Smokers concerned about the rise in cigarettes to a potential $100 a packet may turn to growing their own tobacco at the cost of $20 for a starter kit.
A working paper presented to Health Minister Tony Ryall suggests raising the cost of a packet of cigarettes to $100 by 2020.
Starter tobacco seedling kits are available at outlets like Switched on Gardener for $20 and although owner Darren says tobacco kits are not a big seller at the moment he expects interest will rise as the price of cigarettes increases.
“It’s getting more out there. More people are doing it like people doing home brew beer and spirits. It’s a lot cheaper to do it at home, and they can get their own flavours right.”
“You can get about 100 tobaccos plants out of a kit.
“Five plants can grow a kilogram, and that can last quite a while. Once you have cured it you can put it into a Tupperware container.”
Darren says it’s a one off purchase and once people have grown their own plants collecting seeds from them for future propagation is easy.
He says tobacco plants will grow easily in the Bay of Plenty as they like plenty of sunshine and water and rich soil.
He says they can also be grown indoors with a growing lamp which costs between about $200 and $250 depending on the wattage.