Would $81 For A Pack Of Cigarettes Put An End To Smoking?

While lawmakers here in the U.S. have developed a habit in recent years of raising taxes on cigarettes as a way to curb smoking while increasing tax revenue from those who continue to inhale, officials in New Zealand are giving some thought to what they would need to charge in order to make people quit smoking once and for all.

One idea reportedly being considered by the country’s Ministry of Health is an annual 10% increase on the price of a pack of cigarettes, meaning that by 2024, it would cost the equivalent of around $32 for a pack.

Another, more extreme, notion would aim to raise that price to a whopping $81 (U.S.) by as soon as 2020.

Sky News quotes the following from the Ministry’s paper:

If we are to continue to lower smoking prevalence we need to both increase the numbers who successfully quit smoking, and reduce smoking initiation among young people.

Tobacco taxation is the single most effective intervention available to drive down smoking prevalence figures.

Now, we here at Consumerist HQ don’t buy illegal drugs, but from what we’ve seen on TV, high prices for items like heroin, cocaine and glint haven’t exactly stopped folks from getting their hands on the things they crave. Nor has it prevented others from making a lot of money off these people.

If anyone is thinking of getting into the tobacco smuggling business, it seems like New Zealand might soon be fertile ground in which to grow such a criminal enterprise (not that we encourage any sort of behavior).

Pack Of Cigarettes ‘May Rise To $100’ In NZ


Edit Your Comment

  1. scoutermac says:

    Make them $81 now!

    • GinChevyChase says:

      Why should you get to tell people how much it costs to kill themselves?

      • Jawaka says:

        Isn’t that exactly what the people who don’t want a price increase are doing?

      • NumberSix says:

        Because it cost society as a whole to take care of their cancer riddled butts later in life. Not to mention the butts all over the ground and second hand smoke.

        • GinChevyChase says:

          IIRC recent studies seem to indicate that smokers have much lower health care costs – because they die at a younger age. So if you are saying that “we want to save you” that may be big brother nanny state behavior, but at least it’s honest. Trying to aviod the “nanny state” charge by saying its a money thing is dubious at best.

          • StarKillerX says:

            GinChevyChase is absolutely correct, the first study I heard of showing this was actuall back in the early 80’s by the Canadian government but of course as it went against the whole excuse given for the sin taxes it was soundly bashed for a few days and then was locked away where it couldn’t see the light of day.

            Simply put the study showed that smokers cost less in healthcare over their lifetime as they die younger and avoid the long drawn out hospital and/or nursing home admissions that occur in the elderly which is where the bulk of public healthcare dollars are spent.

            Now that’s not exactly a glowing endorsement of smoking but it does show the lie that politicians have pushed in order to justify splitting off a group of people and collecting billions of dollars in extra taxes from them.

            I quit smoking 12 years ago and although I don’t think cigarettes should be banned I do think if they refuse to ban it then they should leave smokers alone, and I’d even go so far as to say leave cigarette companies as politicians who love spending taxes from tobacco taxes are no better then to companies making the product.

        • videoman says:

          Make the cigarettes cheaper, but forbid insurance from covering tobacco related illnesses.

        • Bsamm09 says:

          You can say that about a lot of things that people enjoy. Terrible argument.

        • cspschofield says:

          I keep seeing people make this argument, in spit of a Government Accounting Office study I remember that said that smokers, by dying more quickly than non-smokers, were a net savings to the system.

          Which is not to be construed as a call for mandatory smoking.

        • dangermike says:

          Perhaps. But it also provides a steady stream of new cancer patients on which new treatments can be tried that might help others who have been afflicted with the disease through nothing but bad luck.

          I think prohibition would be completely ridiculous but that trying to find some magical level of taxation to effectively enact prohibition is even more foolish. It does nothing for the outlaw allure that gets teens to start smoking and would create a huge black market opportunity which history has proven time and again will lead to crime and violence.

    • MeowMaximus says:

      HELL NO!! I don’t smoke, but I have many friends who do. I object to this for 2 reasons. One, I wont want the government to have any more money. Second, raising tax on tobacco products will only cause a rise in smuggling, which will cause a rise in crime & violence. Have we learned nothign from the utterly useless “War on Drugs”?

    • gttim says:

      Hell yes! I am so tired of seeing butts on the ground, I have no problem with this!

