Pack Of Cigarettes 'May Rise To $100' In NZ
The cost of a packet of cigarettes in New Zealand could rise to as much as $100 dollars - around £50 - by 2020 amid moves to stamp out smoking.
The Ministry of Health wants New Zealand to be smoke free by 2025 and the suggested increase gives the first hint of the drastic measures being discussed.
A document released under the Official Information Act to the country's 3 News website features a number of pricing scenarios - with the most extreme showing a single cigarette costing the equivalent of £2.50.
One option being considered is a 10% increase on a pack of 20 cigarettes year-on-year from 2013 to 2025, meaning it would cost $40 (£20) a pack by 2024.
But a second scenario would see packs at $100 each by 2020, achieved by an immediate shock rise of 30% to 60%, with on-going increases of 30% each year after that.
This model would reach the 2025 target to stamp out smoking completely, but is described in the paper as "probably unrealistic".
The most likely model would see a shock tax increase next year, and then a 10%-a-year rise, which would mean a packet of cigarettes costs around $60 (£30) by 2025.
Other ideas discussed in the document include regulating tobacco as a highly toxic substance, a ban on smoking in cars with children, a doubling of anti-smoking media campaigns and removing tobacco from duty-free sale.
The briefing paper said: "If we are to continue to lower smoking prevalence we need to both increase the numbers who successfully quit smoking, and reduce smoking initiation among young people.
"Tobacco taxation is the single most effective intervention available to drive down smoking prevalence figures."
The Ministry of Health has said that the paper is an internal policy discussion and does not represent Government policy.