Tobacco price hike hits smokers' wallets

smoking cigarettes tobacco
Today's tax hike won't be the last (File)

If you've woken up on New Year's Day and you've run out of cigarettes, take note: they just got a bit more expensive.

The Government last year committed to raising tax on tobacco by 10 percent on January 1 for the next four years.

It continues an ongoing trend by the Government to hike prices on tobacco which started in 2012.

That'll mean by 2020, the price of a packet of cigarettes would cost around $30.

Quitline, which helps smokers quit, is expecting an influx of calls as people try make good on their new year's resolutions.

"The holiday season is particularly difficult with plenty of parties, summer BBQs and family gatherings," chief executive Andrew Slater says.

"With New Year's resolutions being made, Quitline will see its biggest influx of calls around this period."

The service, which is part of the national telehealth service, normally gets around a 50 percent increase in calls during January and February.

Mr Slater says there are myriad reasons why people want to quit smoking, the most common being to improve overall health.

Ministry of Health statistics show the smoking rate among pregnant women is 14.8 percent. More than 35 percent of pregnant Māori women are smokers, while the rate among Māori women over 40 is 77 percent.

But there could be hope for the next generation, with more than a third of pregnant smokers who want to quit saying they're doing it to be a role model to their children.

The Government is staunch in the belief raising the tobacco price is the single biggest way to reduce smoking rates.

New Zealand has a goal of becoming a smoke-free nation by 2025.

Anyone who wants to contact Quitline can call 0800 778 778 at any time, or sign up to a programme via their website where they can also order subsidised patches, gum and lozenges.