New Zealand May See Slime and Pooh-Coloured Cigarettes to Deter Young Smokers

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In an effort to discourage smoking, researchers have urged the New Zealand government to take a step further after introducing plain packaging for tobacco.

According to the Herald, researchers want to make cigarettes unattractive by changing their colours to shades of brown and green similar to "slime, vomit or pooh."

A lobby group for tobacco control has told a parliamentary committee that cigarettes can be used as the new medium for anti-smoking campaigns. According to reports, the health select committee is thinking of changing the law to require all cigarettes and loose tobacco to be sold in "bland" packages with uniform fonts and bigger health warnings.

Professor Richard Edwards, researcher and former public health physician, told the committee that the government should look beyond plain packaging and make cigarettes "unattractive to young people."

In a study by anti-smoking group Aspire2025 represented by Professor Edwards, young New Zealanders disliked the cigarettes with the greenish hue and associated the colour to slime, scum,  vomit and pooh. By changing the colours of the cigarettes to "dissuasive" or unattractive ones, they expose the sticks for what they really are.

The cigarette companies were "deeply disturbed" by the government's decision to push through with the plain packaging bill as it removes the use of trademarks. In a joint statement on Feb. 10, tobacco companies said the new legislation will breach the international trade obligations of New Zealand while encouraging counterfeit and illicit trade. The companies recognized the right of the country to act on the benefit of public interest but they said the plain packaging bill was a wrong approach.

New Zealand's plain packaging bill will remove the tobacco company logos, colors and other ads designed to make smoking cigarettes glamorous in the eyes of the consumers. If the plain packaging bill is passed into law, New Zealand will be the second nation in the world to support plain packaging aside from Australia. Ireland and the UK are also considering the legalization of plain packaging on tobacco.

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