National unsure on tobacco packet plan
Tue, 24 Jul 2012 5:37a.m.
Plain packaging of tobacco products could be the inevitable next step to stopping people smoking, but the National Party is only lukewarm on the idea.
The Government on Monday released a consultation document proposing to stop tobacco companies using the design and appearance of packaging to promote their products.
It's seeking the views of the public, along with businesses and organisations, along with New Zealand's trade partners.
Prime Minister John Key says the idea is "very worthy of consideration", but his party is yet to decide whether to support a law change.
"There are lots of things we need to consider. I wouldn't say it's a slam-dunk by any chance that plain packaging will take place, but nor would I rule it out."
Australia has announced it will introduce plain packaging from December.
However, that move could be undermined by pending legal action from tobacco giant Phillip Morris Asia, under a trade treaty with Hong Kong, while Honduras, Ukraine and the Dominican Republic have taken a case to the World Trade Organisation, claiming the legislation breaches Australia's commitment under global trade rules.
Mr Key says it's not yet clear whether New Zealand would be subject to similar action.
"We're likely to have the capacity to be able to introduce plain packaging in New Zealand but we're continuing to seek advice in that area."
The cost of defending a court case over such legislation could reportedly cost taxpayers up to $6 million - plus compensation if the Government were to lose - and Mr Key says that's another factor that needs to be taken into account.
British American Tobacco New Zealand on Monday warned that plain packaging could backfire on the Government by diminishing intellectual property rights, make tobacco more affordable through increased price competition and grow the illegal tobacco market.
Company spokesman Nick Booth said the company was strongly opposed to removing branding, which it calls "our valuable property".
The consultation document's release follows a ban on the display of tobacco products which came into effect on Monday.
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25/07/2012 7:54:49 p.m.
@ Gary. You do what you want (within reason). But if you're going to write false information about these products (with a physiological effect that renders them enemies of choice), then expect some feedback about it. Hate what is evil, hold on to what is good.
25/07/2012 8:07:20 a.m.
Shaun I do not mind either way ban them or not, I do not smoke and I excercise that is my choice I am happy with who I am and the choices I make my life is good. Try and get over your hatred of cigarettes and tobacco companies that leads to the dark side and will eat you up or drive you to drink!
24/07/2012 3:56:29 p.m.
@ Nick. The government are considering whether to follow Australia's lead on plain packaging. Cigarettes remain legal, so people can still purchase them. Apparently there's a high degree of 'brand loyalty' anyway, so the move should make little difference in this respect. In fact, this is how many smokers have responded when asked.
It's remarkable how people believe our government are dictating to NZ citizens, but are not opposed to foreign corporations dictating how our government set health policy (which allows cigarettes to remain legal, thus allowing for the 'choice' Gary refers to).
@ Gary. Even commercial trade agreements provide scope for health clauses, so you're wrong. And to equate these other products with tobacco is deceptive also. They don't come near (and tobacco regulation should inform the alcohol debate). You downplay tobacco harm because you can't see it by comparison.
You would have readers believe tobacco manufacturers are models of 'love & a positive attitude'. Hardly. You contradict yourself by stating opposition to 'dictatorship' and then claiming the government should simply ban cigarettes. Why? Because it has everything to do with health policy.
You have to stop 'messing around' and decide whether you accept the reality of harm, and if so, what you are doing about it, independent of government regulation. The 'minor problem' comment shows your ignorance (or deception). Agreed, education points in the right direction, but this suggests 'informed choice' leaves a lot to be desired.
24/07/2012 3:00:34 p.m.
It has nothing to do with health policy Shaun it is marketing and freedom of choice for the consumer. Car exhaust fumes are toxic we all inhale large quantities everyday including babies but we do nothing to stop it. Alcohol is toxic, fertilisers are toxic most things we shove into our own bodies are toxic, it is about freedom of choice not dictatorship. I do not support the tobacco industry but the government have to stop messing around and make a decision. It is either very harmful to society or not. If it is then make tobacco an illegal substance, simple. The truth is that on the whole it is a very very minor problem to society. Of course it is better for the persons health not to smoke, but same for drinking or eating hamburgers every day, should we ban this also?? And make it compulsory to exersise everyday?? Where do you draw the line?? Once you start dictating how people should live and the choices they MUST make there is no end, and every one is different so that is why God left it to the individual - it is the only way. Education, love and a positive attitude usually points people in the right direction.
24/07/2012 2:57:33 p.m.
I am not sure what Shaun is saying, is he saying that it is not ok for Tobacco Corps to dictate to our Government but it is ok for the Government to dictate how we New Zealander should be living.
24/07/2012 12:33:42 p.m.
Why then Gary, are you so accepting of a global tobacco corporations baseless attempts to dictate to our sovereign government's choices over how best to determine health policy?
Notice that despite these products being enemies of choice (idependent of government regulation or feedback from other people), they remain legal. If these are addictive and toxic, then the choice of non-smokers (using their bodies in accordance with The Manufacturers' intent) must surely take precedence. Are you going to argue the legal status renders cancer sticks innocuous? Even the tobacco reps no longer deny this. This doesn't make their conduct ethical.
Do you endorse their right to dictate to sovereign governments?
24/07/2012 11:25:15 a.m.
@SHAUN you hit the nail on the head when you say Human life is more 'valuable property' It is time the government stopped treating people as their property and understand that we are all individual with freedom of choice because that is the essence of life. God gave us the right to choose, not because we would always choose right but knowing that we would usually choose wrong and therefore learn from our mistakes each in their own time as an individual. I think smoking is pointless but I would never FORCE anyone to stop only advise them of their pointless habit. The only certainty in life is that we will all die, and are all slowly dying now, the when and how are the big questions or fears, but do not fear it just embrace life and enjoy it, even if your choice is to enjoy life with a cigarette in your mouth. Too few really live but all will die.
24/07/2012 11:25:11 a.m.
The next logical step would be for the NZ Government to stop importing tobacco!
24/07/2012 10:18:19 a.m.
Cannot say that plain packaging will do better as most persons who smoke really don't care about the wrapper just the make.
Most people have their preferences on what they prefer to smoke regardless, tipped or un-tipped.
Years ago they would use cigarette cases and discard the boxes.
War time was the time when the forces would rely very heavily on such smokes and who can blame them after what they went through.
For years and years the public have been over whelmed with advertising regarding health but still it continues.
Mainly because of the revenue it brings in and also it was a sponser on the sport field for many years.
Unless the world stop all such drugs as such it will never work and for once Keys does make a point of costing.
We cannot afford it!
24/07/2012 9:32:43 a.m.
And what's plain packaging supposed to do? I wouldn't care if my tobacco is wrapped in newspaper, it wouldn't stop me smoking.
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