Standardised cigarette packages to be introduced

Everyone knows that smoking is an extremely costly way to ruin your health but in some countries it is a greater burden one the purse than in others. When travelling New Zealand you should definitely consider wisely if you want to spend your budget on cigarettes. Many people I met while travelling had quit smoking due to the insane prices of cigarettes compared to elsewhere in the world. For instance, these days, you get a pack for five euros in Germany whereas you have to spend more than twice as much in New Zealand (20 NZD = 12 EUR).

This is because the New Zealand government is taking two major measures to refrain people from smoking. Firstly, it is increasing the cost of smoking. It decided on raising the tax on tobacco each year by ten per cent for the next four years.

Secondly, government is forcing the tobacco companies to print warning labels and gruesome pictures of smoker’s lungs and suchlike on the packages. Last week, a new idea for the design was presented. Government intends to standardise the look of cigarette packs by introducing a new guideline saying that the mandatory health warning shall cover at least 75 per cent of the front of the package.

According to John Key , these packages are likely to be found in stores wars next year. (http://www.nzherald.co.nz/nz/news/article.cfm?c_id=1&objectid=11648047 ) This campaign is based on a study declaring that pictural warnings about lung disease and cancer generate the strongest motivation for smokers to quit. Yet, it seems to be even more helpful to raise the awareness for the positive effects of quitting than only showing dreadful ways of dying. So the government would do best including this factor in their campaign.

These measures affect 15 per cent of the New Zealanders who smoke daily - contrasting with the 35 per cent of the Maori population. ( http://www.stats.govt.nz/browse_for_stats/snapshots-of-nz/nz-social-indicators/Home/Health/tobacco-smoking.aspx<<) Still, drug abuse among indigenous peoples is not to be discussed here.

Taking a look at the EU guidelines, we see that a similar law had been introduced lately. At the end of May, shops started selling the newly designed packages covered by two thirds with shocking images and warnings.

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