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Progress on plain packaging

Written By: - Date published: 9:57 am, June 1st, 2016 - 48 comments
Categories: health - Tags: , , ,

Sometimes – very occasionally – this government gets something right:

Govt to roll out plain packaging on cigarettes

Nearly a week after hitting smokers in the pocket with increased taxes, the Government will roll out a second hit tomorrow [yesterday], this time aimed at tobacco companies.

The move was initiated by former Associate Health Minister Dame Tariana Turia more than five years ago, but it stalled when big tobacco started taking other governments to court.

Legal action failed in Australia last year, and Prime Minister John Key says that has allowed New Zealand to press ahead. “What’s happened is the world’s moved on and there have been a number of countries that have moved toward plain packaging. The advice I’ve been getting is that it’s safe to proceed.

Dame Tariana is “very happy” with the development and says it will hurt tobacco companies and discourage smoking. …

The announcement duly went ahead yesterday:


Plain packaging for tobacco likely to be in place early next year

The packaging was revealed at a smokefree event on Wellington’s waterfront and could be rolled out early next year. The prop design at the event is not the final design – the Government will now consult on plain packaging, including design for packs.

“The design and appearance of cigarette packets are powerful marketing tools for vendors. The Government is proposing to use the standard brown-green packaging which is similar to what is used in Australia,” Mr Lotu-Iiga said.

“We’re proposing that mandatory health warnings will cover at least 75 per cent of the front of the packs and all tobacco imagery will be removed. Brand names will be allowed but regulations will standardise how and where the printing is. …”

A good move, and long overdue.

48 comments on “Progress on plain packaging ”

  1. Richardrawshark 1

    Thanks for nothing, thanks for singling out smokers when you allow all other forms of intake that kill. Alchohol, petrol fumes, high particle content in tokoroa from Carter holt..

    But no lets pick on smoking while most Pacific people die from diabetes and sugar.

    A big FU to you all that do this to others..

    Educate, don’t legislate. My body my choice!!!!!!!

    • BM 1.1

      Are you a smoker Richard?

      • Richardrawshark 1.1.1

        sadly….how did you guess 🙂

        • BM

          A wild stab in the dark. 🙂

          Have you thought of growing your own?, I’ve heard it’s not that difficult to make your own tobacco.

          I’m guessing you smoke rollies?, you could grow your own and then cut it 50/50 with your preferred tobacco.
          That automatically cuts the price in half.

          Here’s a NZ website explaining what to do


          • Draco T Bastard

            If I still smoked I’d be growing my own and rolling them as cigars.

            • BM

              Yep I gave up a while ago.

              One day I stepped back and looked at the damage I was doing to my body and how much it was costing and thought “what the fuck am I doing?”

              Smoked a last disgusting packet of Rothams(smoked port royal for years) and then gave up cold turkey.

              • Draco T Bastard

                Same for me really. I was doing about 35 a day (over $100/week 20 years ago) when I went cold turkey.

            • McFlock

              tried that ages ago, failed dismally.

              It was, however, hours of tremendous fun for only the price of a seed packet 🙂

          • Richardrawshark

            Thanks BM. I need to give it up, but I have MH issues, bi-polar, anxiety, weak excuses but hard to shake the habit I formed to de-stress.

            I don’t really want to smoke, to expensive, what I do want as mums English and said I should use the E Ciggy vapourisers, she says it’s straight nicotine with no tar etc, and can help you give up quickly, she said many English have successfully used them to quit.

            I tried patches etc, but they are actually to strong with my medication and make my heart pulpitate.

            • roy cartland

              Totally grow your own. Then you’re not giving money to the bastards, and you’ll likely find the horticultural hooby takes out the ‘habit’ part and gets straight the actual ‘satisfaction’ part of smoking.

              I’m thinking of taking up smoking for just this reason.

    • b waghorn 1.2

      A sugar tax is coming , the pressure is mounting.

      • AmaKiwi 1.2.1

        “A sugar tax is coming , the pressure is mounting.”

        Why not plain packaging for lollies, sugary drinks, booze?

        Why not ban advertising them, too?

        Winston Peters is right. Diabetes is a much greater public health menace than smoking yet we do NOTHING about it.

    • esoteric pineapples 1.3

      I agree with you Richard

    • D'Esterre 1.4

      Richardrawshark: this whole business is a diversionary tactic, designed to distract public attention from the housing disaster in Auckland, about which the gummint has no clue what to do. If the housing bubble bursts, they’ll drop this plain package thing like a pongy turd.

  2. Andre 2

    It raises the question, how about similar packaging for alcoholic drinks, fizzy drinks, lollies, any other consumables considered harmful…?

  3. Colonial Viper 3

    Will legislative and regulatory proposals like this limiting corporate behaviour be all over under the TPP.

    (rhetorical question…)

  4. Draco T Bastard 4

    The advice I’ve been getting is that it’s safe to proceed.

    It should have been safe to proceed anyway. We’re not here to guarantee profits for the multi-national corporations and our government is here to do what’s best by us.

  5. shorts 5

    punitive measures to get tough on smokers will reap the sorts of results that these sorts of get tough on things always do – a whole bunch of pain and silliness that could have been averted

    how about helping addicts to quit the habit – nah stuff that lets just vilify another segment of the population who in many cases are already part of those groups we’re told are scum (the poor)

    “Govt warned on ‘crazy’ lack of smokefree plan”


    **disclaimer, I am a addict in the process of trying to kick the habit

    • BM 5.1

      Don’t say you’re an addict, that just gives you an excuse not to stop.

      • shorts 5.1.1

        I don’t need nor am I looking for excuses, I am capable of continuing my journey of kicking this habit without the need to pretend or say I am not addicted, why would I deny what I am?

        • BM

          You need the get your mind in the right place before you can stop.

