Smokers decreasing, but cost isn't main reason
Cost is among the top reasons people are quitting smoking as another hefty tax increase goes on tobacco, but health remains top of the list.
The first of four 10 percent annual tobacco tax increases came into force today and it's encouraging more people to give up, but only 11 percent of quitters cite cost as their reason.
Still, any encouragement to quit is welcomed by health campaigners.
"One of the major incentives for a lot of people to quit is the cost, so tax increases really support people to start thinking about their quitting journey," says Zoe Hawke, National Tobacco Control Advocacy Service.
For many, that journey traditionally starts today.
"In January we normally see a 100 to 200 percent increase in New Zealanders wanting to quit, partly motivated by that tax increase that's come into effect today, and other people setting New Year's resolutions," says Quitline CEO Andrew Slater.
The top reasons Kiwis gave up smoking in 2016 were as follows:
- For health (45 percent)
- For 'me' (13 percent)
- Cost (11 percent)
- Family (9 percent)
- Role model for kids (6 percent)
Smoking rates are steadily declining, burning down four percent over the past 10 years. But the biggest drop is in 15-17 year olds - falling from almost 16 to just 6 percent.
A good way bring down smoking rates is to discourage people from starting in the first place.