New Zealand Plans to Require Plain Cigarette Packaging

February 19, 2013

New Zealand plans to become the second country to require that cigarettes be sold in plain packaging, free of colorful logos and other branding.  New Zealand’s government announced today that it will introduce legislation requiring plain packaging, following the lead of Australia, which implemented its plain packaging law in December 2012.

“We cannot continue to allow tobacco companies to use sophisticated packaging designs to promote their products as if they were ordinary everyday consumer goods,” said New Zealand’s Associate Minister of Health Tariana Turia.  “Current tobacco packaging not only helps promote smoking to young and vulnerable people, it also helps keep smokers smoking. This move to plain packaging will remove the last remaining vestige of glamour from these deadly products.”

Australia implemented its plain packaging law in December after the country’s highest court rejected a tobacco industry challenge to the law.  Philip Morris International and other tobacco companies are continuing to fight the law, challenging it as a violation of investment and trade agreements.

Australia has set an example for the world by standing up to the bullying of the tobacco companies, and New Zealand’s action today signals that other countries are looking to follow Australia’s lead.  The United Kingdom is also seriously considering plain packaging.

The plain packs, along with large, graphic health warnings, are aimed at preventing kids from smoking and encouraging smokers to quit.