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Price of cigarettes bumped up 1.4% as New Year begins

The price of cigarettes and tobacco is going up again as New Zealand welcomes the New Year, this time increasing with a new excise tax of around 1.4 per cent.

Source: 1 NEWS

It's a smaller increase than in previous years; last year, the price went up 10 per cent to $33 a pack.

The Ministry of Health said an evaluation was needed to see the impact of the increasing excise tax on smokers.

New Zealand has committed to Smokefree 2025 goal, aiming to have fewer than 5 per cent of Kiwis smoking.

However there have been concerns the rising cost of tobacco hasn't reduced the amount people smoke, but rather caused people to prioritise their spending to continue affording it.

It was an issue raised in an Ernst and Young report for the Ministry of Health in 2018.

According to the latest Census data, around a third of Māori people are regular smokers - three times as many as the overall popular.

When it comes to the rising price driving quitting, e-cigarette retailer Shosha says the latest increase could see thousands of Kiwis kicking the habit this week.

It cited its trend data finding last year's price increase of 10 per cent meant thousands of New Zealanders cuts back.

However this year, it found one in four current smokers have increased their uptake this year due to the Covid-10 pandemic and stress.

"Research shows quitting smoking is the most difficult New Year’s resolution to keep," Shosha spokesperson Nabhik Gupta says. 

"However with every increase in the price of tobacco, more smokers look for alternatives."