New Zealand intends to make cigarette makers take away their logos from cigarette packages but will wait until a challenge to an identical Australian law is determined.
The law concerning packaging supposes the removing of the last remaining trace of allure from tobacco products, Associate Minister of Health Tariana Turia said.
New Zealand already has raised cigarette duty and tends to make retailers put away packs. The new law would comply with an Australian law that came in effect in December 2012, removed logos on packages and place graphic warning labels.
The suggested law could be presented to Parliament later this year to become operative when the trade case over Australia’s law terminates – in 2013 at the earliest.
Cigarette makers lost a legal challenge in Australia’s highest court in 2012, but the World Trade Organization has decided to hear a problem about the law from a number of tobacco-growing countries.
Several countries, such as the Dominican Republic, Honduras, Indonesia, Nicaragua, Ukraine and Zimbabwe, said that governments should follow health policies “without totally limiting international trade and without canceling intellectual property rights.”
Turia said that the New Zealand government requires reducing its legal exposure by waiting until the final result of the Australian challenge. However, the government is intending to reserve more than 6 million New Zealand dollars ($5.1 million) to defend against possible legal cases from the cigarette makers.
Steve Rush, the New Zealand general manager of British American Tobacco, said that BAT is considering its legal solution.
“The company wants to see several effects as a result of the government neglecting numerous international agreements as well as establishing a risky precedent for other industries,” Rush said.
Many countries require that packages display pictures or text describing smoking’s effects, and some reduce the size of the branding or prohibit certain slogans, but Australia’s dual strategy is the strictest throughout the world.
New Zealand has established itself a goal of removing smoking altogether by 2025. Turia said the government would give consideration to introduction of further actions, such as prohition of smoking in cars and public places and further taxes increase.
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