How much would cigarettes have to cost for smokers to quit?
God love ‘em, but there is no demographic on earth more stubborn than smokers.
‘Cause, come on: they’re not dumb. Each smoker knows the risks, knows the substantial, detailed information on what a lifetime of smoking is likely to do to your body, so it’s fair to say everyone that lights up willingly enters this dangerous contract. This, you would think, is not in dispute.
So, then, what’s a nation to do? For countries like Canada, whose publicly-funded healthcare system is bogged by smokers, we tax, tax, tax. Increases of a few cents here and there, a few dollars each pack over the course of a decade.
But you would say, by and large, this has failed. For every smoker you know that’s cut back because of increasing prices, you know ten that smoke the same but just gripe more about how much it’s costing them. So we wonder … what is the number that would finally price smokers out of their habit?
The question comes up because of some drastic, applauded-in-many-circles news out of New Zealand.
*Bing: Where are cigarettes cheapest in Canada?
According to documents released under the country’s Official Information Act, New Zealand’s Ministry of Health is considering* bumping the price of cigarettes by a stupefying margin over the next decade-plus.
Under one proposal, which aims to make New Zealand smoke-free by 2025, a pack of cigarettes would increase 10 per cent each year from 2013 to 2025, bringing the retail tag to $40 per at the end of the term.
But for fear that all the $40-a-pack proposal will do is simply make regular smokers broke smokers, New Zealand wants to go bigger still.
Under another proposal from the Ministry of Health, prices would instead hike between 30 and 60 per cent each year between 2013 to 2025. A pack by the end of this term would cost a staggering $100 per.
Cost of each cigarette of a $100 20-pack? Five dollars.
Do you think pricing out smokers – literally, mandating the cost of smoking be too great for the average consumer to bear – is the right direction, or merely another example of government way overstepping its boundaries?
By Jason Buckland, MSN Money
*The New Zealand Ministry of Health has said its proposals are, at the moment, for internal policy discussion and does not represent government policy.
Posted by: Mike | Apr 26, 2021 2:28:58 PM
This concept has been tested over and over again in economics...
Pricing cigarettes at $100/pack would mean less tax revenue for the government and would hardly make a difference in the number of people smoking.
I won't bother explaining why just yet...it will be fun to watch people tell me how crazy I am.
Posted by: Joe | Apr 26, 2021 4:22:13 PM
This will just drive it underground. The smuggling smoke business will boom.
Posted by: John | Apr 27, 2021 9:33:36 AM
I stopped when the price of a pack was 55 cents, and not because it was too expensive. I no longer enjoyed it. It was a dirty, disgusting habit and it gives you cancer, as my dad found out eventually and died the most horrible death I have ever withnessed.
Posted by: Steve | Apr 28, 2021 1:02:23 AM
That pretty much matches the inflation rate.
Posted by: johnbean | Apr 28, 2021 1:22:48 AM
Hey reduce the price and let them smoke in a controlled room. Then when they get sick it keeps our surgeons in top practice cutting the dumb ones up. Also drain their bank accounts a little at a time. And to help women stop smoking, think about this; every time I see a woman smoke I totally ignore her as if she was invisible to me, no matter how good looking she is; she is a dog with a butt in hand and definitely not sexy at all.
Posted by: DrVex007 | Apr 28, 2021 2:53:01 AM
I should start by saying that I am a non-smoker. Having said that, pricing cigarettes higher would do nothing at all. Well almost nothing. It would just drive the illegal contraband cigarette market. The Government knows that should they make cigarettes unaccessible by price or availability, the underworld market would quickly and easily fill the gap. To stop that underground market, the Government would have to approach a certain "culture" and ask them to stop maiking them, which they won't and thereby causing the inevitable conflict that would definitely get ugly. So the Government is stuck. Sure tax revenue would decrease, but the health costs associated with smokers are ENORMOUS. So given the choice, I bet that Governments would abolish Cigarettes, but they can't and they know it. So they tighten the reigns just a little bit each decade and hope the decrease continues.
Posted by: Jess | Apr 28, 2021 6:21:50 AM
Same tired old arguments. Cigarettes are bad for you. But alcohol, inactive lifestyle and greasy prossessed foods are OK?
Cigarettes will kill you. So, nobody who smokes dies from any other cause? And non smokers don't get cancer or any "smoke related" illness?