  2. homehome says:

    when you’re addicted to something, price is not the killer. you just become more crafty if anything.

    • Jawaka says:

      High prices may not convince people to quit but it will probably do a lot to keep kids from starting in the first place.

      • cspschofield says:

        My recent experience with young (legal, I think) smokers has been that they began because every do-gooding swine on earth was telling them not to. It has an ‘outlaw’ glamor. I don’t see that raising the LEGAL price will affect this much.

        • Coleoptera Girl says:

          Raising the legal price will raise the illegal price because those selling illegally like large sums of money, just like anyone else.

  3. Cat says:

    $81 a pack would encourage people to grow their own tobacco, and cause an increase in mob activity and violence that this country hasn’t see since the end of prohibition.

    Sure, go ahead, you morons.

    • Jawaka says:

      When you say ‘this country’ I assume you mean New Zealand?

      • mindaika says:

        Of course. He’s right though, we (the US) and NZ should just keep letting taxpayers subsidize the healthcare costs of smokers. Plus, having cigarette butts everywhere is GREAT!

  4. HowardRoarksTSquare says:

    As a former smoker, I’ll tell you this – as much as you gripe about the price it doesn’t make you quit.

    You always tell yourself , “when it hits $x a pack I’ll quit” then you keep raising the ceiling on it.

    People quit for themselves – that’s it. Nothing else does it.

    • Jawaka says:

      But again, it will probably convince a lot of kids not to start.

      • videoman says:

        It might stop kids from starting smoking, but only if there’s no black market for it.

      • RiverStyX says:

        I disagree, kids are typically handed cigarettes for free by their “friends”..They don’t consider the concept that $6 a day is an expense until they’re addicted. By then, it’s too late.

        • pecan 3.14159265 says:

          But if it’s $81 a pack, how are their friends affording the cost? If they’re handed a cigarette from their friends, how are they able to afford it? It could have a ripple effect if suddenly, teens are unable to pay for cigarettes because it takes a month of mowing the lawn to do it. It might slow the beginnings of addiction.

  5. IphtashuFitz says:

    All this will do is result in more crime as people try to come up with the money to pay for their addiction…

  6. MutantMonkey says:

    More likely it would create a black market. This is essentially working towards prohibition. Lets repeat that mistake again.

    – Non Smoker

    • A.Mercer says:

      Yeah, if the government is taxing to the point where cigarettes cost $81 a pack but the pack actually costs a few dollars to put together then there will be a large business of people illegally making and selling cigarettes and making a hefty profit.

  7. penuspenuspenus says:

    Was thinking a quick trip to Indonesia would do the trick every once in a while but a few years back I was flagged when i arrived in Singapore for bringing along a carton of Camels. Im a cigar smoker but find cigarettes make nice gifts. Watching them take a razor to the carton was pretty funny.

  8. penuspenuspenus says:

    Was thinking a quick trip to Indonesia would do the trick every once in a while but a few years back I was flagged when i arrived in Singapore for bringing along a carton of Camels. Im a cigar smoker but find cigarettes make nice gifts. Watching them take a razor to the carton was pretty funny.

  9. Fast Eddie Eats Bagels says:

    As a smoker I agree with this huge price hike. I would quit of just find a black market. What they’re doing in Chicago/ cook county I don’t agree with. They’re talking about raising the taxes again so that a pack will now cost around $11.35. They’re raising the tax to help with their huge budget deficit. They don’t give a shit if we quit smoking, if everyone did quit smoking then where would that projected revenue be? Bottom line, it’s not going to help the budget because people are just going to drive to a different county or state to buy their smokes in bulk.

    • Nigerian prince looking for business partner says:

      That’s pretty much the reason why people are filling up U-Hauls in my state with cartons of cigarettes and reselling them in places NYC and Chicago. There’s a chance to make $3 or $4 a pack in profit by selling them without a tax stamp. Last year, the ATF busted a smuggling ring with about $750,000 worth of cigarettes in a warehouse a few blocks from my house.

      Even at today’s tax rates, cigarette smuggling is already being taken over by gangs and organized crime, with their usual violent methods.

      • meh_cat says:

        LOL. Some dumbass in my neighborhood was too lazy to drive a U-Haul to smuggle his cigarettes. Instead, he sent them by US Mail. One day, there was a huge raid with Postal Police and we were like, WTF? Turned out that the mail man got suspicious about all the freaking cigarettes in their warehouse and all the packages going into the warehouse lol.

