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A smoke-free country? New Zealand aims for it with 40% tobacco tax hike

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hiking the cost of a pack of cigarettes to NZ$100 ($75

Would only mean the shop keeprs will need to operate out of a bank vault as the theives and robbers will have even more motivation to steal these high priced sought after items.

What they need to do is fund programs etc to encourage and help people to quit, govt subsidised meds to aid the thequitting process etc.

-2 ( +1 / -3 )

u can hike all u want but smoking is upto individual.

1 ( +5 / -4 )

Perhaps Japan should do something similar in raising taxes on cigarettes. It's still much too inexpensive to purchase cigarettes in Japan. I have COPD as a result of being stupid and smoking for too many years before quitting a couple of decades ago. Even now, I get so frustrated going in to almost any restaurant in Nagoya where I live and the smoke is so thick, one could almost cut it. Perhaps NZ is too far ahead of other countries regarding strict programs, but Japan is certainly on the other end of the spectrum with very few anti-smoking measures. Instead of raising the consumption tax to 10%, why not just start taxing the heck out of cigarettes and get it to a point, like in America, where it would cost about 1,000 yen a pack. This is just my opinion, but I wanted to express myself so others know and realize what COPD sufferers have to go through here in Japan.

3 ( +6 / -3 )

Follow up. I just wanted to add this "fact" from an article that was printed a few years ago. ****Increasing the price of tobacco through higher taxes is the single most effective way to decrease consumption and encourage tobacco users to quit. A 70% increase in the price of tobacco could prevent up to a quarter of all smoking-related deaths worldwide.

2 ( +3 / -1 )

Ah, but it has been proven that increasing prices of smokes does not stop people smoking. It does stop some, but only a small percentage. If NZ really wants to wipe out smoking they should just make them illegal for sale throughout the whole country. You can't smoke them if you can't get them. Problem solved!

-3 ( +0 / -3 )

Good on New Zealand! I hope this will follow suit in a lot of nations, and probably will in most Western ones. Japan is fastest amongst Asian nations (at least I think so), but still taking baby steps because of how much control JT has here. Make it 2000 yen per pack in Japan, I say, and eliminate ALL vending machines, and refuse anyone who does not provide ID at a convenience store, regardless of age. Oh, and best yet -- ENFORCE non-smoking laws!!!

0 ( +5 / -5 )

Now the New Zealanders are smart. Make smoking too expensive and thereby stop this nasty, dangerous, human crippling, disabling, stinky, debilitating, very harmful to all people who smoke and people around them habit. I am all for making smoking cigarettes illegal !

1 ( +2 / -1 )

Good to see New Zealand leading the way.

Smithinjapan, I wish Japan was among the fastest in Asia,; in fact it is among the worst. Singapore and Hong Kong are very clean - even the bars are smoke-free. Thailand, Macau, Taiwan and Malaysia and even China have smoke-free restaurants (though enforcement is lax in China). Japan, Central Asia, Korea and Africa bring up the rear.

3 ( +3 / -0 )

I wonder how many people who think this is a great idea also believe that marijuana should be legal, regardless of the fact that it is smoked?

What I think will happen is that once people begin decrease buying legit cigarettes and going balck market, tax revenues will go down. Once that steady stream of revenue goes down, in order to feed the public spending beast, something else will get in the cross hairs of the politicians and they will wage a war against it.

I'm no smoker, and don't really like to be around it. But, I do respect a smokers right to light up and smoke themselves away. To those who will argue my point that it is the non-smoker who has to pay for the irresponsibility of smoers with their health costs, well I submit to you that I pay for the irresponsibility for many people who decide to have childtren they can't afford, or abuse their bodies by taking drugs and wind up in public hospitals.

New Zealand’s Cancer Society reacted to Thursday’s announcement by sending out a press release titled “Thumbs Up!”

What was the last great contribution to the fighting of smoking related cancers that has been discovered by New Zealand? I seem to believe that most of the advances in cancer research seem to come from America and other nations. So what are they doing with the money?

