RETAILERS and smokers believe the new standard packaging laws for tobacco will make no difference to smokers’ habits.
The regime was introduced on March 14 but came into effect yesterday after retailers were given a 12-week grace period to clear uncompliant stock.
New pictures and health warnings will be enlarged to cover 75 per cent of the front of tobacco products, brand names will be standardised through font and size and all packaging must now be an olive colour, the same as in Australia, United Kingdom and France.
Tobacco manufacturers will be allowed to print a brand name and variant on their tobacco products, but the regulations standardise how these look, including where they must be on the pack, what type face and font size and colour must be used, the Ministry of Health said.
“Cigarettes will only be sold in packs of either 20 or 25 sticks, in standard cardboard packs and loose tobacco in pouches of 30 or 50 grams in standard rectangular soft plastic pouches.”
The tax on tobacco will rise by 10 percent every January until 2020.
A New Zealand Initiative report recently argued that turning to less harmful habits was a good way to beat an addiction and was more successful than attempting to give up without a replacement.
A smoker said no packaging would ever stop a smoker.
“If you have an addiction you don’t care about the packaging” she said.
Instead she would rather see more services offered to smokers to help them quit.
Australia saw their smoking rates drop by 0.5 per cent after introducing a similar regime at the end of 2012.