Smoke-free dreams: New Zealand may look to hike the price of a packet of cigarettes to NZ$100 (£50) in its attempts to eradicate the habit by 2025
If George Osborne’s recent 37p hike on cigarettes had you gasping for air, then don’t move to New Zealand.
Ministry of Health officials there are looking at the possibility of raising the price of a packet to NZ$100 – around £50 – in their bid to stub out smoking for good by 2025.
A secret document has revealed a number of drastic pricing scenarios that would be required to help reach that goal.
One model shows that even if cigarettes were increased to $40 a pack by 2025, along with other ambitious policies, the objective would fail.
But were it to skyrocket the cost to NZ$100 by 2020, with further tax increases thereafter, the policy would succeed, it said.
The predictions were contained in a confidential report released to 3 News under the Official Information Act.
Although officials admit that increases of that magnitude are ‘probably unrealistic’, experts believe tax is the best way of tackling the issue.
Professor Richard Edwards, of the Department of Public Health at University of Otago, said: ‘Tax is about the most effective measure of reducing smoking and encouraging smokers to quit that we’ve got.
‘It’s fabulous that the Government has adopted this as a goal. It is the first Government in the world, and this is leading edge stuff.’
The most likely model would eventually see packets fetching around $60 by 2025.