Tobacco companies have described decisions to mandate the plain packaging of tobacco products as unconstitutional, in violation of their intellectual property rights, and likely to create a ‘slippery slope’ leading to regulation of other products. As ‘nanny state’ rhetoric may turn public opinion against policy interventions, we examined whether New Zealand smokers and non-smokers agreed with the tobacco industry’s arguments. An online survey found majority support for plain packaging and the introduction of larger on-pack warnings, and little sympathy for the industry’s argument that plain packaging would unfairly impede its ability to use its intellectual property. Although tobacco companies claim their stance protects civil freedoms, our findings suggest the public would welcome more progressive tobacco control policies, which they see as posing little or no threat to their freedoms. Tobacco companies could demonstrate their respect for public opinion by embracing plain packaging and working with governments to implement this measure.
Citation: Hoek, J., Gendall, P., Maubach, N. Edwards, R. (2012) Strong Public Support for Plain Packaging of Tobacco Products. Australian and New Zealand Journal of Public Health, 36(5), 405-407. doi: 10.1111/j.1753-6405.2012.00907.x