Skip to content

Feature | ASPIRE2025 congratulates government on plain packaging decision

ASPIRE2025 researchers congratulate the government on its decision to introduce plain packaging. We especially acknowledge Minister Tariana Turia, who has consistently championed the introduction of stronger tobacco control policies.

ASPIRE2025’s research has contributed to the strong evidence base supporting plain packaging, a measure that the public also endorse. The government’s decision recognises this evidence and is particularly important because plain packaging will help protect young people from the misery smoking causes.

Our research, which includes in-depth qualitative studies, surveys, and experiments, shows that plain packaging greatly reduces the perceived and actual experience of smoking, particularly among young people, the tobacco industry’s most important market. Australian smokers’ own assessments also reveal that plain packaging has diminished their experience of smoking.

Tobacco companies have threatened the government, spent hundreds of thousands of dollars on ill-conceived advertising campaigns, and done everything they could to oppose plain packaging. The reason is simple: Their product kills half its long term users and no business can survive such a loss without recruiting new consumers.

Cigarette branding and packaging has always appealed to young people but they will now see a toxic product exposed for what it really is. Stripped of evocative imagery, displayed in packs that elicit connotations of tar-tainted phlegm and foreground the terrible consequences of smoking, tobacco will no longer be an aspirational ‘badge’ product.

Plain packaging is an important step towards the government’s goal of New Zealand becoming a smokefree society by 2025 (where smoking prevalence falls below 5%). The government’s decision on plain packaging reflects not only the strong research evidence of plain packaging’s effectiveness, but also the high priority the government, quite rightly, places on its citizen’s health.

Please take time to review some of our work on plain packaging.

1) View our submission on the consultation on plain packaging here (link to PDF on the Ministry of Health website).

2) Watch a video of the ASPIRE2025 seminar presented by Professor Melanie Wakefield highlighting the Australian experience of plain packaging and other tobacco control policies.  You will need a password to view this page. If you are a member of the New Zealand tobacco control sector and do not have the password, please use the form on the contact us page.

3) Research publications (the links will take you to the external journal websites):