WDHB supports new standardised tobacco packaging


5 March 2018

Whanganui District Health Board (WDHB) is very supportive of the new standardised tobacco packaging due for release from 14 March 2018.

WDHB health promoter Sarah Hawken says the initiative marks a pivotal step in the Government’s tobacco control programme designed to help progress the Smokefree New Zealand 2025 goal.

Ms Hawken says evidence gathered internationally and Australia’s implementation of standardised or plain packaging in 2012 shows it does have a positive impact. “Health warnings become more visible on packets, the desirability of smoking is reduced and there is less chance of packaging misleading consumers about the harms of smoking,” she says.

New Zealand tobacco packets will be the same standard dark brown/green background colour as Australia, the United Kingdom, Ireland and France. New pictures and health warnings will be enlarged to cover at least 75 percent of the front of tobacco packs, and all tobacco company marketing imagery will be removed.

Tobacco manufacturers will be allowed to print a brand name and variant on their tobacco products, but the regulations determine the look, including where they are placed on the pack, and what type face, font size and colour must be used. A new set of health warning messages and images have been prepared to feature on the new tobacco packs.

Miss Hawken says cigarettes will now only be sold in packs of either 20 or 25 cigarettes, in standard cardboard packs and loose tobacco in pouches of 30 or 50 grams in standard rectangular soft plastic pouches.

The new packaging regime comes into force from March 2018 with an additional six weeks allowed for old stock to be distributed and a further six weeks for that old stock to be sold. From early June 2018 only standardised packs will be able to be sold.

Whanganui DHB encourages everyone thinking about quitting to contact the local Stop Smoking Service on freephone 0800 200 249 for free and confidential advice.