Call for govt to ban duty-free cigarette sales
A group of University of Otago academics went scavenging for empty cigarette packs in four cities and six towns.
All told, they collected 1310 binned packs. 45% of the scavenged ciggies were from Australia, and 16.7% were from China. Brands sold in 11 other countries completed the pile.
All up, 3.2% came from outside the country - meaning lost tax revenue for New Zealand.
From his team’s street sweep, lead researcher Dr Nick Wilson extrapolates that our government misses out on at least $36 million in lost tobacco tax and GST.
Dr Wilson told the government’s Health Research Council (HRC) that one of the major tobacco companies last year reported that duty free sales accounted for 7% of its revenue.
Ban sale of duty-free cigarettes
“The scale of this revenue loss and the health implications are a strong argument for the government to consider ending the sale of duty free tobacco on entry to New Zealand,” Dr Wilson told HRC News.
The Otago academic would also like to see the government remove any duty-free allowance for incoming passengers. Singapore has already instituted such a ban.
The study, carried out by the Univesity of Otago's Department of Public Health, was part of a global study called The International Tobacco Control Project whose full findings have been published in the international journal Tobacco Control.