-3 ( +2 / -5 )

What was the last great contribution to the fighting of smoking related cancers that has been discovered by New Zealand? I seem to believe that most of the advances in cancer research seem to come from America and other nations. So what are they doing with the money?

Don't you think the amounts of money available for research might have something to do with that? New Zealand's entire population is smaller than many large US cities. Having said that - NZ may well have contributed important informaiton for the fight against cancer. I don't know, and I seriously doubt whether you checked. The best thing any nation can do to reduce lung cancers and many other types of cancer and disease is to reduce or eliminate smoking. It's cheaper and more certain to produce results than trying to find a cure for a disease that our own addictions caused.

2 ( +3 / -1 )

Why not make it completely illegal, instead of squeezing the smokers for more tax money? It`s like killing someone is legal, but making it harder to do so by increasing the price of the bullets .

-1 ( +1 / -2 )

it must be kind of fun, for a few weeks, to live in a country as small and provincial as this.

3 ( +4 / -1 )

I'm no smoker, and don't really like to be around it. But, I do respect a smokers right to light up and smoke themselves away.

I respect a smoker's right to light up, but I don't respect the cigarette companies' right to sell products that will poison and kill the majority of their customers.

1 ( +3 / -2 )

I just love the comments here about banning tobacco from high and mighty self important blowhards who belive that the world should revolve around their beliefs and that they should not have the slighest risk to their health from a whiff of smoke. Most of the self rightous here are living in large cities that just walking to the station gives you more carcinogens than standing next to a smoker. Most will stand up for the freedom of choice, yet refuse smokers that same freedom. Non-smokers have had the right to not frequent resturants, bars, ect. that are "so thick with smoke that you could cut it with a knife" as one comment here said, that freedom has been here since the beginning. I would find it hard to belive that some owners would not make their business smoke free if their was enough interest in it. These people will instead take away my right to smoke nearly anywhere regardless if the owner cared or not. And this BS about taxing morality, which is what these taxes are really, and using it to cover the costs of smokers health problems. I will cite how the big tobacco settlement that American companies paid, and continue to pay, to individual states have less than 10% of those proceeds being used for the purpose that was agreed to in the settlement. Politicians took the money for their own pet projects, and will take any and all taxes made by tobacco sales for their own devices. So taxpayers will still have to foot the bill for smokers just as they do for drunk drivers, drug addicts, prostitutes, homeless, illegal immigrants, and any other non taxpaying people who need medical help. America tried banning alcohol and it caused far more problems than it solved. So after a hundred years they forgot how bad it was and now want to try with tobacco? Anyone here know which nation first banned smoking in public offices? Hm? 1935 the Nazi party in Germany was the first to ban smoking in any public building and started a campaign to have public workers stop smoking. Has the non-smokers become so arrogant as to belive that the polluted air that they breathe in crowded industrial cities is cleaner without the smell of tobacco, so much so that you make it against the law to smoke in public? Remember, you always had the choice to walk away from smokers, but you deny smokers that same right.

-3 ( +5 / -8 )

Stay on topic please. References to alcohol, Nazis and drug addiction are not relevant to this discussion.

@ Loose Cannon: Excellen post!

As I mentioned, I don't smoke, and if a bar has smokers I don't mind going into it. If I couldn't stand it I would leave. Yet now bar owners can't open a smokers bar because the anti smokers would get in a tizzy about them doing something for themselves.

I am reminded of a quote from C.S. Lewis: "Of all tyrannies a tyranny sincerely exercised for the good of its victims may be the most oppressive. It may be better to live under robber barons than under omnipotent moral busybodies. The robber baron's cruelty may sometimes sleep, his cupidity may at some point be satiated; but those who torment us for our own good will torment us without end for they do so with the approval of their own conscience."

-2 ( +3 / -5 )

@Loose Cannon

I just love the comments here about banning tobacco from high and mighty self important blowhards who belive that the world should revolve around their beliefs and that they should not have the slighest risk to their health from a whiff of smoke.