  10. Cicadymn says:

    Raising the taxes too high simply creates a black market for cigarettes.

    People won’t stop smoking, but the government will stop collecting taxes on them.

  11. He says:

    Isn’t tobacco pretty easy to grow? I suppose curing it is a problem though.

    • MutantMonkey says:

      Not really. Particularly when compared to another popularly smoked plant, which is one of the key reasons why it was outlawed due to extreme lobbying by Big Tobacco.

    • bgeek says:

      Growing? Yes. Properly drying/curing? No.

    • nickmoss says:

      As a former tobacco farmer in Calvert County, Maryland, I can tell you that it is an extremely labor intensive business. The plants also drain the soil of all nutrients, making the land unusable for any other crops for a few years.

  12. framitz says:

    No, it would not result in everyone quitting.

    When I smoked I would have paid whatever they cost, while trying to grow my own.
    I did purchase bulk tobacco and roll my own.
    I would have scrounged butts from the gutter.

    I quit for health and employment reasons while out of work.
    No way was I going to interviews stinking of cigarettes!

    I’ve heard it said that nicotine is more addicting than cocaine and it just might be.

    • RiverStyX says:

      Roll-Your-Own tobacco is just as expensive as a pack of smokes, has been for about 3 years.

      Nicotine is more addictive than heroin..With heroin, withdrawals take about two days to start, while nicotine withdrawals start in about two to four hours, depending how addicted a person is. Heroin withdrawals are over with in a couple of days, when I quit smoking it was about six months before I finally stopped twitching and got my life back.

      • BrownLeopard says:

        Not sure where you’re getting your information, but in Ohio that’s incorrect. A pack of Maverick Full Flavor 100’s is $4.38 or $43.80 a carton. Buying a bag of tobacco, box of tubes and time at the RYO machine costs me $19.41 or $1.92 per pack.

      • Theoncomingstorm says:

        Nicotine is no more addictive, or harmful, than caffeine. It’s nicotine along with all the other Tobacco alkaloids that make quitting difficult. Try googleing “Tobacco harm reduction”.

  13. eldergias says:

    I’m not okay with telling Tobacco companies what to charge. If people want to suck down poison when they are adults, that is their choice. Let the companies charge whatever they wish. What regulators should do is:

    -Have separate insurance categories for smokers, so rates aren’t higher for non-smokers because of smoker choices
    -Make all public smoking illegal, so non-smokers aren’t harmed by smokers
    -Make smoking in private in the presence of minors illegal, since they can’t really protect themselves

    This would still leave friends and families of smokers in the lurch when the person poisons them-self to death, but we can’t make dumb choices for people illegal without losing even more of the integrity of this country.

    • mindaika says:

      I agree with almost everything you said, except:

      At no point is anyone telling tobacco producers or end marketers “what to charge.” What they are telling them is how much tax the government needs to receive for each pack. You can freely charge less if you’d like, and just pay the tax out of your business profits. Your choice.

      • eldergias says:

        You’re correct. I worded that poorly. My point was that the government is trying to limit tobacco use via taxes because they think people shouldn’t be doing it. I disagree with the government telling people what they can and can’t (should or shouldn’t) put in their bodies, so long as it isn’t physically harming other people.

  14. OldSchool says:

    All it would do is creat yet another scourge of organized crime.

  15. Important Business Man (Formerly Will Print T-shirts For Food) says:

    I can buy 1/4 ounce of weed for that much!

    • Captain Spock says:

      really? Must not be very good Weed… 1/4 costs 120 in chicago

      • Important Business Man (Formerly Will Print T-shirts For Food) says:

        ‚ô´‚ô´Chicago is SOOO two years ago ‚ô´‚ô´

      • McRib wants to know if you've been saved by the Holy Clown says:

        No. Chicago is just pricey.


      • DrunkenMessiah says:

        Because you are in Chicago: easily one of the worst places to buy ganja in the USA. The area has precious little domestic product, nearly all bud has to be smuggled in at great expense. Then you have the protection money as, even now, very little significantly lucrative crime goes on in that area without the appropriate politicians/mob members getting their cut. By the time weed makes it into an actual consumer’s hands in Chicago it has been marked up many times.

