NZMA Urges Action On Tobacco Packaging

The New Zealand Medical Association urges the Government to make real progress with a standardised packaging regime for tobacco products—which has been sliding down the Parliamentary Order Paper ever since its introduction to Parliament in 2013.

“Recent numbers supplied to the Ministry of Health show a drop of over 20% in tobacco consumption in the last five years,” says NZMA Chair Dr Stephen Child. “That’s positive—but it could be so much better. The Smoke-free Environments (Tobacco Plain Packaging) Amendment Bill had its first reading in February 2014, the Select Committee reported back over a year ago: there is no good reason to further delay a measure that will have a real impact on smoking levels—and the health of people—in this country.

“When the NZMA welcomed the introduction of this Bill well over two years ago, we pointed out that we need an environment that will be conducive and supportive towards quitting smoking. Standardised packaging is proving successful in this regard in Australia, along with regular tax increases on tobacco. We need more action on this here, now.

“New Zealand has been a world leader on this important public health issue but we need urgent action to be able to meet the Smokefree 2025 goal.”