Smoking increases health care costs. Let's see, Rothmans's own estimates are that it costs $2.70 to produce and deliver one package of cigarettes. That package now costs anywhere between $9.00 and $13.00 in Alberta. Take the middle ground at $11.00. Statscan calculates smokers in 2011 at 18% of the Canadian population (estimated at 35 million). So, 6,300,000 smokers. Each one consumes approximately one package per day. That's $8.30 per person per day in profits and taxes. Be generous. Say half that is profits. $4.15 per day for 6 million, 300 thousand people. Do the math. Smokers contribute $26,145,000 per day in taxes! The question should be what is the government doing with all that money?
How about the social costs of Alcohol and other drugs? Crime, broken families, foetal alcohol syndrome, etc, etc.? I'd suggest that the holier than thou proponents of marginalizing smokers might be better focussed on more pressing issues.
Posted by: Bob | Apr 28, 2021 7:14:15 AM
I like Jess's thinking!
So for all you non smokers are you willing to be taxed at a similar rate to make up for this lost tax revenue for your government to waste? Smoking is still legal as far as I am aware! Imagine the added burden to gov'ts coffers to police a war on smokers. Like we see the wasted money going to 100,000$ cops to try to stop the drug trade in pot and it is not working.
Let smokers be! Contrary to belief that smokers cost our healthcare more money it is the non smokers who languish longer with their illnesses that really add to the cost of prolong healthcare.
Smokers generally die quick and it is our choice and we pay our share!
So where do you nonsmokers want the added tax bite. I am all for it and willing to quit if you pickup the tab for lost tax revenue
Posted by: Dan | Apr 28, 2021 8:06:00 AM
it would just create an even bigger black market market in canada..this has got to be the dumbest thing i have ever read in the last 15 minutes of my life..lolwhile your at it tax booze and things that make you fat to phenominal proportions and dont stop there..tax all run on sentences
Posted by: Tony | Apr 28, 2021 8:57:08 AM
This will only increase the driving trade of contraband cigarettes, although some websites such as ioffer provide cheap cartons of marlboros from china or vietnam while ebay and honey rose offer herbal cigarettes. It has already started in terms of a black market since flavoured cigars such as colts became banned, some people stocked up on as many as they could afford while others turned to the streets for their beloved nicotine products
Posted by: dano | Apr 28, 2021 9:01:17 AM
Do any of you people realize that you can grow your own tobacco very cheaply. Unless they start the new war on drugs including tobacco in to the list? Look at the great results in mexico central america from that no drugs or dead people here or there. I guess while their at it they had better tax doughnuts, fast food and vidio games and cell phones they are killing as many or more than smoking drugs or alcoho. Take cell phones every kid from ten years old has a cell phone and is on it steady yet govenment has never had a real study on its effect on the brain of humans but it will cook a rats brain.l
Posted by: LJ | Apr 28, 2021 9:09:43 AM
I am a smoker and I think driving up the cost will do no good. We smoke because of addiction. I am tired of non smokers pointing their god like fingers at us! We know it's bad and it will kill us. ADDICTION!!!! I wish I could stop. It is not that easy. It is the most addictive thing on the planet. You non smokers have no idea what it feels like to be addicted to something like that so keep quiet! Why don't you stop driving your cars and SUVs. They are polluting the air and I am tired of breathing it in when I walk! But seriously, I wish the government would just make it illegal! It is really hard to quit when everywhere I go, I see people smoking. I have tried numerous times but there is no support. It's on TV, on the street, it's everywhere. They should have treatment centres for smokers to "dry out" and get help like there are for alcoholics and other drug addicts. Afterall nicotine is a drug and the withdrawal is very much real and debilitating.
Posted by: Bob | Apr 28, 2021 9:21:55 AM
LJ- you can take a Rx drug called Champix and it works 90% of time to stop smoking. You are coping out calling it an addiction.
Posted by: LJ | Apr 28, 2021 9:25:04 AM
I am epileptic so no I can't take dugs to qiit. I have inquired about it and zyban. I have tried the patch, the gum, the inhaler, hypnosis..... It is an addiction. There are numerous case studies to back it up. It is both physical and mental. If it were not there would not be cessation drugs and other things to help with the cravings.
Posted by: LJ | Apr 28, 2021 9:30:09 AM
Bob- Ask people who have successfully quit. God bless you guys that have! (I will join you guys one day) The cravings are horrible... I have quit for a peroid of time before and I couldn't take it, I wasn't strong enough. Alot of ex smokers say even after 10 years they still get cravings once in a while. My husband who has been smoke free for 5 years still craves them every so often. He says it never goes away completely.