        Compare that to Denver. You can get high grade (not top shelf, but close) bud for $25 an 1/8 ounce all day every day. There is a considerable price hike to get the best stuff, but ‘mids’ in Denver would be sold as ‘chronic’ in most other places.

        • Important Business Man (Formerly Will Print T-shirts For Food) says:

          I’m moving to Denver. Do they have internet there?

  16. Jared The Geek says:

    I say put an end to this nanny state BS. People who are obese and their related health problems cost more so next it will be on sugary foods, then liquor again. For all this progressive movement nonsense they want Tobacco to cost more than Marijuana. I say live and let die.

    • Tegan says:

      With you 100%. The government has no place legislating morality or health or whatever. I don’t even smoke anymore, but I don’t think it’s the government’s business at all to be trying to get people to quit. This shit is getting old.

  17. MrMagoo is usually sarcastic says:

    How long can cigarettes be stored and remain ‘fresh’? I don’t smoke, but I’m thinking that these might be a good investment.

    • Slader says:

      If kept at the proper temperature and humidity (about 65-70 degrees and 65-70%) tobacco will stay usable for quite a long time (50+ years). I would be more concerned about the paper with which it is wrapped as paper tends to degrade over time.

    • KashmirKong says:

      I recently found an opened but almost full pack of smokes in an old jacket. Had to have been in there at least 5 years by my count. A little dry but perfectly smokable.

    • HogwartsProfessor says:

      If unopened, they will probably last quite a long time. Once you crack the seal, the paper gets really dry and goes *POOF* when you light them. Also affects the taste.

      *former smoker

  18. jsweitz says:

    Raising taxes on cigarettes causes a drop in cigarette purchases. This they’re willing to admit.

    Raising taxes on investments (capital gains tax/Buffett tax) will cause a drop in investments. Why are the politicians not willing to admit this?

  19. bhr says:

    Government could just outlaw them under any number of legal arguments, but won’t because they are addicted to the tax revenues (and lawsuit proceeds).

  20. eddison72 says:

    This is a fantastic idea! It will work well – just like the red light cameras that reduce all of those intersection accidents! Yeah, it’s not about an easy cash grab for the state from groups of people that we have been made to demonize as “unsafe” or “unhealthy”… My trusted government would never do such a thing unless it was in the name of a greater cause! I’m sure they give all that money in fines and taxes away to starving children… Let’s regulate more behaviors of other people who we don’t like and aren’t us!

  21. Kevin says:

    It would just force cigarettes out of legitimate retailers and into the black market. People would buy stolen cigarettes or cigarettes imported from other countries whose governments weren’t overstepping that particular boundary.

  22. thedarkerside.to says:

    Seriously, what’s it with the obsession over smoking? There are many more things that kill people left right and center (to name a few: noise, general air pollution, food), and yet, politicians in all countries keep hammering away at smoking which pales in comparison to all of the other items I listed (and many I didn’t).

    If politicians seriously thought it was such a detriment to society they should finish the job and just outright ban the sale of cigarettes and any smoking paraphernalia. Heck, Nicotine surely qualifies to be classified the same as MJ.

    But let’s be honest here, this isn’t about the public, or even individuals, health. This is about job security for Politicians who can grand stand on an issue without being called out for it, after all, we all know smoking kills, now ignore that belching truck and the line of cars idling at the intersection.

  23. Pagan wants a +1 button says:

    It’ll pass, and then someone will get the bright idea to do the same in the US. Not because they care about smokers’ health, but because any thinking person knows that eventually they’ll have to admit that smoking isn’t as bad as they say and explain why they’re demonizing a segment of society. Or they’ll have to admit it is as bad as they say and explain why they let it remain legal.

    Gotta do that quick cash grab before anyone catches on! And it will work, because who would stand up for smokers?

  24. dolemite says:

    Not really a fan of smoking, but I’m less of a fan of government telling us what we can and can’t do with our bodies. It will start with cigs, then beer, then soda, then anything with X grams of fat until only the rich are enjoying vices and the rest of us subsist on grey nutritional paste.

  25. MrObvious says:

    No, it would just create a huge black market

  26. Geekybiker says:

    Meh. Require them to have health insurance that will cover the inevitable consequences and let them kill themselves if they want. I don’t care so long as I don’t end up paying for their health care.

