New Zealand hikes cigarette price, packs to cost $15 by 2016 | world | Hindustan Times
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New Zealand hikes cigarette price, packs to cost $15 by 2016

New Zealand’s government on Thursday squeezed smokers more than ever by announcing a 40% hike in tobacco taxes over the next four years. Prices here are already among the highest in the world, and by 2016, they will top 20 New Zealand dollars ($15) a pack.

world Updated: May 25, 2012 01:13 IST

New Zealand’s government on Thursday squeezed smokers more than ever by announcing a 40% hike in tobacco taxes over the next four years. Prices here are already among the highest in the world, and by 2016, they will top 20 New Zealand dollars ($15) a pack.

Officials hope higher taxes and new restrictions will bring the nation of 4.4 million closer to a recent pledge to snuff out the habit entirely by 2025.

Other countries have lauded the idea of trying to wean their populace off tobacco, but few, if any, have been willing to put a date on it.

Smoking rates among New Zealand adults have fallen from 30% in 1986 to about 20% today.

People who are still smoking aren’t happy about where prices are going. Chris Hobman said the cost is “horrendous” and could drive some low-income people to commit crimes to support their habit.