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Plain Tobacco Packaging A Step In The Right Direction

Contributor:
Fuseworks Media
Fuseworks Media
Plain Tobacco Packaging A Step In The Right Direction

Youthline supports the New Zealand governments plan to follow in Australia's footsteps and draft legislation requiring tobacco to be sold in plain packaging.

A study carried out across New Zealand high schools in 2001 showed that 52% of students had tried smoking cigarettes and 16% were smoking them weekly or more often.

The same study conducted in 2007 saw these statistics decrease dramatically with only 32% having ever tried smoking and only 8% were smoking weekly or more often. Youthline spokesperson, Stephen Bell says although this a positive sign, these statistics are still far too high, considering smoking is the single biggest cause of preventable death and ill health in New Zealand.

"While individuals must take responsibility for their decisions, society must also create an environment which encourages people to make good choices- the widespread and varied display of tobacco products is one factor which promotes smoking as an acceptable choice", he says.

"It's well known that advertising increases the rate of smoking in young people, so any move which hinders advertising is a good thing- however nothing is better than banning tobacco displays altogether."

Alongside banning tobacco displays, Youthline believes more strict enforcement of the legal age to purchase cigarettes is needed.

"It seems counterproductive to create new rules when the single best way to prevent young people smoking is to ensure restrictions on the current legal age are adhered to."

If the legislation is passed cigarette packs would have to be sold in an 'ugly olive green' because research showed this was the least attractive colour for smokers.

Stephen Bell says if this legislation eventuates it will be a positive move towards making New Zealand Smokefree by 2025.

Young people seeking support to quit smoking can contact Youthline:

Helpline 0800 37 66 33

Free txt 234

Email: talk@youthline.co.nz

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