New year tobacco tax hike will pile more costs onto smokers and increase crime
The Taxpayers’ Union is warning of the social costs and impacts on crime of this years’ 5.64% increase in tobacco excise tax.
Taxpayers’ Union Campaigns Manager, Connor Molloy, said:
“The goal of reducing smoking and preventing smoking-related illnesses is a laudable one but this latest tax hike will do little more than punish people and drive up crime.
“Those still smoking are the most committed smokers who understand the risks and more than pay their way. This latest hike is unlikely to push them to quit. Instead, the hike will push more smokers to the black market to source untaxed, unregulated tobacco where the proceeds can be used to finance organised crime.
“Already, one in eight cigarettes smoked in New Zealand comes from the black market, this will only make the problem worse. As demand for illicit tobacco increases, retailers are more likely to be targeted in what are now highly-lucrative robberies.
“It is worth noting that it is not just the smokers who suffer from these tax hikes. Their families feel the burden too with less money is left over at the end of the week for other things once cigarettes are paid for.
“A better approach would be to follow what is already working by continuing to promote vaping as an effective and less harmful smoking cessation tool.”