New Zealand announced plans Thursday to force cigarette firms to sell their products in plain packaging, following world-first laws passed in Australia.
The government had agreed "in principal" to adopt plain packing laws on tobacco products, subject to public consultation to take place later this year, Associate Health Minister Tariana Turia said.
Turia said a ban on cigarette branding was part of a wider strategy to stamp out smoking in New Zealand by 2025, which included legislation earlier this year preventing retailers from openly displaying tobacco products.
"Plain packaging is the next step to ensure that once they are in the hands and homes of smokers, the packs dont promote anything other than our serious health warnings and quit messages," she said in a statement.
Turia said the government was determined to reduce the death, disease, and wider social and economic costs caused by smoking.
The Australian laws are being challenged in court by four global tobacco giants and Turia said New Zealand would subject its proposed ban to "careful and robust" scrutiny before introducing it.
"I am confident that we can bring in a plain packaging regime that will meet all our international commitments, including a major global treaty on tobacco control as well as... trade and investment agreements," she said.