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Tobacco company sees writing on the wall for other products

26 September 2012 Imperial Tobacco New Zealand

Tobacco company sees writing on the wall for other products

A tobacco company is warning that reports from Australia indicate it won’t be long before alcohol and other products are subject to the same advertising and proposed plain packaging restrictions as cigarettes.

Imperial Tobacco New Zealand says Australia is already seeing the flow-on effects of passing its plain packaging legislation.

The company’s market manager, Paul Warham, says the New South Wales parliament is now debating a bill that would ban alcohol advertising. This, in addition to the push by Australian health advocates for plain labelling on wine bottles and a ban on snack food advertising, should be troubling Kiwi trade mark owners.

“The writing is on the wall for many non tobacco products if regulation continues to escalate,” Mr Warham said. “We may well see alcohol and other products - such as snack foods - treated like tobacco on both sides of the Tasman.

“The situation with alcohol regulation now is reminiscent of what started happening to the tobacco industry in New Zealand and Australia 30 years ago - only now with alcohol, things are actually moving faster than they did with tobacco products.

“First there are concerns flagged about the impact the product has on society, which we’re already seeing in New Zealand. Then come calls for restrictions of some kind to be imposed, and we’re seeing that here too. And then comes legislation that enforces increasingly punitive controls, including advertising restrictions and increased taxes and, eventually, proposals for plain packaging.”

Mr Warham said retail display bans for tobacco and the proposed plain packaging in New Zealand are the thin end of a wedge that will increasingly affect other consumer products. Now that the regulation floodgates are open, many products currently enjoyed by many people will be at risk.

“If the recent history of the tobacco industry is anything to go by, it’s just a matter of time before consumers see more and more restrictions in place on products they use every day. It would very naïve of people to believe that the current push for over-regulation and restrictions on smokers’ freedoms will only impact tobacco products in the future.”


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