Cigarette packaging likely to go plain

Last updated 17:38 07/04/2011

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New Zealand is likely to follow Australia's lead on requiring tobacco to be sold in plain packaging, Associate Health Minister Tariana Turia says.

Australian health minister Nicola Roxon has drafted legislation requiring tobacco companies to print their brand name in a specific font.

If the legislation is passed, cigarette packs would have to be sold in an ugly olive green because research showed this was the least attractive colour for smokers, Ms Roxon has said.

British American Tobacco Australia argued the proposal would infringe international trademark and intellectual property laws and could see ongoing court action.

Australia would be the first country in the world to mandate plain packaging of cigarettes.

Mrs Turia said the Government had already announced it would monitor progress on Australia's proposal to see if it could be done in New Zealand.

"We are very supportive of today's announcement by Australian health minister Nicola Roxon and it is my expectation that New Zealand will inevitably follow their lead and look to introduce the plain packaging of tobacco products."

The Government had already committed to making the country smokefree by 2025.

Government officials were talking to Australian counterparts on alignment and would report back to Cabinet by June 30.

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- NZPA

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