It's not mere self-righteousness. Which corporations do you know are allowed to sell highly addictive poison that you inhale their customers (which will kill them)? The fact is that what the cigarette companies are doing is basically illegal. But we can't do anything about them since those companies were established way before we properly knew about the harmful effects of smoking and because there are too many smokers now.

2 ( +4 / -2 )

Brilliant. Ban it. Again NZ leading the way, from women's suffrage to stopping the stupid. Excellent work.

1 ( +4 / -3 )

I say good for NZ, some one has to be the first to stand up against big tobacco. I do agree that the increased tax revenue should be used to provide help to the smokers to quit and for strong anti-smoking education. And since I believe that NZ has socialized medicine and smokers require more medical treatment than the average person it is only fair that they (the smokers) be required to pay the additional cost. Unfortunately a couple of posters before me are correct it just would not work to make it illegal, then smoking would become just like illegal drugs with all the problems that comes with it. So taxing the heck out of it and tightly regulating it and educating people about the dangers of it is probably the best approach.

About the smoking bans in various places, one of the first places that benefited from banning smoking was the airlines. Within just a couple of months of banning smoking on all flights in the U.S. they discovered that the HVAC (air conditioning and heating) systems and the pressurization systems in aircraft were working better and failing a lot less often. And slowly other systems in aircraft started functioning better. Then about a year after the ban they were able to show improved health in the flight crews. So banning smoking in a place is beneficial. You want to smoke do it out in the middle of a field or in the enclosed confines of your own home, not next to me.

3 ( +4 / -1 )

What they need to do is fund programs etc to encourage and help people to quit, govt subsidised meds to aid the thequitting process etc.

They already do that, but it hasn't had as big an effect as hoped. Not sure if this is going to make a massive difference either - I think it could well lead to crime and black market sales - but given that cigarettes are already about $15 NZD a pack (about 900 yen), it's bound to give some people the impetus to quit. I'm just glad that my husband quit a few years ago.

2 ( +2 / -0 )

“It’s quite ridiculous for the government to be concentrating on that,” she said. “They have bigger things to worry about.”

Yes, like cutting health care costs.. oh wait a minute!

Japan is fastest amongst Asian nations (at least I think so)

Cough, cough.. Singapore. If there is AC, there is no smoking allowed!

2 ( +3 / -1 )

I love how this country takes care of its citizens, the government knows that all the bright minds immigrated to Australia, so the left over has to be thought for and be protected against themselves! I think that we non smokers should all emigrate to New Zealand, just to show our sympathy for their cause!

-1 ( +2 / -3 )

Which corporations do you know are allowed to sell highly addictive poison that you inhale their customers (which will kill them)? The fact is that what the cigarette companies are doing is basically illegal. But we can't do anything about them since those companies were established way before we properly knew about the harmful effects of smoking and because there are too many smokers now.

@ Frank Vaughn: You do realize that in the original formula for Coca Cola, a cocaine derivative was used. It wasn't until the US started to enact tougher Food & Drug standards that a lot of harmful products were removed. In prohibition, they closed down Anheiser Busch and other beer companies were forced to make different products.

My point is if the governments really feel that strongly about cigarette's, just make them all illegal and ban them. But they don't becuase they know that it is a great source of tax revenue. In 1977, the US took in $3 billion in tax revenue from cigarettes. By 2009, that figure was about $17 billion. But we have been told that the number of smokers has decreased since 1977. So if smokers decrease, one would expect tax revenues generated to decrease but they haven't. There is a relationship between the government and tobacco industry.

-1 ( +0 / -1 )

Long-time smokers won't stop, but hopefully it will limit the number of pre-teens who become smokers. The target market of tobacco companies are pre-teens, and teenagers (this isn''t openly acknowledged by the industry, but it's a fact).

If a person wants to smoke, that's their right. But, smoke at home, or in designated places with other smokers-sealed off from non-smokers who would like to enjoy their food, and drinks without the stench of tobacco.

