Sense from ASH

Stuff reports:

Student smokers would be more likely to quit the habit if the price for a pack topped $50, a study has shown.

A survey of 2180 students from New Zealand’s eight universities found that if $15 was added to the price of a packet of cigarettes, 39 per cent would quit altogether and 19 per cent would switch to vaping.

This academic research ignores the real world experience that already the high price of cigarettes has lead to an explosion in the black market. Daires were getting robbed almost weekly for cigarettes and massive illegal importation.

Deborah Hart, director of smoke-free action group ASH NZ, said she welcomed the research but New Zealand already has the world’s highest priced cigarettes, in relation to income.

“The people we are most interested in getting to be smoke-free are people who have the highest rates of smoking, and they tend to be in a low-socioeconomic group,” she said.

“Putting up the price any further for people who are already in poverty and have a real dependence on smoking is counterproductive.

“If price was going to be the only thing that worked for that group of people, it would have worked already.”

Nice to see common sense from ASH. Hart is right that those people still smoking are not very price sensitive.

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