Plain packaging regulations revealed – In the news

Draft regulations for introducing plain packaging for cigarettes have been revealed by the Government.
Indicative 3-D image of a standardised cigarette pack. Ministry of Health.

Associate Health Minister Peseta Sam Lotu-Iiga today released the draft regulations and a consultation document outlining how a law requiring plain packaging would be implemented.

Plain packaging policies aim to reduce the appeal of cigarettes by requiring standardised packaging that removes branding and logos and includes health warnings.

In 2013 the Government introduced a bill to create the powers to regulate how tobacco products are packaged and presented, and introduce offences and penalties for breaches of the new requirements. However the bill has yet to be passed by Parliament, having been on hold as authorities watched how a similar law (and subsequent legal challenge by tobacco company Phillip Morris) played out in Australia.

Today’s announcement was timed to coincide with the World Health Organisation’s World No Tobacco Day, which this year is themed: ‘Get ready for plain packaging.

Plain packaging for tobacco in New Zealand is likely to be in place early next year, Prime Minister John Key told the New Zealand Herald.

The draft regulations come after further tobacco tax increases were revealed in Budget 2016 last week. The tax on tobacco products will rise by 10 per cent each year for the next four years.

National coverage of the announcement includes:

Newshub: Cigarette plain packaging gets widespread backing ‘Lead by example, ban smoking in Parliament grounds’
Newstalk ZB: Plain packaging for cigarettes given the go ahead
Otago Daily Times: Plain tobacco packaging likely for early next year
RNZ: Old cigarette packs may go up in smoke Anti-tobacco arsenal grows as plain packaging increases their woes
New Zealand Herald: Plain packaging for tobacco likely to be in place early next year
RNZ: We’re late on plain cigarette packs – Turia