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Commission warning for tobacco companies welcomed

Media statement

Wednesday 24 September 2008

Ministry of Health welcomes Commerce Commission warning for tobacco companies

The Ministry of Health has welcomed today's Commerce Commission warning for tobacco companies, about the use of misleading terms on their packaging.

The Commission has told the companies that the use of the terms such as "light" and "mild"on packaging could be misleading under the Fair Trading Act, giving consumers the impression that they may be smoking products that are less harmful to their health.

Brendan Baker, Senior Analyst Tobacco Control at the Ministry of Health, says "These terms are used to promote a product that kills around 5000 New Zealanders a year, and we know the use of these terms on other consumer products implies reduced risk or health benefit.

"Ultimately, the message for smokers and those who care about them remains the same: all cigarettes are harmful, be they light or mild, tailor-made or rollies."

New Zealand research on several brands of loose tobacco was released at the weekend showing that what tobacco companies market as ‘mild’ is just as harmful as ‘regular’ tobacco.

The companies have agreed to remove the terms from their New Zealand products.

The Ministry of Health will consider the findings further before deciding if any more action is required.


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