2 ( +2 / -0 )

If a person wants to smoke, that's their right. But, smoke at home, or in designated places with other smokers-sealed off from non-smokers who would like to enjoy their food, and drinks without the stench of tobacco

@ JBinJapan: Some places that people call home don't allow people to smoke. You always see stories of people in apartments or houses who have neighbors who complain about second hand smoke.

I do agree with your comments on enjoying food without smoke. But let me ask this, I understand the ban in resturants, but what if a resturant stated that it is a smoking establishment. I mean we have resturants that don't serve alcohol, so why can't businesses choose to be smoking as long as the public knows before they enter that it is a smoking establishment? That is what I don't get about the anit-smoking movement. If you don't want to be around smoke, I can respect that. But if I decide to open an establishment for those who wish to smoke, and tell the employees that may work there that this is a smoking establishment, I have identified to all the potential hazards, and it is up to the individual to decide if they want to come in and eat and smoke. A non smoker shouldn't go in a place like that if they are offended by smoking.

But we have "one size fits all policies" in place now that takes away a persons right to choose.

-2 ( +1 / -3 )

This is the best-possible route to take. The hopelessly addicted can continue to get their "fix" - they just have to pay more for the privledge to do so. The cost will rise making it harder for teens to justify the expense of starting in the first place. Kids will find some other way to appear "cool".

If a person wants to smoke, that's their right.

Actually, I know of no country that grants drug addiction as a "right". They may allow the addiction, but it's not a right.

2 ( +2 / -0 )

A 40% tax hike does not make for a smoke-free country. Smokers might cut down, but will still pay the price of two packs for one to get their smoke. Personally, I have no problem with a high tax on unhealthy products, that is fair enough. Just stop the stupid attempts to wean people off smoking by making ever more intrusive regulations. Let people consume unhealthy stuff if they so want, it is called personal freedom!

-5 ( +0 / -5 )

@Alphaape

My point is if the governments really feel that strongly about cigarette's, just make them all illegal and ban them. But they don't becuase they know that it is a great source of tax revenue. In 1977, the US took in $3 billion in tax revenue from cigarettes. By 2009, that figure was about $17 billion. But we have been told that the number of smokers has decreased since 1977. So if smokers decrease, one would expect tax revenues generated to decrease but they haven't. There is a relationship between the government and tobacco industry.

I don't think that's true. The government probably pays more for health care than the revenues generated from cigarette taxes.

I think it's more to do with the fact that the cigarette industry has an incredibly powerful influence and a lobbying force. They're having a hard time just removing the labels from the packages, etc. The cigarette companies are not going down without a fight.

1 ( +2 / -1 )

TravellingSales: "Smithinjapan, I wish Japan was among the fastest in Asia,; in fact it is among the worst."

You're right, of course. I was thinking more East Asia and should have said so. There is often talk of further, actually REAL cost increases on cigarettes, but of course the mighty JT and other tobacco interests end up reducing it to a mere 10 or 20 yen increase. I don't know the costs of smokes in Hong Kong and Singapore, but I would imagine they're on par if not more expensive than Japan (well, in Singapore, anyway).

Loose Cannon/Alpha Ape: Why is it always that people who 'respect the rights of smokers' or call people who are against smoking (often former smokers who have learned better) try to defend smoking by pointing out that other 'wrong' practices do equal or more harm? Do several wrongs make a right? Should we allow cocaine use because tobacco smoke causes harm to people around them, or you inhale a lot of carcinogens from car exhaust?

1 ( +1 / -0 )

So, why not just require a medical prescription for cigarettes? Get it from the doctor, otherwise you can't buy them. If your doctor thinks you have an addiction or if you aren't presenting a medical problem, he writes you a prescription. Otherwise,no.

2 ( +2 / -0 )

try to defend smoking by pointing out that other 'wrong' practices do equal or more harm? Do several wrongs make a right? Should we allow cocaine use because tobacco smoke causes harm to people around them, or you inhale a lot of carcinogens from car exhaust?

