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New Zealand becomes the second country in the world to introduce plain packaging

Tuesday 19 February, 2013

Quit Victoria has welcomed news that New Zealand will become the second country in the world to introduce plain packaging.

"This important and courageous reform means the next generation of New Zealanders will never be exposed to or deceived by tobacco advertising on packaging and that step will go a long way towards ensuring the nation's youth will not be seduced into taking up this deadly habit," Quit Victoria Executive Director Fiona Sharkie said.

"Despite repeating their campaign of misinformation during the plain packaging consultation in New Zealand, the tobacco industry has been unsuccessful in their attempts to sabotage the process and recruit a new generation of smokers and future cancer sufferers."

Ms Sharkie said plain packaging was already having an impact in Australia.

"Although plain packaging is designed to reduce uptake of smoking amongst young people, we know it has also had an impact on smokers," she said.

"Immediately after plain packaged cigarettes began to hit shelves in Australia, calls to the Quitline increased considerably.

"The percentage of Quitline callers sourcing the number from packs also spiked, going from 23% to 36%."

Ms Sharkie also said one in three Quitline callers who commented on the taste of cigarettes since plain packaging was introduced now think they taste different.

"The reaction from smokers underlines the importance of branding and we congratulate New Zealand and in particular Associate Minister for Health Tariana Turia for this huge step forward for the future health of New Zealanders," she said.

"Today's announcement also has global significance in the fight to curb the devastating toll of tobacco, which is on path to kill a billion people worldwide this century.

"We hope the New Zealand government takes confidence from the Australian Government's experience that you can take on the tobacco industry in court and win."