Limit to effectiveness of price rises

Several friends who have given up smoking did so when the price went up.

Tariana Turia wants the price to go even further.

That will no doubt deter some smokers and prevent some from starting, but there is a limit to the effectiveness of price rises.

If the price goes up too high for legal purchases it provides an incentive for illegal ones.

In Australia there is already a booming criminal market for tobacco and the same thing could happen here if the price goes too high.

Tobacco can grow in New Zealand and we’ve got a long coastline which would help smugglers.

I don’t like smoking. But the temptation to tax tobacco too highly must be tempered by the knowledge that there comes a point at which the high price stops working as a deterrent. Instead it just makes smuggling and illegal growing sufficiently lucrative to be worth the risk of getting caught.

4 Responses to Limit to effectiveness of price rises

  1. pdm says:

    Agreed. Neither mrs pdm or I have ever smoked other than trying a few as part of growing up and we prefer not to mix and mingle with smokers if we can avoid it.

    Despite this all of our 4 children have smoked at some stage of their adult lives with one continuing to do so. At age 30 now he well knows our views but at the end of the day it is his call and his life. Several price rises have not stopped him so far and I doubt another will. Nor will hiding cigarettes in shops or putting inane messages on packets – he rolls his own.


  2. I always said I was going to give up when the price got to five bucks a packet (about 1990). Thank goodness I did! That was the same year the Smokefree Worplace Act came in. Twenty years ago.


  3. I have to admit it took me another six or seven years to give up completely but even then the price was only about $7. What are they worth now? $10 yet?


  4. gravedodger says:

    Mrs Gd and I gave up in our mid 30’s, combination of pressure from offspring and increasing awareness of the consequences.
    The end came unexpectedly and with 5 left in the packet on the occasional table between our TV chairs. Yes we stared them down giving a small amount of credence to the theory that you should give up before you run out otherwise running out is all that has occurred. Some 3/4 years later we left Waipara for Masterton and left packers to do their thing and follow us. One young chap on the pantechnicon crew was very ill by lunchtime – it appears he helped himself to one of the 3 remaining tubes. Unbeknown to us our angelic little darlings had carefully threaded horse hair through the 5 ciggies, evidently a surefire method to cause a serious 2nd thought should either of us have weakened. Aha you say what about the missing two, well they were smoked by an inveterate smoker acquaintance, one of those who could light the next before finishing the last, and she didn’t bat an eyelid. Mrs GD still has nightmares where she has succumbed to temptation and as for me I just regret it took so long to give up but in saying that a good cigar (rare I know oh so well) still smells far too good to me to be complacent.


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