Smokers thinking about making a new year resolution to quit have been given extra motivation with a tax increase of 10 per cent.
The tax rise takes the average price of a pack of 20 cigarettes now to $17.20. A 30-gram pouch of tobacco is $38.
With annual increases starting in 2011, the tax on cigarettes has increased by 40 per cent over the past three years.
Quitline communications manager Sarah Woods said the combination of new year resolutions and the price increase meant January would be a busy time.
"When the price goes up, it is the tipping point for people who are already thinking about quitting. Last year we had about 7000 who quit with us in January, the year before 8500. The average per month is about 4000, so that is about double."
For those who wanted to quit, it was important to make a plan and set a quit date, she said.
"Planning is really important, things like making your home and car smokefree. Then think about your behaviour and changing your behaviours.
"For example, most people would smoke with a coffee in the morning, so changing that can help."
One person who insisted she would not be quitting yesterday was Missy Boynton.
However, the Wellington barista said the price hike would make her cut down on her usual intake of 10 or so a day. "I'll probably try to smoke half of that."
She paid $50 at the moment for a 40-gram tobacco pouch. When the price reached $70, she would seriously consider quitting, she said.
Another Wellingtonian who would cut down was Allen Shi. The fast food worker said he had not heard of the price increase and was surprised.
"Ten per cent is quite a lot. Maybe I have to decrease my smoking now."
UP IN SMOKE
PRICE OF 25-PACK CIGARETTES
Jan 1, 2011: $14.40
2015 (projected): $23.90
2016 (projected): $26.30
30-GRAM TOBACCO POUCH 2011: $25.50
2015 (projected): $42
2016 (projected): $46.20
- The Dominion Post
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