Posted by: Bob | Apr 28, 2021 9:30:50 AM
Gov't estimates of only 20% of people being smokers is not justified by the actual sale of even legal tobacco. Not to mention the contraband tobacco sales. That would mean we smokers smoke a carton a day which is not realistic. There are as many closet smokers as dope smokers who hide from society there use. Let's get real here people.
It is a cash cow for gov't to tax on our sins and it provides lots of cop jobs to enforce. Like a sealt belt law on the known 2% of staunch non wearers. Seems rediculus to me to pay a cop over 100,000$ to enforce a law on two percent of people. They could do more police work worth this salary!
Posted by: Keith | Apr 28, 2021 10:11:04 AM
Hidden government taxes on smokes is the main life line of funds for our healthcare system. If everyone quit smoking tomorrow we'd have no healthcare.
Smokers are footing your healthcare bill just remember that. If you think smokers cost the healthcare system more then they dish out to it then your all sadly mistaken. Your doctors fees and your useless flu shots are paid for by us smokers.
It's the ultimate slap in the face for people with addictions. Like hitting a man when he's down.
Posted by: Bob | Apr 28, 2021 9:21:55 AM
"LJ- you can take a Rx drug called Champix and it works 90% of time to stop smoking. You are coping out calling it an addiction."
That's a nice thought Bob, but in all seriousness, it's safer to keep smoking.
Posted by: danimama | Apr 28, 2021 10:16:23 AM
After 31 years of smoking I quit without the use of medication, nicotine substitutes...etc. What I did do is read a book. I know it sounds silly but it worked for me. The book is by Allen Carr and it's called " The easy way to stop smoking". Just to put you at ease a bit, you smoke while you read it. It's wort h shot.
I'm in my 3rd month of freedom!
Posted by: jud | Apr 28, 2021 10:40:50 AM
Thanks Jess for doing the math...your right we as smokers pay for our health care.
Another thing to think about is that all of the chemicals sprayed on tabacco plants are also sprayed on fruits and vegetables that we consume; so either way you are getting your dose of toxins. The fact we can wash our food before we eat it may make a little difference; it is probably neglegiable.
Each person's body is made up of different chemicals and the addition of other chemicals to that make-up will effect each system differently. Think logically. A perfume may smell wonderful on one person and awful on another. This same reasoning applies to all chemicals we put in our body. Everyone can have a different reaction to different additives. For example, smoke cessation pills; many people have bad reactions to these drugs and can't use them to quit smoking as LJ stated. I have never understood how substituting one drug for another can be considered an intelligent alternative. The best only way to quit is "cold turkey" (Instead of our money going to the government through taxing cigarettes; now we are giving large pharmicutical complanies the cash!) We have no idea how the cessation drugs will affect our bodies and yet people are willing to take a chance. The devil you know! Cigarettes are bad for your overall health but to say they are the reason for all deaths is crazy!!
I have smoked for a lot of years and so far, knock on wood I have not been a burden on our health care system and I am tired of getting blamed for what is clearly and inefficient system. When I die, no matter what the cause no one is going to be able to say it was the smoking for certain. I have spent years spraying chemicals, breathing in toxic fumes from equiptment, stuck inside buildings with recirculating air, eating over processed food, ect. There is no way to tell which chemical will finally kill me.
We all have to die some day; and I choose to smoke for now, pay my way and take my chance...
Posted by: Tom M | Apr 28, 2021 10:59:20 AM
For the brainwashed,anti smoking fanatical,radical activists - this issue is their band wagon to ride.
They should be happy that they got the tax up as high as it is without consequences.
I think they should back off on trying to get the price higher but educating the kids is good. Don't treat us like criminals. Its easy for them to say the word (quit) - but if we all did quit the government would have to make up for the loss in taxes. I dont think they would like that.
Posted by: Albert M | Apr 28, 2021 11:35:28 AM
As a smoker my question is. If it costs the healthcare system so much money why does the government not ban smokes?
The Canadian government has known since the 1940s that smokes are as addictive as heroin , so why have they let it go this long . I think that instead of suing the tobacco companies maybe we should sue our government for knowing this and letting people get addicted and then taxing the hell out of them . Sounds a lot like your local drug dealer.
