Alternative to Cigarettes Still Outlawed

Press Release – New Zealand Taxpayers’ Union

Another 10% Tobacco Tax Hike But Alternative to Cigarettes Still Outlawed 31 DECEMBER 2016 FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE As smokers stock up on cigarettes today to beat the Governments 10% hike in tobacco excise tax which comes into effect on New …Another 10% Tobacco Tax Hike – But Alternative to Cigarettes Still Outlawed
31 DECEMBER 2016
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE

As smokers stock up on cigarettes today to beat the Government’s 10% hike in tobacco excise tax which comes into effect on New Year’s Day, the Taxpayers’ Union says that the Government’s failure to follow other OECD countries in legalising e-cigarettes containing nicotine shows that higher tobacco taxes are really about raising revenue than promoting public health.
Taxpayers’ Union Executive Director, Jordan Williams, says: “As detailed in our report on cigarette taxes published earlier in the year, the scientific consensus is that e-cigarettes are at least 90% less harmful than traditional fags.” The report, Passive Income: how the government uses smokers as cash cows, is available at http://www.taxpayers.org.nz/passive_income.
“From New Years Day, a 20 pack of cigarettes retailing for $22 will include around $18 of tax,” says Mr Williams. “Refusal to allow the sale of healthier alternatives indicates that the Government’s underlying motive is the tax revenue, not helping smokers kick the habit. Why else is the Government preventing Kiwi smokers from accessing the most popular smoking cessation tool used in Britain?”
“No one would argue against smokers being taxed to cover the costs of their habit. But hiking taxes, when they already cover the costs more than three times over, needs to be questioned. The politicians keep crying crocodile tears about the higher taxes being about health but this year they again delayed the legalisation of the sale of healthier e-cigarettes containing nicotine.”
“Increases in tobacco excise tax are often held up as interventions that are effective at reducing consumption amongst low socio-economic groups. However, significant tax increases have coincided with an increase in the socio-economic smoking gradient. Counterintuitively, the poor are the least likely to respond to tax hikes. That means they, and their families, go without.”
“Just because a consumer base is poor, it does not mean that the Government is any more justified in making consumer health choices for them. Worse, increasing taxes well in excess of the health costs of tobacco, knowing that they are being paid by those least able to afford it, is morally questionable.”
ENDS

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