N. Zealand to introduce plain packets for tobacco

February 19, 2013

New Zealand announced plans Tuesday to force tobacco companies to sell cigarettes in plain packaging, becoming only the second country in the world after Australia to introduce the measure.

Associate Health Minister Tariana Turia said banning branding and selling cigarettes in drab boxes plastered with explicit health warnings "will remove the last remaining vestige of glamour from these deadly products".

"Currently the packaging does everything it can to attract consumers and increase the perceived appeal and acceptability of smoking," she told reporters.

"The move to plain packaging would make more explicit what tobacco is—a product that kills 5,000 New Zealanders a year."

The move was widely anticipated after New Zealand gave support in principle to plain packaging last year and praised Australia's pioneering efforts.

The packaging was introduced in Australia in December, meaning all must be sold in identical, olive-brown boxes bearing the same typeface and large health warnings bearing graphic images of diseased .

Turia said the government would introduce legislation later this year but delay enforcing it until legal challenges launched by tobacco firms against Australia's ban had been decided.

She said it was almost inevitable that would also take legal action in New Zealand but the government was determined to press on with the change.

"We know we've got trade obligations but we are confident plain packaging can be introduced with those," she said.

"I know that when we look back we will know we had made the right decision today."

The Cancer Society of New Zealand said it was "over the moon" at the government's decision, while Action on Smoking and Health (ASH) said it would prevent tobacco firms using marketing to hook customers.

"The lives of New Zealanders are being put above the interests of the tobacco giants," director Ben Youdan said, adding that he would have preferred for the ban to be introduced immediately.

British American Tobacco's New Zealand general manager Steve Rush said his company remained opposed to plain packaging, arguing they breach international trade rules and intellectual property rights.

"While we can't rule out legal action at this stage, we can say that we will fully participate in the legislative process," he said in a statement.

Rush said last year that there was no proof plain packaging reduced smoking and it set a dangerous precedent that could eventually spread to other products such as alcohol.

Australian Health Minister Tanya Plibersek welcomed New Zealand's announcement and said she hoped other counties would follow suit.

"I am absolutely delighted the New Zealand government joined Australia in putting the health and welfare of its citizens ahead of profits for Big Tobacco," she said.

Explore further: Australia cigarette pack branding ban moves closer

Related Stories

Australia cigarette pack branding ban moves closer

August 25, 2011

Australia's parliament has passed two bills moving the nation closer to becoming the first to introduce plain cigarette packaging in a move Health Minister Nicola Roxon Thursday called "courageous".

Australia defiant on WTO cigarette challenge

May 25, 2012

Australia said Friday it would "vigorously defend" itself against complaints about its plan for plain cigarette packaging made by Honduras and Ukraine to the World Trade Organisation.

Tobacco ad blitz as New Zealand plans branding ban

August 22, 2012

British American Tobacco (BAT) launched an advertising campaign in New Zealand Wednesday opposing plans to introduce plain packaging, in a move the government immediately dismissed as a waste of money.

Recommended for you

Young adults found displaying symptoms of net addiction

October 17, 2014

In 2012, Allen Frances, MD, professor emeritus and former chair of the department of psychiatry at Duke University, cautioned that "Internet Addiction" could be the next new fad diagnosis, complete with "an exuberant trumpeting ...

Can 'love hormone' oxytocin protect against addiction?

March 19, 2014

(Medical Xpress)—Researchers at the University of Adelaide say addictive behaviour such as drug and alcohol abuse could be associated with poor development of the so-called "love hormone" system in our bodies during early ...

Nicotine vaccine prevents nicotine from reaching the brain

May 2, 2012

If smoking a cigarette no longer delivers pleasure, will smokers quit? It's the idea behind a nicotine vaccine being created by MIT and Harvard researchers, in which an injection of synthetic nanoparticles prompts the immune ...

1 comment

Adjust slider to filter visible comments by rank

Display comments: newest first

1 / 5 (1) Feb 25, 2013
NZ/AUS, you insist on treating adults as children, citizens as subjects to governmental whim; why don't you just ban the substance entirely and be done with it?

Please sign in to add a comment. Registration is free, and takes less than a minute. Read more

Click here to reset your password.
Sign in to get notified via email when new comments are made.