Posted by: Barry | Apr 28, 2021 11:51:26 AM
I agree with so many of the comments here about all the non smokers on their bandwagon tooting their horns about banning it etc yet I wonder how many of these people ever suffered from the addiction or an addiction of any kind .Research has proven that quitting smoking is harder than kicking a heroin habit .I have a couple suggestions here since the non smokers want everybody to bend to their way and they dont consider the tax loss lets add say an additional 5% income tax to them to make up the shortfall regardless of income . And if the government wants us to quit so bad why dont they cover certain cessation programs under the healthcare system .I know of a number of people who have quit using laser therapy but its quite expensive .I have tried several other methods and had no success but I cant afford the cost of laser therapy .
Even better yet why doesnt the government give up on this issue and concentrate on something important like putting Canadians back to work and not in their usual manner of blowing how they just created so many jobs but what they dont tell you is they created those new jobs by eliminating 3 x as many existing jobs .
I say all smokers should start banding together and crying wolf just like the non smokers have and so long as we cry loud enough as well then maybe the issue will go away and it will be back to freedom of choice to whomever wants to smoke and who doesnt .
Posted by: RUNADIAN | Apr 28, 2021 12:31:37 PM
I seem to remember what happened when they drastically increased the price of cigarettes in ontario quebec. The black market grew and thrived until they reduced the price. I also resent the idea we all knew what we were doing when we started smoking (I quite a long time ago). When I was young they sold cigarettes to 5 year olds, and I was about 10 when I started.
If you are for taxing the crap out of smokers to make them stop, why is smoking even legal? (oh wait, special interest groups and campaign contributions, maybe even freedom, though I realize this last one is going out of style). If they are legal whats the problem?
I resent paying for alcoholics liver problems, promiscious peoples std checks, and extreme sports peoples broken limbs as much as I resent paying for smokers (which really isnt much resentment). What about tanning booths? Maybe 10 dollars a minute? how about all that junk food Mr. coronary? Seriously smoking sucks, and should be (or at least the amount of toxic additives) illegal (yeah, i now lots of problems with that), but so long as it is legal, constantly blaming smokers for health care costs, and constantly screwing them over is just lame, though politically correct. I have also wondered if (and have heard that) people who live to a ripe old age cost more on the health care side, than people who die at 60 because of lung cancer related smoking.
If you do smoke, please quit. If you dont, please quit dumping on people who do. I also agree with Jess' math. Smokers are the new witches, and the logic and reasoning behind the trials is just as lame.
Posted by: RUNADIAN | Apr 28, 2021 12:40:26 PM
Oh, So I see a champix advocate. So am I. Unfortuntely lots of people cant take this stuff due to various other health risks and medication problems., and a lot of people I have talked to know people who tried to commit suicide on this stuff. I was supposed to take it for 4-6 months, and after 3 weeks people were complaining I was a drag to be around. I quit taking champix immediately, but it was enough for me to stop smoking. If I had kept taking champix, I no doubt would have been one of those who was overcome with depression. If you do decide to take champix (which worked very well for me, and quittting was actually very easy after smoking for about 30 years) make sure someone is around to let you know your moods are changing.
Posted by: RUNADIAN | Apr 28, 2021 12:43:23 PM
hey, bob smoke pot
Posted by: twinky | Apr 28, 2021 1:17:18 PM
Why not just let smokers smoke and because of their choice of a known health hazard be exempt from a publically funded health care system and fund their own healthcare privately.
Posted by: Chelmar | Apr 28, 2021 1:30:47 PM
I will be smoke-free for 3 years after struggling with a 30 year addiction.My issue wasn't really about quitting as I did it all the time. It was staying stopped that challenged me most. It was the hardest thing I have ever done. A number of components assisted me in being successful and deciding I was done. Being shunned and demoralized wasn't helpful.
The main reason I quit was because i witnessed a dear friend die to throat cancer. We talked openly and he struggled dealing with the shame knowing he brought it on himself and what his choice did to his loved ones. The next was my beautiful little granddaughter telling me she didn't want me to die too. And last but not least, although not my biggest motivator, the cost did affect my decision. (I love my new car that I can now afford). Realistically I am certain if the price went up to a $100 I would never have been interested or involved in supporting an illegal underground market. And I don't think most sane smokers would.
To all you smokers out there. It is a choice and only you can decide if and when you will stop. Own that! Please don't justify your behaviour by laying claim to supporting the health care system as if that is something good!