@ smithinjapan: If people want to smoke let them. All I say is that if a place of business wants to be open to smokers, then let them and those who chose to enter that place are aware of the risks. Not trying to compare vices and say which one is better, but it comes down to a choice. Smoking in a public building, I can understand the ban because in most cases you don't have a choice of going into some place publice (i.e. office building to conduct business). But some places you do.

0 ( +1 / -1 )

Alphaape: I would say that your thinking is reasonable, and it is, except that there's still the issue of the major drag it puts on health care costs. Yes, OTHER things ALSO cause us to pay a whole lot more taxes to care for the people (and perhaps we should ban those things, too!), but again these wrongs don't right the wrong of smoking. The best thing for everyone (even if smokers don't realize it) is to ban smoking outright. Since this won't happening, limiting them to where they can do it is reasonable, and they should be punished for doing it outside those designated places -- Singaporean-style ($1000 fine). What's more, perhaps people who smoke shouldn't be covered by health care if it can be proven their illness is directly related to their habit -- that way if they wanted to do it, fine (in designated areas), but they would literally pay the price for it later and we wouldn't have to. Of course, in that situation people would just say they don't smoke, but it would be obvious in most cases.

What bugs me the most about smoking in Japan is that, as with so many things, the 'banning' of smoking in various places is just a front -- nobody does ANYTHING about it. And that they always put ashtrays around public buildings in front of the doors or even in the lobbies so that you cannot avoid walking through the smoke. That JT pic of the day with all of the people standing around smoking in front of the no smoking sign said it all.

3 ( +3 / -0 )

By the same logic, shouldn't we be banning alcohol as well?

-1 ( +0 / -1 )

If the cigarette tax is really used to offset the high health care costs, then I would like to see how that is done. There should be in everystate where the tax is in place, a record of expenses used to treat persons who clearly show evidence of smoking and have suffered the affects. It can be done. If they can track your credit card spending very easily, they should be able to track where tax dollars are spent. But they don't.

That is really my heartburn on this whole issue. I see it just as another way to squeeze more tax money from the public and not spend it wisely.

1 ( +1 / -0 )

The government probably pays more for health care than the revenues generated from cigarette taxes.

Take a look at a documentary on YouTube called Burzynski The Movie. I am not one to follow most conspiracy theories, but this one seemed interesting. There is more money in keeping people sick than curing, just like there is more money in fighting poverty than actually having people work.

If they are going to agressivley tax, then we should see agressive gains in research in fighting smoking related diseases, and anti-smoking campaigns. Right now, the only thing that they have seen to come up with to reduce people from smoking is to increase the price of cigarettes. Does it require all of the extra tax money to come up with that idea?

0 ( +1 / -1 )

Good to see our Kiwi mates are catching up to us Aussies in terms of taxes and pricing of cancer sticks. Still, US $15 a pack by 2016 is the same as they already are in Australia in 2012! Would love to see them double that price - as well as laws giving police powers to arrest and jail smokers for smoking in their homes if children under 18 are in there at the time.

2 ( +3 / -1 )

This is really bad for nicotine-addicted Kiwis.

I mean, this is really good for nicotine-addicted Kiwis! A lot of them will be forced to quit!

3 ( +4 / -1 )

Forgot this is Japan, where free speach is just a saying.

1 ( +3 / -2 )

If they wanted to make people keep smoking and gain taxes that way... then they'd do what Japan does: Do nothing.

1 ( +2 / -1 )

The stupidest things I see in Japan is smokers, smoking in their cars, with their kids all laughing and playing with out seatbelts, I wonder if your good Kiwi friends would like to help us out here in Japan on some kind of scientific survey between say low levels of IQ and those who CHOOSE to poison not only themselves but THEIR INNOCENT CHILDREN TOO?? So yes NEW ZEALAND BANZAI!!! Good on New Zealand!!! Down with those evil,dirty, filthy CANCER making smokers! DOWN! DOWN! DOWN!!

1 ( +2 / -1 )

communist dictatorship?

-1 ( +0 / -1 )

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