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Plain packaging legislation sends clear message to tobacco


Plain packaging legislation sends clear message to tobacco industry

Associate Minister for Health Tariana Turia says that the Smoke-free Environments (Tobacco Plain Packaging) Amendment Bill which had its first reading in the house today is sending a clear message to tobacco companies that the Government is serious about ending unnecessary deaths related to tobacco use.

“The bill will further reduce the appeal of tobacco especially to young people as well as any wide acceptance and approval of tobacco products by requiring all tobacco products to be sold in plain packaging. All the time tobacco companies were creating brands and advertising and promoting them to ingrain the notion that smoking is glamorous, fun, cool, sophisticated, a part of life knowing they only had to sell the myth and the nicotine addiction would take over,” says Minister Turia.

“While the tobacco industry may have laid down a threat if this legislation is passed my message to them is that our country has a sovereign right and a legal right to protect its citizens. It is not for tobacco companies to be telling us what we should be doing here in our own land. Tobacco companies know and understand that branding is part of the appeal of their killer products and they have deliberately branded their product to the young, the vulnerable and the indigenous peoples of this world.”

“We successfully implemented a ban on the displaying of tobacco products in stores as an important strategy preventing the marketing of tobacco products in retail areas. Research shows once the product has been purchased cigarette packages are then displayed up to twenty times a day and often left lying around in front of young people susceptible to marketing imagery. The plain packaging requirement will ensure that there is no detraction from the warning messages on cigarette packages when they are being used or are left lying around.”

“Five thousand New Zealanders a year die from smoking and hundreds more are also disabled from the effects of smoking. It is our responsibility as politicians, who make the laws - to pass legislation that will help save lives. We will be following through with this legislative process despite the threats from the tobacco industry,” says Mrs Turia.

New Zealand became one of the first countries in the world to legislate smokefree indoor office environments in the Smoke-free Environments Act 1990. Further legislation includes banning smoking in all indoor workplaces, including bars, restaurants, and clubs, banning the advertising and displaying of all tobacco products and annual ten percent tobacco tax increases. The plain packaging bill is another step in the strategy towards a Smokefree Aotearoa 2025.

ends

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