Tobacco companies say they will fight plain packaging rules
in New Zealand, arguing non-branded packets could even
increase smoking rates in young people.
Cabinet has agreed in principle to introduce plain packaging
for all tobacco products in New Zealand, following a similar
move in Australia and despite it being challenged in court
As part of the goal of making New Zealand smoke-free by 2025,
the packaging will display only health warnings and the
contact details for Quitline, Associate Health Minister
Tariana Turia said on Thursday.
But British American Tobacco New Zealand's Susan Jones said
the company would "take every action necessary to protect its
intellectual property rights as would any other business
faced with the removal of their brands".
"If government is prepared to do this today, are the next
logical steps to force alcohol, fast food, salty or sugary
products into plain packs as well?"
She said plainer packets were easier for criminals to
counterfeit and the black market would undercut legitimate
retailers, who followed rules regarding sales to minors.
"Perversely, smoking rates will increase as many more young
people take it up after gaining greater access to cheap
Fellow tobacco company Philip Morris also said it would argue
against plain packaging, saying it would not reduce smoking
rates and would "trigger a variety of adverse consequences
and violates numerous international laws and trade treaties".
But Ms Turia said she was confident a plain packaging regime
would meet all international commitments, including a major
global treaty on tobacco control as well as a range of
multilateral, regional and bilateral trade and investment
There will be a public consultation process before any final
decision is made.