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Media | Smokefree 2025 Researchers Welcome Plain Packaging

Press release 9 September 2016

ASPIRE2025 co-directors, Professors Janet Hoek and Richard Edwards, welcome the introduction of standardised packaging and congratulate Dame Tariana Turia for her foresight in introducing this legislation, and Minister Sam Lotu-liga for overseeing its final movement through Parliament.

“Standardised packaging is a pivotal measure in the road to Smokefree 2025. It transforms tobacco packaging from a highly effective marketing tool, particularly for youth and young adults, to a plain and unattractive object.  For decades, tobacco companies have used skilfully designed packaging to help attract the next generation of smokers and the government has rightly ended this practice,” said Professor Hoek, who has led several studies examining standardised packaging.

A recent review of standardised packaging undertaken by the Australian government found that standardised packaging has not only made smoking less attractive to young people, but has also contributed to declines in smoking prevalence.

“It is excellent news that New Zealand will soon start to see the same benefits as those observed in Australia,” said Professor Hoek. “If we are to achieve New Zealand’s world-leading smokefree 2025 goal, we urgently need innovative new policies that will greatly reduce smoking uptake and trigger quitting among smokers.”

Professors Hoek and Edwards urged the Government to continue the momentum standardised packaging will create and called on Minister Lotu-liga to develop an action plan leading to the 2025 goal.

“We hope the Government will soon announce additional measures, such as licensing tobacco retailers. It is outrageous that a product known to kill two in three long-term users is sold at more than 6000 outlets in New Zealand, many close to schools.”

“The Government also has a crucial opportunity to use the additional revenue gained through tobacco excise taxes to support the many smokers who wish to quit.  We know most smokers regret ever having started smoking, but many struggle to become smokefree. Achieving the 2025 goal for all population groups will require a more comprehensive programme to help smokers to quit.”

ASPIRE2025 Hot topic Plain packaging

For more information:
Professor Janet Hoek
Co-Director ASPIRE2025
email janet.hoek@otago.ac.nz