New Zealand has become the second country after Australia to announce it will put all tobacco products in plain packaging.
The law change, which will be introduced later this year, will require all cigarette packs and tobacco pouches to carry graphic health warnings and be stripped of branding, while tobacco brand names will have to be printed in standard font type and sizes.
Associate minister of health Tariana Turia said the move would be an effective means of reducing the appeal of smoking and removing the impression that tobacco may be less harmful than it is.
Given that tobacco companies might mount legal challenges, the New Zealand Cabinet will wait for the outcome of legal cases in Australia before enforcing the laws.
“Current tobacco packaging not only helps promote smoking to young and vulnerable people, it also helps keep smokers smoking,” Turia said. “This move to plain packaging will remove the last remaining vestige of glamour from these deadly products. I am delighted that New Zealand is on track to be the second country in the world to legislate for plain packaging.”
However, Hands off our Packs campaigner Angela Harbutt said the decision would infuriate thousands of people who took part in the public consultation in New Zealand because the majority were against plain packaging, but added the outcome was not relevant in the UK where the government has yet to make a decision.
“We expect our government to take into account the enormous level of opposition to plain packaging in the UK,” she said. “This includes consumer and retail groups, packaging and design companies, retired and serving police officers.
“The UK consultation on standardised packaging attracted 700,000 responses, half a million opposed to plain packs. It would be extraordinary if the government ignored that level of protest. People would rightly ask serious questions about the political process.”