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All Tobacco Branding Should Be Banned

All Tobacco Branding Should Be Banned Say Researchers

All tobacco branding in New Zealand should be banned, says public health researcher Dr George Thomson in an article published in the latest New Zealand Medical Journal.

“People may think we have strict tobacco marketing measures in place, but marketing is a lot more than putting ads on TV, or adverts on billboards. The tobacco industry is skilled at encouraging people to smoke through other means, whether it’s distinctive branding on cigarette packs, or actors smoking in movies or on TV.”

Dr Thomson says that removing all tobacco company marketing opportunities is a crucial next step to de-glamorise smoking and save lives.

“We need to unbrand tobacco, so a box of tobacco becomes a box of tobacco, not Marlboros, Rothmans or Holiday.”

Dr Thomson, with colleagues Dr Nick Wilson and Professor Julian Crane, propose that a government Tobacco Authority is set up, and tasked with the role of distributing all tobacco products in New Zealand.

“That way the Authority could purchase products from tobacco manufacturers, and tightly control how tobacco is distributed, packaged and marketed in New Zealand.”

The report also suggests that this type of Authority could be used to ensure that tobacco products for sale are made less hazardous should this become possible in the future, and that appropriate harm reduction strategies using alternative nicotine delivery vehicles are developed.

Smokefree Coalition Executive Director Leigh Sturgiss says she supports any measures to try and curb tobacco industry marketing tactics.

“There is no other product marketed on this earth that, when used as the manufacturer intends, kills half its consumers. The tobacco industry has succeeded in addicting millions of people. Getting rid of all tobacco branding is one way of undermining some of the industry’s more underhand marketing attempts.”

ENDS

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