Cigarettes sold in Wellington could introducre plan cigarette packaging as early as 2017.
Aiming to to become the world’s first smoke-free capital by 2025, the government announced that the plain packaging “will reduce the appeal and acceptability of cigarettes and tobacco it will make warnings more effective.”
The United Nations health agency has recently relased an 86-page report on plain packaging. According to WHO Director General Dr. Margaret Chan, this “kills the glamour, which is appropriate for a product that kills people.”
“The message isn’t getting through: Tobacco kills. A good way to amplify it and disrupt the psychology of tobacco consumption is making the plain packaging of tobacco products, also known as standardized packaging, mandatory,” said WHO South-East Asia regional director Poonam Khetrapal Singh.
Plain packaging means removing branding and promotional information, and replaced by graphic health warnings. There will also be dull colors, and the manufacturer’s name will be in plain, standardised font.
The government is urging the public to submit designs on the plain packaging. The submissions will close on July 29, 2016.
This proposed change is facing a number of criticism, however. According to health researcher Marewa Glover, there is no evidence that changing the packaging to plain will lower smoking rates.
Meanwhile, mayor Celia Wade-Brown said that she wants Wellington to be the first smoke-free capital in the world. She has recently launched a campaign to ban smoking in all council-owned areas like parks, bus stops, and other council-owned flats.
This announcement was made on World SmokeFree Day, when the Stroke Foundation asked the government to ban smoking on Parliament grounds.
According to Stuff, lung cancer was the biggest cause of death in the country, with 5,000 Kiwis killed every year from smoking-related diseases.