Cancer Council Australia has welcomed New Zealand’s move towards the plain packaging of tobacco products, pending a public consultation process later this year.
CEO Professor Ian Olver said plain packaging had enormous potential to deter young people from taking up smoking, which would translate to a significant drop in premature cancer deaths.
“We applaud the New Zealand Government for taking this step,” Professor Olver said.
“We note that the Government there will first hold a public consultation, but if the Australian experience is anything to go by, the public will support plain packaging and understand it is an important public health measure. The most vocal opponents will no doubt be the multinational tobacco companies – which just shows that the tobacco industry also expects plain packaging to cut the number of new smokers.”
Professor OIver said the Associate Minister for Health in New Zealand, Tariana Turia, made a similar argument to Australian government and public health experts for introducing plain packaging: as a way to stop tobacco companies using the design and appearance of packs to promote their deadly products.
“With New Zealand taking this decision and the UK Government also looking into the introduction of plain packaging, we could be at the forefront of a global push to end the use of glossy coloured packs to attract young people to tobacco use,” he said.
“More than 6 million people die every year from the direct effects of smoking, so it’s time we took all the glamour out of what is an extraordinarily deadly and addictive product.”