NZ votes for standardized packaging

| September 9, 2016

New Zealand is due to adopt standardized packaging for tobacco after the necessary legislation passed its final hurdle yesterday, according to a story in the Otago Daily Times.

During the debate, Associate Health Minister Peseta Sam Lotu-Iiga showed a large cigarette pack prop and told parliamentarians: “This is what will make a difference”.

“When cigarette packs come out of a smoker’s pocket or are left lying around on the table where others can see, there will be nothing but a drab, ugly background colour and large, prominent, graphic pictorial warnings.”

Lotu-Iiga said no other product was so widely used and posed such a direct level of risk to users.

“This bill takes away the last means of promoting tobacco as a desirable product,” he said. “It stops the promotion of smoking as cool, fun, glamorous.

“About 13 people die prematurely every day from smoking-related illnesses…this is a bill to protect children and young people from being tempted from trying cigarettes.”

The legislation passed 108 to 13 votes, with opposition from New Zealand First and the Act Party.

New Zealand First expressed concerns about a lack of evidence that standardized packaging was effective, and about possible unintended consequences, such as an increase in black market sales.

According to the Times, standardized packaging for tobacco is likely to be in place by early next year.

Meanwhile, Lotu-Iiga last month released a consultation document that includes a proposal to legalise the sale of electronic cigarettes in New Zealand.

Nicotine patches and gum can be bought, but electronic cigarette liquid containing nicotine must be bought from overseas.

Category: Breaking News

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