  27. rushevents says:

    Ummm…. if the government thinks they are so bad that they would pass such an outrageous tax why don’t they just make them illegal?

    Oh right, that would make it look like they were stamping out our freedoms one by one so making them too expensive to buy is definitely the better way to go.

  28. Bionic Data Drop says:

    I have no problem with this…as long as they make a case of beer $200 and a fast food burger $50. Then we can all live forever!

  29. humphrmi says:

    I’m generally of the attitude “legalize it and tax it” to eliminate the shady illegal black market for most vices, however making a pack of cigarettes cost $81 per pack is effectively outlawing them, which will only make the shady illegal black market stronger. My prediction: if they pass this, the black market for cigarettes will setlle at about $20 per pack and the government revenue on cigarette taxes will go from whatever positive amount they make now to zero.

  30. shepd says:

    Yes, it would put an end to purchasing real cigs. Instead, people will buy e-cigs and nicotine patches/gum. Or they may turn to other vices. Just let people do what the fuck they want already, sheesh.

  31. NumberSix says:

    I say just make it illegal to smoke anywhere but inside a private home. You want to kill yourself, fine. But keep your smoke and butts in your house.

    • cspschofield says:

      That’s fine, except that there is more solid evidence that sexually active Gay males are a threat to public health than that smokers are. The whole “secondhand smoke” thing is palpable nonsense, once you actually start digging. The EPA study (on which so many anti-smoking laws are based) admits on (as I recall) PP. 3-36 that the highest concentration of “environmental tobacco smoke” they expect to find in the real world would amount (assuming constant exposure) to directly smoking two fifths of a cigarette a day. Actual studies of concentrations found in typical smoking-friendlt bars have found even lower concentrations to be the max. Needless to say, such studies are not referred to much.

      Basically, the anti-smoking movement has become a Crusade. Telling the truth didn’t get them what they wanted, so they started lying “for our own good”.

      A pox on them.

    • Theoncomingstorm says:

      While you’re at it, make it illegal to operate your diesel engine or poorly operating gasoline engine anywhere other than inside your home.

  32. Starrion says:

    Black market in 3…2…1…

    If they make the taxes just high enough to make it expensive and inconvenient but not high enough to make smuggling profitable, that is the best solution.

  33. shufflemoomin says:

    Why not just let people be responsible adults and if they want to do something that might kill them, LET THEM DO IT.

    • zombie_batch says:

      Probably because the original pilgrims to America were Puritans, whose successors had a large influence later on in ending the Age of Enlightenment in America, and then carried so on and so forth to today where a large majority of the population thinks it their right and responsibility to meddle in the affair’s of everyone else.

      • cspschofield says:

        The Pilgrims learned the hard way that the price of a stable society was to let your neighbors go to Hell in their own way, even when you KNEW there was a Hell, and that they were going there. Pity the modern do-gooders have forgotten.

      • madanthony says:

        I’m pretty sure there weren’t a lot of pilgrims or Puritans in New Zealand, which is what the article is about.

        • zombie_batch says:

          Calm down and quit looking to be the douche who pokes holes in everything anyone on the internet says. Poster shuffie didn’t ask why this was happening in New Zealand, they asked a general question. Good job with the comprehension.

  34. milkcake says:

    $81… hahaha… you know what’s gonna happen? It’s gonna be things people still want, but now can be even used instead of cash. It’s going to be great for illegal activity.

    • milkcake says:

      Just saying, I don’t smoke so I am not particular to either increase or decrease in price. I don’t even dislike people smoking either. People say smoking is bad, but so does a LOT of things we do. I just hate the taste in my mouth after smoking so I don’t smoke.

  35. Hungry Dog says:

    I’ll just switch to weed or cocaine. It would be much cheaper in comparison then or I can just invest in more booze. Maybe I could grow my own tobacco illegally, Science knows there are enough of those bloody indoor gardening shops around.

  36. ovalseven says:

    My idea: Make the stop-smoking aids like nicotine gum and lozenges less expensive. It’s still cheaper to smoke than it is to quit.

    Yes, I know you’d save money in the future, but not everyone has a large amount to spend right now.