          Saying you’ve got an addiction give you an out and an excuse if you fail and start again.

          • Draco T Bastard

            Saying you’ve got an addiction give you an out and an excuse if you fail and start again.

            That’s what I was doing when I said I was trying to give up. By only trying meant it was ok to fail.

            The realisation that was what I was doing helped me to quit when I finally did.

          • shorts

            oh I agree about the mind being in the right place

            I’m about 12 months into my journey… haven’t tried to stop totally yet as I’m not quite ready due to life pressures/stress – I’ve managed to go from 1 1/2 – 2 packs a day to 2-3 packs a fortnight (when really stressed, can go without for weeks at a time).

            I am using ecigs* when not smoking which saves loads of $$$ and I think is slowly taking me to the point where I can just stop. I’m not happy with the time its taking me but as I’ve resisted the urge to resume my serious habit I am pleased I am moving in the right direction and am confident that when I do take the plunge to cease everything I shall be successful

            *a lot more work needs to be done about them being a helpful aid to stopping cigarette smoking – way cheaper and while not deemed safe yet, they can’t be any worse than fags

    • Draco T Bastard 5.2

      Smokers have been getting help to quit for quite some time.

      • shorts 5.2.1

        quitline is useful but could be beefed up hugely

        I’ve used them twice and both times I gave up on them as I found the service really irritating

        • Draco T Bastard

          I was actually pointing to the subsidies available:

          A 4 week supply of one of these products costs around $5 with the option of a free repeat. Without the subsidy an 8 week supply of these products could cost you over $200.

          • shorts

            oh yeah that part is real good, I appreciated that part of the service – the texts and calls you get as support were so not for me

    • AmaKiwi 5.3

      “how about helping addicts to quit the habit”

      We do. Ask your doctor.

      A three month supply of nicotine patches and gum are provided by Pharmac for the $5 price of a prescription. Ask about government paid for “quit smoking” programs.

  6. esoteric pineapples 6

    The whales and the rest of the world’s marine life which are dying from governments like this one doing nothing about pollution from packaging have a message for Key, English and their mates – “thanks for nothing”

  7. riffer 7

    Crikey, the answer to all this is simple. Just legislate for a maximum amount of nicotine to be allowed in cigarettes, and make that amount progressively smaller, while maintaining the price.

    If, as the cigarette manufacturers claim, the smokers are buying it for the taste, there will be no difference.

    But somehow I doubt it. They wouldn’t dare do that because people would stop smoking and they’d lose that precious tax revenue.

    Changing to plain packaging alone won’t stop people smoking. The stuff is addictive. You need to remove the addictive component.

    • Ad 7.1

      The smokeless e-cigarettes deliver the nicotine just fine.

    • dukeofurl 7.2

      The nicotine isnt harmful in its self. The restrictions on cigarettes are for the tar and other harmful products inhaled.
      Much easier to price them highly and restrict all cigarettes not nicotine free ones. As people will still smoke even if no nicotine if its the habit of a life time.

  8. Ad 8

    You can get very nice unpackaged single cigars at the Cubana cigar shop on High Street in Auckland. The good ones start at about $60.

    Failing that, the best cigar range I’ve seen is at the Dubai duty free stores.
    They have serious range there. Plus – believe it or not – glass rooms just for smokers (!)

  9. Slippery 9

    next should be Plain labeling of all alcohol products
    ,with pictures of smashed up cars on it & all fast food plain packaged with
    pictures of morbidly obese fatties on them

    • dukeofurl 9.1

      Thats not required. Food is essential of course, while alcohol isnt harmful in moderation. Every cigarette is harmful and addictive to boot.

      • AmaKiwi 9.1.1

        “alcohol isn’t harmful in moderation”

        That is very questionable. Alcohol is a poison which attacks every organ in the body.

        My GP says alcohol is empty calories and therefore it is almost impossible to lose weight if you drink just one glass of wine a day.

  10. weston 10

    amazing….watching all you gloating health snobs loving the prospect of smokers having to buy their tobacco in plain packets plain that is apart from graphic pictures of rotting lungs etc and other dire warnings and general propaganda.
    before you pass around the drugs of YOUR choice tho it might pay to consider what will be the logical result of this BRILLIANT /sarc move Do you really think us smokers are gonna pick up our deliberately made ugly so called plain packets and look at them???nope these packets will go straight into the rubbish bin where they belong and the tobacco will go into an alternative container which the market will undoubtedly provide .Further if the govt which ever it is carries on increasing taxes on tobacco this will simply result in more people growing their own and or buying it on the black market .None of this is rocket science !!!

    • roy cartland 10.1

      OK I’ll bite:

      It’s not about smokers. You’re already dead to us. It’s about deterring would-be smokers – like you once were, and only took it up because it you bought the propaganda that it was “cool” and “rebellious”.

      • Naki man 10.1.1

        Nice work roy.
        Poor wee weston, it sounds like he has a chip on both shoulders.

        • AmaKiwi

          The new form of cigarette advertising are TV and film heroes smoking like chimneys. Tobacco companies help finance the movie/show in return for scenes of lead characters constantly lighting up.

        • weston

          at least i can form my own opinions naki man all you seem able to do is parrot other peoples ! can you say pollie wants a cracker yet ?

      • weston 10.1.2

        wrong roy i was a late starter due to buying the vast amount of propaganda that was bandied arround in schools even back then .i was going down to wellington
        with some mates got offered one reluctantly tried it and found it tasted fantastic !

        • roy cartland

          Well then, you were able to make an ‘informed’ choice weren’t you? Good for you. So you obviously support that side of the argument.

  11. Jamie 11

    Thank you national and labour for tag-teaming up to jack this working mans durries up to $78 a pack.

    I’ll never forget

    Thank you thank you thank you

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