Smokers sampled nicotine electronic cigarettes and liked them 83 percent as much as their own brand on average. This was particularly true of Maori and Pacific smokers.
UC researchers also learnt that if cigarette prices doubled, two thirds of smokers would quit, and even more would quit if electronic cigarettes were available.
Psychology professor Randolph Grace and his researchers found half of all smokers surveyed said they would quit when a packet of 20 cigarettes costs $24, and 75 percent would quit once the price reached $40.
Professor Grace’s team surveyed over 300 smokers in four cities late last year.
“Smokers plan to make increasing attempts to quit as the price hits $20 and $25. But a price of $40 a pack would be needed before the 17 percent of the population who smoke daily reduced to 5 percent of adults smoking daily, as planned for the national 2025 goal.
“Given widespread intention to quit if the price increases, a range of policies and products is needed to assist smokers make their intentions come true.”
Of the 343 smokers surveyed in Auckland, Wellington, Christchurch and Dunedin two thirds said they would use nicotine electronic cigarettes to switch off tobacco smoking entirely, or reduce their smoking.
Professor Grace said he believed it was the first survey in New Zealand to ask smokers of their future smoking intentions with regard to price.
The research was funded by Christchurch-based End Smoking NZ Trust, the Canterbury Community Trust and UC.
Preliminary results will be presented to an international research meeting in Boston this month.
One in six of all deaths in New Zealand are attributable to smoking, according to Dr Murray Laugesen, chair of End Smoking NZ. Those dying of smoking die 14 years earlier on average than non-smokers of the same age. Smoking deaths are not due to the nicotine, which is used in nicotine patches and gum, he said. (Kip Brook/University of Canterbury)