  37. RiverStyX says:

    No, it would create a black market of untaxed cigarettes from canada and mexico. They’re already here if you know who to talk to (Or just want to make a quick trip to TJ..) and cost about 1/2 the price of american cigarettes, and they’re actually “Superior” in the fact that they don’t use FSC paper..FSC paper is known for tasting awful and doesn’t save people from killing themselves anyway.

    This is already kinda going on since Bongo decided to ban clove cigarettes. They’re still out there, but you have to buy them online..From what I remember, now they’re easier to find with more varieties/brands then available before, and best of all the government doesn’t make a dime off of a sale so the prices are typically better than regular cigarettes..Despite being more expensive prior to the ban.

    Funny how it works when the government tries to run your life, people are opportunistic as hell to show them otherwise and they make money in the process..Kinda like drugs, y’know? The country’s #1 most wanted man is only so because of drugs. Just because something is banned or priced high doesn’t mean the world stops, it just diverts the money into somebody else’s hands.

    The import pharmaceutical industry also borrows the same idea..Pills that are $15 a piece in the states might be two for $1 in canada or a mexican pharmacy.

    /From an ex-smoker.

  38. SilverBlade2k says:

    Wow, they are totally doing it the wrong way.

    Want to end smoking? pass a law that says any smoker has to pay for 100% of their health costs – everything. From seeing a doctor for a minor cold, to a multi-thousand dollar operation.

    You might see people quit if they have to choose between smoking, and getting their health care paid for.

  39. voogru says:

    This will create more organized crime, and guess what, then we’ll need an even bigger government to protect us.

    From problems that they caused.

    Stop trying to legislate good habits, it doesn’t work.

  40. videoman says:

    The current government approach in the US is not about preventing smoking. The government just takes advantage of people’s addictions for an easy revenue stream.

  41. codexile says:

    Sheesh, let people do whatever they want.

  42. cspschofield says:

    And the smokeasies are already in place. I remember reading a New Yorker article some years back about the unlicensed social clubs in Manhattan and the Five Burroughs that catered to the illegal alien market. The author mentioned in passing that everybody present in most of them smoked.

  43. shadowboxer524 says:

    $81? Let’s make it $1,000! That’ll teach those dirty lung smokers! THEN they’ll quit for sure!

  44. zombie_batch says:

    YES, Raise the price rather than educate people. They’ll see that price tag and say: “O-M-G These things seriously increase my chances of %bad thing%!!! I quit! Forever!”

    Yep. That’s exactly what will happen. No need to educate people so they can choose for themselves; better to just try and curb that whole ‘free will’ thing by effectively removing the choice of “Do I choose to smoke tobacco?” for supposedly free people by pricing it out of reach and/or effectively making it illegal if they obtained it through less immediately expensive means (cigs dealer). This concept worked really well for alcohol too, I’ve heard. Make it so!

    • milkcake says:

      Educate? You kidding me right? Everybody knows it’s bad. It’s been drilled to our head since kindergarten. It says right on the box of cigarette. They still do it anyway. There are so many things that people are educated but do it anyway from unsafe sex, alcohol, eating too much, or even go on trips that are dangerous. People do it for whatever reason they have that although knowing fully aware of the consequences, they decide it’s worth it.

  45. JJFIII says:

    So have you taken into account ALL monetary issues related to smoking? Smokers are less productive, they call in sick more often AND they take more breaks. If they are government workers that means your tax dollars are going to pay for their time off, or their smoke breaks.
    There are plenty of ways to hold down health care costs, but dying younger is NOT the one that intellectual people go for.

  46. technoreaper says:

    Wow, for more on how this will be a failure, see the War on Drugs.

  47. HogwartsProfessor says:

    You can’t make a substance legal and then pull this shit. I predict an increase in holdups where the robber demands cartons of smokes.

    Besides, if my life goes down the tubes and I want to smoke myself to death, who are you to say I can’t? I won’t be taking advantage of your healthcare anyway.

  48. B2BigAl says:

    I love all the self righteousness in the comments of every tobacco related article. Like you’re somehow better than people that smoke, get over yourselves. I guarantee you, almost every one of you has a vice of your own, and you’d be mighty pissed if the government tried to take it away by taxing it out of existence. I don’t smoke, but I also don’t think I have a right to tell anyone else how to live their lives, and I’m certainly not bigoted towards those who do. That’s right, persecuting people for smoking makes you a bigot, in case you don’t understand the definition.

