Topic: Health

Plain "ciggy" packets given greenlight

Associate Health Minister Nicky Wagner and Māori Co-Party leader Marama Fox confirmed that Cabinet has approved regulations standardising tobacco product packaging.

All cigarette and tobacco packets will be in a standard dark brown/green background colour, which is the same as Australia, United Kingdom, Ireland and France.

Brand names will be in a standardised font and there will be enlarged health warnings which will cover at least 75% of the front of the packets.

All tobacco company marketing imagery will be removed. 

Standardised packaging will reduce the appeal of tobacco products and smoking, particularly for children and young people, says Fox.

"The bland packs will maximise the impact of health warnings and cut out any false impression that smoking is cool or glamorous," she says.  "This will make a real difference to our whānau and communities who witness the harm smoking causes every day."

Cigarettes will only be sold in packs of either 20 or 25 sticks, in standard cardboard packs and loose tobacco in pouches of 30 or 50 grams in standard rectangular soft plastic pouches.

Wagner says, "More than 5000 New Zealanders die of smoking-related illnesses each year."

"Standardised packaging, along with the existing suite of tobacco control measures and stop smoking services, is the logical next step toward our Smokefree 2025 goal.  It also sends a clear message that the Government is serious about ending unnecessary smoking-related illness and death," she says.

The new packs will roll out from 14 March 2018.  For more information, visit the Ministry of Health website.