Tobacco excise tax evaluation

The Ministry of Health is seeking to engage an Evaluation Provider to undertake an 'Evaluation of the tobacco excise increases as a contributor to Smokefree 2025'.

New Zealand is nearing the end of a series of excise increases on tobacco that began in 2010 and scheduled to end in January 2020.

An evaluation is needed to understand the impact of the policy on reducing tobacco consumption and smoking and to help inform the future direction of polices which use price as a lever to reduce the harm from tobacco.  We are interested in understanding any unintended consequences of tobacco price increases, such as on crime (robberies and illicit trade), as well as the financial impact on smokers and their families.

We require work to explicitly consider the impact for Māori (males/females), Pacific peoples, low-income populations, and young people (under the age of 18 and 18-24 years).

The information sought through this Evaluation will address the following specific questions:

  • Do people quit, attempt to quit, reduce the amount they smoke, or change their smoking behaviour in other ways because of the price of tobacco? Which groups of people are impacted and by how much? Are past impacts likely to hold in the future, with further price increases?
  • Have people changed their perceptions of the affordability of tobacco?
  • Have people changed their household spending in any way to buy tobacco?
  • Has the tobacco industry implemented pricing and other market strategies to minimise the impact of the tax increases (e.g. budget brands, controlling the extent to which increases are passed on, and the timing of increases)? What are these strategies and what impact have they had? What is industry’s likely future response?
  • Are the tax increases resulting in an increase in illicit trade and/or robberies? If so, what is the size of this problem and what is the likely future trajectory?
  • What are the expected costs and benefits of future price increases, across the various different impacts (health, family budgets, crime and so on)?
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