A tobacco company is warning that alcohol and other products could soon be subjected to the same advertising and packaging restrictions currently in force or pending in respect of tobacco products inAustralia, according to a Scoop story.
Imperial Tobacco New Zealand says reports fromAustraliaindicate that it is already seeing the flow-on effects of passing its tobacco-products plain packaging legislation.
The company’s market manager, Paul Warham, says theNew South Walesparliament is now debating a bill that would ban alcohol advertising.
This, along with a push by Australian health advocates for plain labelling on wine bottles and a ban on snack food advertising, should be troubling Kiwi trade mark owners.
“The writing is on the wall for many non-tobacco products if regulation continues to escalate,” Warham said. “We may well see alcohol and other products – such as snack foods – treated like tobacco on both sides of the Tasman.
“The situation with alcohol regulation now is reminiscent of what started happening to the tobacco industry inNew Zealand andAustralia 30 years ago – only now with alcohol, things are actually moving faster than they did with tobacco products.
“First there are concerns flagged about the impact the product has on society, which we’re already seeing inNew Zealand. Then come calls for restrictions of some kind to be imposed, and we’re seeing that here too. And then comes legislation that enforces increasingly punitive controls, including advertising restrictions and increased taxes and, eventually, proposals for plain packaging.”
Warham said tobacco-products retail display bans and the proposed imposition of plain packaging inNew Zealandwere the thin end of a wedge that would increasingly affect other consumer products. Now that the regulation floodgates were open, many products currently enjoyed by many people would be at risk.
“If the recent history of the tobacco industry is anything to go by, it’s just a matter of time before consumers see more and more restrictions in place on products they use every day,” he added. “It would very naïve of people to believe that the current push for over-regulation and restrictions on smokers’ freedoms will only impact tobacco products in the future.”