Old pack­ag­ing up in smoke


Stan­dard­ised pack­ag­ing on tobacco will hope­fully help nor­malise the con­cept of smoke­free, ex­perts say.

The 2013 Cen­sus re­sults showed that there were 19.2 per cent of adults in South­land smok­ing daily, which was higher than the New Zealand rate of 15.1 per cent and much higher than the Otago rate of 14 per cent.

The South­ern Dis­trict Heath Board smoke­free team wel­comed the reg­u­la­tion of stan­dard­ised pack­ag­ing of tobacco prod­ucts, which came into force na­tion­wide yes­ter­day.

SDHB health pro­mo­tion ad­vi­sor Joanne Lee said it was some­thing her team had been work­ing to­wards for sev­eral years.

‘‘We’re ex­cited to see this hap­pen­ing at last and pleased that cig­a­rettes will now be pack­aged to de­pict the ex­act prod­uct they are.’’

Ac­cord­ing to 2006 Cen­sus data, the preva­lence of reg­u­lar smok­ing amongst the South­land pop­u­la­tion was con­sid­er­ably higher in Ma¯ori (42 per cent) com­pared to Euro­pean pop­u­la­tions (23 per cent). The data showed 57.3 per cent of Ma¯ori chil­dren lived in house­holds with smok­ers, com­pared to 33.2 per cent of Euro­pean chil­dren in South­land.

Lee said the stan­dard­i­s­a­tion of tobacco pack­ag­ing was a ma­jor step to­wards nor­mal­is­ing smoke­free.

‘‘Up un­til now, tobacco com­pa­nies have used brand im­agery to ap­peal to cur­rent smok­ers and in­flu­ence po­ten­tial new smok­ers.’’

Re­tail­ers will have a six week grace pe­riod where old stock can be dis­trib­uted, then a fur­ther six weeks for old stock to be sold.

How­ever, from June 6 tobacco prod­ucts can only be sold in stan­dard­ised packs na­tion­wide.

All tobacco pack­ag­ing will be plain brown and green-coloured and will in­clude a num­ber of graphic im­ages show­ing the health con­se­quences of smok­ing. Brand and prod­uct names will be per­mit­ted but these must be in a stan­dard colour, po­si­tion, font size and style.

‘‘The pack­ages be­come less ap­peal­ing when they are all the same unattrac­tive browny-green colour and have health warn­ings with graphic im­ages that cover the ma­jor­ity of the pack,’’ Lee said.

Last year, the In­ver­cargill City Coun­cil also got on board - adopt­ing a smoke­free pol­icy for the cen­tral busi­ness dis­trict. It is not a by­law ban en­forced by penal­ties, but a pol­icy to be ex­pressed in terms of sig­nage.


South­ern Dis­trict Health Board health pro­mo­tion ad­vi­sor Joanne Lee and Smoke­free co-or­di­na­tor Debby New­ton.

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