Smokers not put off by price hike

Cigarette prices are going up again, but some Christchurch smokers say it is no motivation for kicking the habit.

Tobacco taxes will increase on January 1, driving the average price for a packet of 20 cigarettes from $14.40 to $16 and a packet of 25 from $18 to $20.

A 20-cigarette-a-day habit will then cost about $5840 a year.

January is Quitline's busiest time of the year, with people resolving to quit smoking, and extra staff are rostered on to deal with call volumes.

Price rises were also a catalyst, spokesman Bruce Bassett said.

"Whenever there's a tax increase, more people phone in."

He suggested using everything available, including nicotine patches, phone support services, electronic support services and face-to-face counselling.

However, some Cantabrian puffers said they were unlikely to give up smoking because of the extra cost.

"I'm still going to buy them anyway," said Grant Roulston, of Belfast.

Clayton Hata, of Redwood, said the price was going up only slightly and he would continue to buy cigarettes.

He had tried quitting smoking a couple of times and had bought the patches, but they did not work for him as they gave him rashes. "I wasn't ready, I guess."

Helga Dombay, of Bishopdale, said she was not happy about the Government raising tobacco taxes again.

"I don't like the persecution style of it," she said. "When people lecture me on smoking, I go livid."

The price of cigarettes was not a deterrent for her.

She had tried quitting, using free quitting services and fake cigarettes, but nothing had worked.

Sarah Clarke, of Hornby, said raising the prices of cigarettes was probably not going to stop her from smoking.

"I hope I could, but I probably won't," she said. "I should, but I don't really want to."

Friend Tracey Green, also of Hornby, said she had tried giving up smoking last year as a New Year's resolution, but lasted only two days. "I just tried to go cold turkey and I got cranky," she said.

The Press