Do you support a move to plain cigarette packets?
An international study has thrown weight behind the campaign for New Zealand to adopt plain cigarette packaging.
Australia has recently adopted plain packaging, while the Maori party is proposing New Zealand does the same.
Tobacco companies have said they will fight the move to plain packaging, which evidence suggests is an efficient deterrent to smoking.
A new study by scientists in Canada, the United States and Brazil has shown the effect packaging has on reducing the appeal of their contents.
The scientists studied the choices of 640 young Brazilian women.
They found that plain packaging and the removal of any descriptions reduced the appeal of smoking for youth and young adults. Their study follows similar research with similar findings.
When offered cigarettes in a plain package or branded package, participants were three times more likely to choose the branded pack.
"The women in this study rated branded packs as more appealing, more stylish and sophisticated than the plain packs. They also thought that cigarettes in branded packs would be better tasting and smoother," lead author Dr David Hammond, from the University of Waterloo, Canada, said.
"Removal of all description from the packs, leaving only the brand, further reduced their appeal."
Professor Alistair Woodward, of Auckland University, said the tobacco industry used branding to lure smokers.
"This is why they have invested so heavily in design and illustration in the past, and why the industry now opposes plain packaging so vehemently."
Professor Janet Hoek, from Otago University, said the research paper was a document New Zealand officials needed to review when considering the issue.
Smoking was associated with femininity, glamour, and thinness, while simultaneously deflecting attention from health warnings, she said.
Steve Rush, general manager of British American Tobacco (BAT) New Zealand, has launched a campaign to fight the Government's proposal of plain packaging.
The proposal is currently up for consultation and BAT plans to make a submission ahead of the October deadline.
While the High Court in Australia ruled that plain packaging did not contravene the Australian constitution - which means the move will now go ahead next month - New Zealand's legal structure was different.
The Government could be challenged if it decided to adopt plain packaging.
- © Fairfax NZ News
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