Higher taxes won’t lower smoking rate

Higher excise on tobacco do not necessarily lower smoking rates, but e-cigarettes or vaping would.

This was the observation of Nancy Sutthoff, spokesperson of the International Network of Nicotine Consumer Organizations, who was recently in the country to address the first Summit on Harm Reduction held at the Sulo Riviera Hotel in Quezon City.

Citing the case of New Zealand where she is from, Sutthoff said the government increased the excise of tobacco by 10 percent every six months.

“Our smoking rate has yet to go down,” she said.

Help for smokers

Sutthoff, also cofounder and codirector of the Aotearoa Vapers Community Advocacy (Avca) in New Zealand, said Avca launched the Vape It Forward (VIF) program in 2017 to help and provide support to smokers who wish to quit smoking by switching to vaping.

Eighteen months after its launch, the VIF program delivered an impressive 88-percent success rate.

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