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Tobacco Company exploits health warning loopholes

ASH NZ and NZ Cancer Society

4th August 2006

Tobacco Company exploits health warning loopholes

ASH and the Cancer Society are angry at the introduction of cigarette tins with removable health warnings, which they say make a mockery of current legislation. This has the potential to minimise the impact of the proposed graphics warning labels in NZ.

In Australia, branded tins for storing cigarettes went on sale just months before the graphic warnings became law. In a recent TVNZ interview, Australian tobacco control groups warned New Zealand not to make the same mistake.

But a NZ tobacco company has already started selling these branded tins in NZ.
Becky Freeman Director ASH NZ says, “The tins are cool, attractive, and have an easy to peel off Ministry of Health warning. Costing $10.20, the tinned cigarettes cost exactly the same as regular packet.

“We call on the government to implement strict legislations that will close loopholes that the tobacco companies will exploit. We want assurances that irremovable picture warnings will be placed on all tobacco packaging, including tins.”

International research shows that children who are more receptive to Tobacco Company marketing are also more susceptible to start smoking.

“There is no doubt these tins are a marketing ploy by tobacco companies aimed at undermining health warnings. Despite statements by the tobacco industry that graphic health warnings don’t work, their actions speak louder than words. They are clearly gearing up for the new graphic health warnings with this strategy,” says Belinda Hughes, Cancer Society spokesperson.

Tobacco companies may be able to make the warnings removable but the Cancer Society wants smokers to understand that lung cancer isn’t.

With advertising and sponsorship bans, tobacco companies are showing increased interest in creating novel and attractive pack designs. Plain packaging which only features the Ministry of Health warnings is sound public policy.

ENDS

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