The government of New Zealand is considering boosting the cost of a pack of cigarettes to $100 by 2020, according to an internal document obtained by a news station.
A working paper presented to the country’s Health Minister Tony Ryall recommended a drastic price hike to reduce smoking in young people, reported 3 News Television.
The TV station had obtained the discussion paper through a freedom of information request.
The paper recommends an initial $60 price hike in 2013 and then 10 per cent every year until it hits $100.
The document comes from the New Zealand Institute of Economic Research (NZIER), which said that a goal of an almost smoke-free country is achievable by 2025 if the government took extreme measures in terms of pricing.
NZIER’s paper said a test simulation discovered a massive price boost in the first year would cut the number of people smoking by half in just a year.
"Tobacco taxation is the single most effective intervention available to drive down smoking prevalence figures," concluded the paper.
The government’s goal is to reduce the portion of smokers in the country to 5 per cent by 2025.
At the moment, there are an estimated 650,000 smokers in New Zealand – which is about 15 per cent of its total population of 4.37 million.