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Tobacco Industry And Government Should Work Together On Regulation, Company Says

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Voxy Newswire
Voxy Newswire
Tobacco Industry And Government Should Work Together On Regulation, Company Says

One of New Zealand’s leading tobacco companies believes industry and regulators should work together at a national level to develop appropriate regulation around cigarette products.

Speaking on ‘World No Tobacco Day’, which is promoted by the World Health Organisation (WHO) each year, Imperial Tobacco’s New Zealand Sales And Marketing Director, Tony Mears, said the WHO’s Framework Convention on Tobacco Control (FCTC) is, in effect, a global regulatory regime for tobacco products.

“The clear majority of countries, including NZ, are fully compliant with the treaty's minimum requirements, and issues such as plain packaging and display bans are neither mandatory nor required,” Mr Mears said.

“Nor does the FCTC encourage industry and regulators to work together. Imperial Tobacco is a legitimate, responsible company and we believe a collaborative approach between ourselves and government will produce better outcomes in efforts to control smoking.”

Mr Mears reiterated his concerns that the introduction of plain packaging, called for by the public health lobby, would contribute to an unprecedented increase in illicit tobacco products.

“There is no evidence to support claims that plain packaging will reduce smoking. But there is evidence to suggest that overly restrictive regulation like this will further encourage criminal elements to make and market counterfeit and unregulated cigarettes over which there will be no regulatory control whatsoever. No control over the materials with which they are produced, nor any control over to whom they are sold.”

Mr Mears also questioned moves to introduce retail display bans.

“Evidence from Iceland and Canada shows smoking prevalence has actually increased in some regions as a result of display bans,” he said.

“Why would New Zealand want to introduce a regulatory requirement that has been shown not to work, but also to have the opposite effect to that intended?

“Regulations like display bans that erode adult freedom of choice and restrict consumer awareness are highly questionable in a modern democracy. Having made the choice to smoke, adult smokers should have the right to see what brands are available for sale.” 

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