Posted by: jud | Apr 28, 2021 1:54:08 PM
I don't think it is really that hard to quit smoking, what makes it difficult is quitting because you think you HAVE TO. We are told it is hard by people who have quit because they didn't really want to quit, they just felt pressured to do so. I know a lot of people who went through a rough time the first few days, because yes there is a withdrawl from the nicotine; like anything they eventually got over it. Ask any diabetic if they still crave sweets 10 or 20 years after they were diagnosed! Of course they do.
That can happen with any habit or change in your lifestyle. YOU HAVE TO WANT TO QUIT for anything to work. Including all those expensive treatments and drug options.
Society has gun to all smokers heads and they are telling us that every problem in the world will be solved if we all quit smoking; we are killing ourselves and everyone around us. This is not true! Less people are smoking and the same amount are dying. There is not any solid proof! Like too much sugar or salt in your diet, cigarettes are not good for you, I understand that...but for now it is our choice. The only change I have noticed since all the smoking bans came into effect, is there seem to be less house fires....but even that is not official.
The other funny thing is they say that more children are taking up smoking...that sort of says something about how successfull the anti - smoking campaingn has been. What do you think attracts the children to something so dangerous and unhealthy? I don't know probably the attraction to doing something dangerous and forbidden?? We were all there...you remember how teenagers think.
The guilt and worry that smokers are feeling probably causes more harm then the actual cigarette. Isn't that what we are being told now. Stress is the reason for all that ails us! What is more stressful then trying to quit something you really don't want to give up? You can't tell me that the constant worry, fear and guilt that people go through because they "have to quit", isn't just a damaging to their overall health.
To everyone who has quit, I commend you! To anyone who is thinking of quitting...when you are ready you will have no problem, don't let the fear mongers convince you that it is impossible. It will not be easy but when you are ready you will know you are ready and you willl be able to quit! To everyone like me who still smokes and is not considering quitting; I guess we will all be together in hell someday!
Posted by: deano | Apr 28, 2021 2:01:16 PM
There is only one solution to this problem, & that is to rip off the band-aid fast. MAKE TABACO ILLEGAL PERIOD. & all of it's addtictive by products such as chewing tabaco.Seriously do you think the Government of Canada or any other government on earth cares about your health, well only to a degree & that is to keep you being a good little tax payer your entire life & when you retire or get close to retirement & you've been a smoker all your life & you happen to succumb to it's health eating effects, so be it they can keep your old age & Canada pension for you. If anyone did care they would MAKE TABACO ILLEGAL. THIS IS WHAT IS WRONG with our culture & humanity at's it's core GREED & MORE GREED is the only reason tabaco is still legal.If we lived in a just society, psychedelics would be legally availible to responsible citzens to explore there consciouness freely & TABACO & WAR that's right WAR & the selling of misery causing arms around the world would be illegal PERIOD PERIOD PERIOD...
Posted by: Annie | Apr 28, 2021 2:27:28 PM
I am sorry to say this, but the smokers are right. It is an addiction, but they don't go further with this explanation. These people are addicted to smoking, but they would be addicted to any other stimulation that comes along. It is part of their personality, a flaw if you will. I have only witnessed smokers quitting when they have been given a diagnosis from their doctor that if they don't quit they will die. Plain and simple. One personal experience was my Dad, at 50 yrs of age he was not feeling well. He went to the doctor and after numerous tests was told he had Angina and he had to give up smoking or his heart wouid suffer. Now I should mention that my Dad had been smoking since he was 13 yrs. old so him quitting smoking was not going to be an easy feat. Well when my Dad left the doctors office with his diagnosis he quit smoking on that day and had never touched a cigarette since. He lived a healthier life up to the age of 91. Having said this though I have seen people at the hospital hooked up to oxygen and wanting to run outside in the dead of winter no less to have a cigarette. Addiction it surely is but it also tells me that these people are very weak minded to let a little stick of tobacco rule their world to the point of killing them. My Dad obviously could combat his addiction to cigarettes and lived a full life. If a person does not want to give up an addiction on their own they can not be helped. I hear so many say please help me quit. That is just an excuse to put the owness on someone else-they don't want to take responsibility for their own addiction. I would also bet that if a study was made on smokers who can't quit, you would find that they are also addicted to a variety of other things, possibly gambling, drinking, just to name a few.