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Smokefree voters need to be wary of a vaping tax - AVCA

Fuseworks Media
Fuseworks Media

Vaping Kiwis and smokefree supporters still to vote need to be aware that the implementation of an excise tax on vaping products is a possibility if the Greens hold the balance of power, says Aotearoa Vapers Community Advocacy (AVCA).

The Greens have publicly stated they do not support changes to the existing tobacco tax scheme, but they do support introducing an excise tax on vaping products.

"Huge tobacco excise has long failed our poorer communities. The prospect of also adding an excise tax to vaping - the world’s most effective smoking cessation tool - makes no sense. Smokers switch to vaping because it’s 95% less harmful and considerably cheaper on the family budget. Implementing an excise tax on vaping products would simply see fewer smokers quit cigarettes," says Nancy Loucas, Co-director of AVCA.

Her comments follow the New Zealand Taxpayers’ Union releasing the findings of its survey on political parties’ positions on tobacco and vaping taxes.

According to NZTU, ACT does not support any changes to the tobacco tax scheme and has ruled out supporting a vaping excise tax. National and Labour have not stated their positions on supporting any changes to the tobacco tax scheme or the implementation of a vaping excise tax.

New Zealand First is the only party to confirm their position on tobacco and vaping taxes. The party has proposed lowering tobacco excise so that the average packet of cigarettes is no more than $20. It would also introduce a health strategy which would look at subsidising alternatives to help long-term smokers quit.

New Zealand First has publicly promoted the removal of tax from smoking cessation tools, more addiction services, and to make more affordable smoking alternatives available.

AVCA does not take political sides but notes that several polls consistently point to the Greens more likely to be in the next Government than New Zealand First. That means the Greens’ policy to implement an excise tax on vaping products is a distinct possibility, particularly if Labour needs them to form a Government.

"For those yet to vote, particularly supporters of a smokefree country and the 200,000 Kiwi vapers, we just ask that they consider the impact of a new tax on vaping products," says Ms Loucas

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