  49. crazydavythe1st says:

    That’s the problem with sin taxes. Sometimes, they actually work. Then how do you balance your budget?

  50. piror says:

    It is a fact that increasing costs and social pressure do make it more likely that people will quit, contrary to what people say. However, of course, people often do continue to smoke even when the price is hiked and hiked.

    I say keep hiking it. $81 is bullshit though, regardless of what I personally feel. You’re definitely going to promote a black market at that cost. It needs to be high, very high in fact, but still just about within people’s reach. People are seriously lazy, and would rather buy it somewhere with ease than act like they’re a teenager again, trying to score some marijuana in a parking lot somewhere.

  51. mydailydrunk says:

    They should look up “Unintended Consequences” in the dictionary first.

    Smoking trends are curving downward through social pressures and health risk awareness, by raising the price to such astronomical levels, indeed, the criminal element will step in, along with associated violence and ancillary criminal activities because why waste a smuggling operation on only 1 product.

  52. pgr says:

    At least smokers end up dying early. I think we should give them 5 packs a day just to get rid of them sooner.

    Nothing grosser than to see a bunch of slugs outside a store, restaurant, etc puffing away and throwing their debris on the ground.

    I can’t even stand to drive behind these idiots with my windows open because the smoke comes in my car and chokes me.

    Raise the federal tax to $1 per butt! Tax the shit out of the growers at the source. Let people grow their own if they like but don’t help them out with their disgusting habbit!

    Perhaps we should give them a lifetime membership at a tanning salon to help speed up the end of their addiction to tobacco ;)

  53. SPOON - now with Forkin attitude says:

    Just make them prescription.

  54. zibby says:

    It wouldn’t end smoking but at least the mob would have an exciting new line of business.

  55. HyMinded says:

    Really hard to say where the tipping point is between convenience and fueling a black market? It would have to be a moving number over time. I think that because New Zealand is an island–a fairly sparsely populated one outside of the main cities, the goal of reducing tobacco use would be attainable.

  56. Maltboy wanders aimlessly through the Uncanny Valley says:

    Yes because prohibition has proven to be so successful. Every time.

    While we’re at it let’s enact the following laws:

    Death penalty for posession of any controlled substance.
    Death penalty for DWI.
    Death penalty for prostitution.
    Death penalty for all violent crimes.

    That’ll fix everything.

    • SilverBlade2k says:

      Well, there’s something to be said about harsher sentences.

      Take some middle-eastern countries, for example. If a person is caught stealing – their hand is cut off. Cruel, but I bet the person caught wouldn’t steal again.

      Cruel, but I bet it’s amazingly effective.

  57. Tacojelly says:

    Would it stop smoking by most people? Maybe… but it’ll sure make many people mad.

    I am not opposed to ending tobacco use necessarily, but if an entire industry is being taken down through legislative action in the interest of public health… why aren’t we capping prices for medicine and dismantling the health insurance industry?

    …yes, I know this is New Zealand not the us

  58. DragonThermo says:

    Actually, marijuana, cocaine, and heroin will cost LESS than tobacco.

    Considering the rousing success that Prohibition was on the sale and consumption of alcohol and what a rousing success the current War on Drugs is having on the sale and consumption of marijuana, cocaine, heroin, and methamphetamines, surely doing the same thing for tobacco will have the result they expect with absolutely no negative results.

    Good on ya, Kiwis!

  59. AdviceDog says:

    MAYBE A LITTLE LESS HYPERBOLE and a few more, “Well, I don’t talk through a hole in my throat, but I get winded going up one flight of stairs, and I really regret it.”

  60. Razor512 says:

    It wont stop smoking instead it will have the same effect as the drug war, and create additional violence as people resort to violence in order to buy their cancer sticks

    In countries that have decriminalized most drugs, violent crime goes down between 50-80% (eg look at countries like Portugal and many others that have decriminalized)

    The mean reason for the reduction in crime is cartels can no longer profit from the drugs, and even some of the lowest income people can afford lethal doses of the various drugs without resorting to violence.

    So with the understanding that people will take harmful drugs regardless of what the government does, you let people do their drugs and all of the damage is restricted to them self.

    in those countries, drug use also went down as people are more willing to see treatment for addiction since they know that they wont be put in jail for using the drugs