Tobacco kills half of its users when used exactly as intended.  Plain packaging is the best way to not only send a clear message to our whānau who smoke that tobacco is deadly, but it will also play a part in encouraging our tamariki to never smoke.

New Zealand is expected to follow Australia’s lead to introduce dark olive coloured packages with plain fonts on all tobacco products – a format developed after rigorous market testing.

By replacing tobacco industry logos, brand imagery and any decorative colours or design features on packets, plain packaging aims to make tobacco less attractive with less appealing colours and generic fonts.

Health warnings

In addition to changing the colour and look of tobacco packets, plain packaging will also focus on increasing the size and effectiveness of current health warnings on all tobacco packaging with an aim to make the health messages harder hitting and more relevant to New Zealanders.

Why should we support plain packaging?

Plain packaging can reduce the appeal of tobacco by:

  • Reducing brand appeal and attractiveness of any tobacco product, particularly to young people.
  • Removing misleading and deceptive beliefs about the health risks associated with different products – for example common misconceptions around ‘light’ and ‘menthol’ cigarettes packaged in light or green coloured packs.
  • Increasing the effectiveness and credibility of health warnings – graphic health warnings can be updated and the size increased.  
  • Removing any positive associations with cigarette brands and image.

Five tobacco industry myths and the reality behind them

Myth number 1 -There is no evidence plain packaging will work


Both research and feedback from customers shows plain packs are less appealing that branded packs. Health warnings on tobacco are also noticed more and misconceptions around the harm difference between brands is reduced.

Myth number 2 - Tobacco smuggling will increase because plain cigarette packs are easily counterfeited


New Zealand has been shown to have a low amount of illicit tobacco, with no sign that this is on the increase. There is no proof that plain packaging would change this. Packs will still be required to have New Zealand Health Warnings (in English and te reo Mãori) so packs will not be any easier to replicate.

Myth number 3 - Tobacco is going to be put out of sight, so we don't need plain packs


The removal of New Zealand's tobacco retail displays on 23 July 2012 hides tobacco packaging in shops. Tobacco packs continue to operate as 'mini-billboards' creating brand exposure to everyone the consumer is in contact with, including children.

Myth number 4 - Doesn't this 'confiscate' intellectual property rights?


The New Zealand government would not be acquiring the right to use the brands, simply restricting their use in line with labelling laws in Australia. Restrictions on tobacco brands have been progressive over several years and have included prohibiting advertising and display and the introduction of graphic warning labels.

Myth number 5 - This is going too far - won't this lead to other products being forced in to plain packaging?


Tobacco can't be compared to any other product. It kills one in every two users and is the only consumer product that kills when used exactly as the manufacture intended. Tobacco has been restricted for decades in New Zealand and the other measures (advert bans, warning labels, display restrictions etc) have not spread to other far less harmful products.

The Plain Truth

The Plain Truth (Video)