New Zealand Mulls Charging $100 for Pack of Cigarettes

Prime minister admits government suggestion sounds like "an awful lot"

By DANIEL MACHT
|  Tuesday, Apr 24, 2012  |  Updated 5:53 AM PDT
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New Zealand is considering stiff price hikes for cigarettes.

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The price alone could kill you.

New Zealand’s Health Ministry has reportedly considered boosting the price of a pack of cigarettes as high as $100 ($81 U.S.) in a bid to make the country smoke free by 2025.

An internal government working paper raised the possibility of upping the cost of a 20-cigarette pack by 30 to 60 percent and tacking on yearly increases of 30 percent, Sky News reported.

With cigarettes now priced at about $16 to $17, New Zealand Prime Minister John Key said the $100 suggestion seemed like “an awful lot” and could encourage a black market, Fairfax NZ News reported.

Anti-tobacco activist Ben Youdan said it would be more “realistic” to price smokes at “$30 to $40 a pack" over the course of 10 to 15 years as part of a comprehensive campaign to reduce the number of smokers in the country, now around 650,000, according to Fairfax NZ News.
 

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