Tax hikes are stubbing out smoking - Turia

Former Māori Party co-leader Dame Tariana Turia says taxing cigarettes is having a positive effect on smoking rates.

The latest Ministry of Health figures show a 30 percent drop in 15- to 17-year-olds smoking, as well as a 32 percent drop in Māori men smoking.

Dame Tariana says if there were other good ways to stop people smoking, she would back them too.

"It does seem to me the taxing of them has been the most significant change. All taxpayers, they pay for people who smoke - because in the end, people's health is affected."

But Dame Tariana doesn't think e-cigarettes and vaping are good alternatives.

"I'm still concerned - after all, it is tobacco companies who are producing these e-cigarettes… They're still making money out of addiction."

She says dairies don't need to sell either.

"We do have a dairy in Whanganui that does not sell cigarettes at all. You make your choice - you either want to make a lot of money, or you want to sell products that aren't going to cause people damage."

The Government still has its sight set on meeting the smoke-free 2025 target. A study earlier this year found most Kiwi teenagers discourage their peers from taking up the habit.

Newshub.