By Te Karere

The cost of cigarettes went up yesterday by 10%. By 2020, a pack will cost more than $30. This has prompted people to become smoke-free as a New Year resolution.

Bonnie Ripia has been a heavy smoker for 23 years, as the 10% tobacco tax increase is now in effect; it’s her motivation to quit.

She says, “Looking in the mirror at my ageing that was a motivator and not being able to breathe at night and the ridiculous cost, the ridiculous cost of death.”

Quitline has been receiving 300 - 400 phone calls a day with the top four reasons given as to why they want to quit includes stress, physical health, whānau and money.

Quitline CEO Andrew Slater says they won't quit on you, “my goal for 2018 for Quitline is to make sure that we're running a world-class smoking cessation service in NZ to really help drive forward that 2025 goal of creating a Smokefree Aotearoa.”

Māori women smoking statistics are skyrocket high and Hāpai Te Hauora Kaiwhakahaere Stephanie Erick has a challenge for the government, saying “we need action and focus, reduce supply and make sure that cigarettes are not affordable to our rangatahi and let’s get back on track as the associate minister has said before.”

Ripia has tried to quit six times but this time she’s eager to embark this journey again and is confident she will be able to achieve this time.