Proposal to introduce plain packaging of tobacco products in New Zealand

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Proposal to introduce plain packaging of tobacco products in New Zealand

July 2012

Consultation document

Citation: Ministry of Health. 2012. Proposal to Introduce Plain Packaging of Tobacco Products in New Zealand: Consultation document. Wellington: Ministry of Health.

Published in July 2012 by the
Ministry of Health
PO Box 5013, Wellington 6145, New Zealand

ISBN 978-0-478-39363-2 (online)

HP 5530

This document is available at


Contents iii

Part 1: Overview 1

1.1 Introduction 1

1.2 Purpose 2

1.3 What is being consulted on? 2

1.4 Making a submission 3

1.5 Document outline 3

Part 2: Proposal to introduce plain packaging 5

2.1 Formal statement of policy objectives 5

2.2 Agreement in principle to a plain-packaging regime 6

2.3 What would plain packaging look like? 6

2.4 Reviewing and enlarging health warnings on tobacco products 8

2.5 Trade marks 8

2.6 Alignment with Australia 9

Part 3: Rationale for introducing plain packaging 10

3.1 Why introduce plain packaging in New Zealand? 10

3.2 Restrictions on advertising and display 11

3.3 Health warnings 12

3.4 New Zealand domestic policy commitments 13

3.5 New Zealand’s international commitments under the FCTC 13

Part 4: Regulatory impacts 15

4.1 Regulatory Impact Statement 15

4.2 Consideration of alternative options to plain packaging 15

4.3 Impacts on tobacco industry and related businesses 16

4.4 Litigation risk 17

Part 5: Evidence for the effectiveness of plain packaging 18

5.1 Summary of international evidence 18

5.2 Brand imagery and health warnings 18

5.3 International research and evidence base 19

5.4 Australian research 21

Part 6: Participating in the consultation process 22

6.1 Submission of consultation feedback 22

6.2 Next steps 22

6.3 Commercially sensitive information 23

6.4 Declaration of interest 23

6.5 Further detail of a plain-packaging regime in alignment with Australia 23

6.6 Further opportunities for consultation 24

Part 7: Consultation questions 25

7.1 General consultation questions 25

7.2 Specific questions relating to impacts on manufacturers, exporters, importers and retailers of tobacco products 27

Appendix 1: New Zealand’s tobacco control programme 29

Tobacco control in New Zealand 29

Recent initiatives for tobacco control 30

Appendix 2: List of sources, references and document links 32

New Zealand Government documents 32

Australian documents 32

Australian consultation papers 33

Australian legislation 33

UK documents 34

UK consultation documents 34

Documents assessed by Moodie et al (2012) 34

General references on plain packaging 37

References on smoking and health 40

Part 1: Overview

Part 1 provides a short introduction, states the purpose of the consultation and outlines what is being consulted on. It then provides a guide to help readers identify the parts of this consultation document and what each part contains.

1.1 Introduction

Smoking is the single largest cause of preventable death and disease in New Zealand. Around 4500 to 5000 New Zealanders die each year from their own smoking or exposure to the smoke of others. Smoking is a leading cause of cancer, serious respiratory diseases and cardiovascular disease, including strokes and heart attacks.
The Government is serious about reducing the enormous harm, suffering and loss of life that smoking causes. It is a priority issue for the nation’s public health.
New Zealand has a long history of implementing measures to counter the harms of smoking. The Government’s official tobacco control programme dates back nearly 30 years. The combination of measures taken over that time has steadily reduced smoking rates, but the negative impact of smoking on population health is still too great.
The Government is committed to further reducing the prevalence of smoking in New Zealand. It has set an aspirational long-term goal of making New Zealand essentially a smokefree nation by 2025.1
The Government continues to implement a comprehensive tobacco control programme and is pursuing a range of initiatives and options to increase its effectiveness. Among these options, the Government is now considering a plain-packaging regime for tobacco products to further discourage smoking, help reduce smoking prevalence and improve population health.
A plain-packaging regime for tobacco products2 means tightly regulating every aspect of their appearance in order to prevent any form of tobacco marketing, promotion or advertising occurring on tobacco products and tobacco product packaging. This document presents the proposal to introduce plain packaging in New Zealand for public consultation.

1.2 Purpose

The purpose of this consultation document is to:

  • set out the Government’s plain-packaging proposal

  • gather the views of interested individuals, businesses and organisations

  • inform New Zealand’s trade partners and invite their comment3

  • seek additional information relevant to the proposal.

The purpose of this consultation process is therefore to provide the public, the health sector, non-governmental organisations, business interests and New Zealand’s trade partners with the opportunity to comment on the proposal and have their views considered before the Government decides whether or not to proceed.

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