Ministry releases Evaluation of the Tobacco Excise Increases as a Contributor to Smokefree 2025

News article

20 December 2018

The Ministry of Health has released a new report into the impact of tobacco excise increases as a contributor to the Smokefree 2025 goal.

Since 2010, the excise tax rate on tobacco has increased 10% per annum and the annual CPI adjustment.

The report, entitled Evaluation of the Tobacco Excise Increases as a Contributor to Smokefree 2025 was commissioned by the Ministry and independently produced by consultants EY. 

EY was specifically asked to consider if people quit, attempted to quit or reduced the amount they smoked, because of the price of tobacco, and which groups of people are impacted and by how much. The report also considered whether the tax increases result in an increase in illicit trade and/or robberies.

The report has found increasing the price of tobacco continues to be the single most effective tool for reducing tobacco use, within an overall comprehensive tobacco control programme.   

EY’s report acknowledges achieving Smokefree 2025 will be challenging, especially without increased attention on further complementary tobacco control interventions aimed at reducing supply, demand and exposure to tobacco.

The report has found tobacco consumption and smoking rates continue to decline for all demographics, including all age groups, ethnicities, genders and deprivation groups of New Zealanders.

The report noted there is no robust evidence to support claims that tobacco excise increases are driving robberies or illicit trade but better monitoring is needed.

The report has made a number of recommendations, including continuing with the scheduled excise increases beyond 2020 and closely monitoring the impacts of the final two increases (2019 and 2020) on robberies, illicit trade, and tobacco industry practices.

It is recommended that the Ministry employ a range of holistic and harm reduction strategies in order to address individuals, families and populations that require a greater level of support to stop smoking, while exploring tobacco control initiatives that focus on supply.

A copy of our report is available on this website: Evaluation of the tobacco excise increases as a contributor to Smokefree 2025

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