The Ministry of Health has opened consultation on draft regulations to standardise tobacco products and packaging.
The consultation begins on the World Health Organization’s World No Tobacco Day which has the theme of ‘Get Ready for Plain Packaging’.
The government is committed to standardised packaging as the next step towards the aim of Smoke free Aotearoa 2025.
A bill amending the Smoke-free Environments Act is proceeding through Parliament. The passing of the bill will see the new regime brought into force 18 months later, and regulations will need to be in place before the bill comes into force.
This consultation gives all interested parties the opportunity to comment on and give input on the regulation details. It closes at 5pm, 29th July.
Tobacco products are already required to carry large graphic health warnings and may not be displayed at point of sale or advertised in any media. However the design and appearance of tobacco products and tobacco product packaging remain as powerful marketing tools to promote the use of tobacco products.
These marketing tools undermine the effectiveness of health warnings in dissuading people from smoking and encouraging smokers to stop. They also work to create false consumer perceptions leading smokers to underestimate the harms caused by tobacco products.
The main features of the scheme being brought in by the new law and regulations are:
- standardising the size and appearance of tobacco products and packages to make them less appealing, and to make the graphic warnings larger and more effective
- allowing a brand name and certain other manufacturer information to be printed on the pack, but with tight controls (e.g., over the type font, size, colour and position)
- prohibiting the use of tobacco company branding imagery and all other marketing devices on tobacco product packaging or on tobacco products themselves.
To find out more information about the consultation, see Standardised Tobacco Products and Packaging Draft Regulations: Consultation document