Law changes will be introduced to New Zealand’s parliament early next year to pave the way for banning branding on cigarette and tobacco packets.
The Smoke-free Environments (Tobacco Products and Packaging) Amendment Bill has been lodged and is ready for a first reading soon after parliament resumes in the new year, Associate Health Minister Tariana Turia says.
It will then be open for public comment.
The law change will mean tobacco packets cannot carry company branding or images.
“Removing tobacco company colours, logos and other marketing ploys designed to make tobacco products glamorous and attractive is an important step in reducing the uptake of smoking,” Ms Turia said.
She was confident New Zealand would not break any World Trade Organisation rules by banning branding.
However, she and officials were keeping a close eye on the WTO challenge to Australia’s plain packaging regime.
The tobacco industry is expected to resist the law change.
A study of the impact of Australia’s ban, introduced in October last year, says there’s an early indication that plain packaging is associated with lower smoking appeal and more urgency to quit among adult smokers.
But British American Tobacco New Zealand says there has been a steady decline in smoking in both countries over the past 10 years and the ban has had no effect.