Lawmakers in New Zealand hope to make the country a smoke free zone by 2025 and to reach that goal officials are hoping to raise the cost of cigarettes to £50 by 2020 or nearly $100 per pack based on inflationary numbers by that time period.
The initiative was revealed on Monday by the countries Ministry of Health and while ultra-high pricing is one method for cutting down on cigarette smoking the countries officials promise it is just one of many measures that will be discussed.
The high price for cigarettes comes from a document released under the countries “official information act” which shows that a single cigarette could be priced at £2.50.
In another scenario officials would increase the cost of 20 cigarettes (a full pack) by 10% per year from 2013 to 2025, that increase would mean $40 packs by 2025. In another scenario officials would simply create a 30% to 60% “shock rise” in the price of cigarettes with the ultimate goal to reach $100 per pack by 2020.
Even on paper though officials have called the plan “probably unrealistic” although they admit that it would likely stamp out smoking almost completely in the country.
Lawmakers do however believe they can get the cost of cigarettes to nearly $60 per pack by 2025.
If the high price of New Zealand cigarettes doesn’t come to fruition officials say they could also institute a plan that would call tobacco a highly toxic substance which in turn would ban smoking in cars with children, double anti-smoking media campaigns and remove tobacco from duty-free sale.
In the organizations briefing paper they write:
“If we are to continue to lower smoking prevalence we need to both increase the numbers who successfully quit smoking, and reduce smoking initiation among young people … Tobacco taxation is the single most effective intervention available to drive down smoking prevalence figures.”
At this time the discovered documents are not part of governmental policy and are being viewed only as internal discussions regarding ways to deal with smoking addiction in New Zealand.