WILLINGTON: Earlier this year the government of New Zealand announced that vaping products were in the process of being legalized, however so far no steps have been formally taken to this effect.
The Social Cost of Tobacco Excise, the New Zealand Taxpayers’ Union is accusing the government of being more interested in generating revenue than reducing harm. The group said that increased taxes on cigarettes have led to about 10% of the smoking population, equating to 550,000, quitting cigarettes. The report, points out that despite a 60% rise in cigarette prices, only one in ten people have quit, and no decrease has been recorded in Maori and Pasifika groups. In the meantime aggravated robberies are on the rise, and police reports have indicated that cigarette retailers are highly targeted. Union director Jordan Williams said that households have less money and smokers are more likely to purchase cigarettes on the blackmarket, fuelling further robberies.