The New Zealand government’s consultation on the draft standardised tobacco product packaging will close at the end of July. Chair of Cancer Council Australia’s Tobacco Issues Committee and renowned global authority on standardised tobacco packaging, Kylie Lindorff is visiting New Zealand to encourage the Government to implement the measure as soon as possible.

Standardised packaging was enforced in Australia in 2012 – the impact of which has seen an increase in people wanting to quit smoking and an ongoing reduction in smoking up-take. A post-implementation review of standardised packaging in Australia concluded the tobacco standardised packaging measure had begun to achieve its public health objectives of reducing smoking and exposure to tobacco smoke and it is expected to continue to do so into the future.

Lindorff is supporting New Zealand to follow Australia’s lead and tighten the regulations they have adopted. “Research conducted after the implementation of standardised packaging in Australia has shown the tobacco industry is still finding way to advertise to consumers – for instance, brand and variant names of tobacco products flourished after standardised packaging was adopted in an attempt to remind smoker of the supposed brand differences their old decorated packs conveyed. New Zealand should learn from this and restrict brand and variant names,” commented Lindorff.

Cancer Society Auckland Chief Executive, John Loof, trusts the Government will learn from what has happened in Australia and not delay this measure any longer. “Standardised packaging has proven to be effective and legally viable in Australia. The longer we wait, the further removed we are from achieving the Government’s goal of a Smoke-free Aotearoa by 2025,” he said. “Tobacco use remains the leading cause of preventable death in New Zealand, with 4500 to 5000 deaths every year”.

Lindorff will be in Auckland on Wednesday 20 July 2016 to give a seminar on standardised tobacco packaging hosted by Cancer Society Auckland and Hāpai te Hauora.