Quitline has reported a very busy start to 2015 with 1,685 New Zealanders signing up to use its quitting support services in the first seven days of January.
Quitline attributes the high number of people quitting to the 10% increase in tobacco excise that came into effect on the 1 January.
“A price increase always prompts smokers to try to quit the addiction. While the Government sets the 10% excise increase, some people don’t realise that the proportion of this that is passed on to the consumer is actually determined by the tobacco industry,” says Quitline Chief Executive, Paula Snowden.
She continues, “This year we’ve seen big cost increases across most tobacco brands. One of the cheaper packs of 20, for example, has gone up by 21% this year. It cost $15 in 2014 and it is now$18.20. That’s an extra $3.20 a pack! The cost of one of the cheaper packets of 30g of loose tobacco has increased by $5.60 (from $32.90 to $38.50).
“Other reasons people are telling us that they want to quit are for their families and their health. A lot of people have spoken of New Year’s resolutions to get fit and healthy. Others have mentioned things like lower insurance premiums or just being sick of it.”
New Zealanders from all over the country have signed up to Quitline support this January, with Cantabrians leading the way (12%), followed closely by those living in the Auckland region.
Quitline’s phone lines (0800 778 778) are open from 8.00am to 9.30pm Monday to Friday and from 10.00am to 7:30pm on Sunday. Advisors are ready to talk to anyone who wants to chat about quitting. By signing up to Quitline’s website www.quit.org.nz, people can access a full quit smoking support programme. They can also order subsidised patches, gum and lozenges online.