

Since January 2010, the Government has increased tobacco excise by at least CPI plus 10 per cent each year. The current series of tax increases are scheduled to end in 2020.

NZ Herald - 'Kiwi smokers urged to make New Year's switch to vaping for health and to avoid tax hike'

Smokers are being encouraged to switch to vaping when the Government's grip on their wallets tightens with a tobacco tax hike tomorrow.

The excise tax increases by 10 per cent tomorrow are part of a series of annual rises, the last of which, on the current plan, will be on January 1, 2020.

Quitline is expecting an influx of calls and text messages for support to give up smoking as the new year begins tomorrow. Early January is its busiest time. It says many people commit to quitting as a New Year resolution and it is a time when many people focus on the cost of the habit.

Radio NZ - 'A tobacco-free Māori nation is important'

Tobacco is four times more available in low-income communities compared to affluent ones, says a Māori health organisation.

Hāpai Te Hauora said increasing the tax on tobacco was good but reducing where it was sold would be more beneficial to Māori.

However, one researcher disputed that and said the best thing for Māori was to scrap the tax hike altogether.

Hapai Te Hauora spokesperson Mihi Blair said there was a stark difference in how much tobacco was available in different parts of Auckland.

Smoking prevention groups say vaping is still a safer alternative and a good way to kick the habit.

Mihi Blair, General Manager of the National Tobacco Control Advocacy Service speaks to Breakfast, "Vaping is still a safer alternative and a good way to kick the habit, despite one respiratory expert's concern with e-cigarettes.vaping is still a safer alternative and a good way to kick the habit, despite one respiratory expert's concern with e-cigarettes.