One of the most effective tools to stop people taking up smoking and encourage smokers to quit is to increase the price of cigarettes and tobacco. The New Zealand Government has annually raised the excise tax on tobacco since 2010, and has committed to continue this annual increase until at least 2016. A key source of New Zealand data on youth smoking is the Health Promotion Agency’s (HPA’s) Youth Insights Survey (YIS). The YIS monitors Year 10 students’ behaviours, attitudes and knowledge on a range of tobacco-related topics, including about their opinions on the taxation of tobacco.
To regularly monitor young people’s opinions about tobacco control and aid the development of appropriate health promotion strategies, respondents in the 2012 YIS answered a few questions about their opinion on tobacco taxation.
Responses to these questions were examined by:
• smoking status
2.current smokers (smoke at least monthly)
3.ex (no longer smoke) and experimental (smoke less often than monthly) smokers
•susceptibility to smoking
1.non-susceptible never smokers (who said they would ‘definitely not’ accept a cigarette offered by their best friend or smoke a cigarette during the next 12 months)
2.susceptible never smokers
When looking at the differences by ethnicity and gender we have controlled for smoking status. This means that we take into account whether or not a respondent smokes, to ensure that any differences found by ethnicity or gender are not in fact due to the respondent’s own smoking status. Only those differences between groups that were statistically significant (p<.05) are reported.
The majority of New Zealand Year 10 students agreed with the potential tobacco taxation measures. Around two-thirds of New Zealand Year 10 students agreed that tax on cigarettes and tobacco should be increased every year, and three-quarters agreed that the extra money gained through tobacco taxation should be used to help smokers who want to quit.
Those who had never smoked and ex/experimental smokers were more likely than current smokers to agree with annual tax increases and that tobacco tax should be used to help smokers quit.
Although current smokers were less likely than others to agree with the potential taxation measures, one in six did agree that tax on cigarettes and tobacco should be increased every year, and one in two that the extra money gained through tobacco taxation should be used to help smokers who want to quit (Figure 1).
Rates of overall agreement with potential tobacco taxation measures for young people are similar to those previously found for the general public.