New Zealand: Government Tries to Blow Smoke from Tobacco Dangers

Known for its green and environmentally friendly efforts, the New Zealand government is at it again, trying to enact policies that are not only “good” for the environment, but also good for the people. First Target: Tobacco companies.

Influenced by the Australian government’s recent introduction of “plain cigarette packaging,” the New Zealand government will be proposing “plain packaging” legislation for tobacco products to be effective by the end of this year. Through plain packaging, tobacco products will be  unbranded and include pictures with large health warnings.

For those who do not know about all the negative side effects of cigarettes already – if there are any such souls – they are in for quite a treat! As seen in pictures from recent editions of the Wall Street Journal, health warnings include phrases such as “Don’t let children breathe your smoke” or “Smoking harms unborn babies.” According to the New Zealand Herald, the associate Health minister Tariana Turia insists that passage of this legislation will lower the appeal of smoking.

The government is obviously not joking around here.

Despite Turia and the New Zealand government’s expectations to implement this policy of plain packaging, many media sources are reporting rumors of an industry counterattack of various and sundry lawsuits. Media sources have shed light on various countries suing Australia through the World Trade Organization (WTO), claiming that this policy is “a barrier to trade and a breach of intellectual property rights,” as Isaac Davison of the New Zealand Herald puts it.

Did the government think that IT would win without a fight?

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