Trans-Tasman report calls for life-saving reforms to help smokers quit
The New Zealand Taxpayers' Union, Australian Taxpayers’ Alliance and MyChoice Australia have jointly launched a report calling for the governments on both sides of the Tasman to legalise, and lightly regulate new technologies to help smokers quit.
The report, E-cigarettes: Reducing the Harm of Smoking, builds on the report we released in January examining the extent to which New Zealand politicians are using smokers as cash cows. At the time we questioned why politicians claim higher tobacco taxes are necessary to promote better health, but to date have prevented the sale of new generation smoking alternatives such as e-cigarettes which are far less harmful and the most popular smoking cessation tool used in England.
While politicians cry crocodile tears about the harms of smoking, their refusal to allow the sale of healthier alternatives appears to be motivated by the revenue stream from the taxes on traditional cigarettes.
E-cigarettes provide a healthier alternative to traditional cigarettes and mean smokers are not forced to be the Government’s cash cows. While the New Zealand Government is well ahead of Australia in terms of moves to legalise the technology, suggestions that it should be taxed like traditional cigarettes would undermine the very benefits the new technologies offer.
E-cigarettes offer the only real pathway to the Government’s aspiration of a Smokefree New Zealand by 2025. If governments tax next-generation smoking technologies like they do traditional cigarettes, they will be effectively choosing the tax revenue over saving lives.
Millions of smokers worldwide have quit smoking because of this technology, and it is now the most popular way for smokers to quit in countries such as the United Kingdom. Public health experts worldwide have praised it as being 'at least 95 percent' safer than smoking. It is time for our regulations to catch up to the times and encourage this life-saving technology.