The proposed plain-packaging law ‘will remove the last remaining vestige of glamour from these deadly products,’ said Tariana Turia, New Zealand’s associate Minister of Health.
Under the new law, logos on tobacco products will be replaced with graphic warnings.
Australia implemented the same law last year and is currently battling a case in the World Trade Organisation against several tobacco-growing countries. Last year tobacco companies lost a legal challenge opposing the law in Australia’s highest court.
The New Zealand government wants to minimise its legal exposure by waiting until the outcome of the Australian challenge, said Turia.
Many countries mandate that packages display photos or text describing smoking’s health effects, and some limit the size of the branding or ban certain slogans, but Australia’s dual approach is the strictest globally.
New Zealand has set itself a target of eliminating smoking altogether by 2025. Turia said the government would consider introducing further measures, such as banning smoking in cars and public places and further hiking taxes.