Tobacco industry annual returns

Since 2010, ASH has conducted an analysis of annual tobacco returns, which are submitted to the Ministry of Health by tobacco manufacturers and importers. The purpose of this analysis is to monitor the domestic tobacco market in New Zealand; including the sale quantity, price and brand positioning of all tobacco products.

The findings over the years have shown a steady decline in tobacco sales volume. This reflects the impact from the first, and subsequent rounds, of tax increases since 2010. ASH has disseminated these findings to the tobacco control sector and policy makers to emphasise the need for further tax increases on cigarettes.

The findings have also shown a growth in the availability and sales of budget/ultra-low cost brands. This may be the result of strategic pricing which attracts the low income smokers to the market. International research has found that some major tobacco companies are implementing these pricing strategies to increase their share in the low-income market.[i],[ii]

These findings confirm the importance of tobacco tax in reducing sales of tobacco products in New Zealand. The results of the analysis were disseminated to the tobacco control sector and policy makers through ASH’s report, Tobacco Return Analysis 2013.


[i] Chaloupka, F. J., Cummings, K. M., Morley, C., & Horan, J. (2002). Tax, price and cigarette smoking: evidence from the tobacco documents and implications for tobacco company marketing strategies. Tobacco Control, 11(suppl 1), i62-72.

[ii] Gilmore, A. B., Branston, J. R., & Sweanor, D. (2010). The case for OFSMOKE: how tobacco price regulation is needed to promote the health of markets, government revenue and the public. Tobacco Control, 19(5), 423-430.