Stronger Cigarette Pack Health Warnings Now Law

  • John Delamare
Associate Minister of Health

The Government has passed regulations requiring cigarette and loose tobacco packets to carry larger, stronger health warnings and increased consumer information

The stronger warnings and increased consumer information will appear on packets from early to mid next year. Tobacco importers, manufacturers and retailers, are being given time to phase in the new labelling requirements.

Tobacco products will be required to display, in rotation, the following health messages:

Smoking kills
Smoking is addictive

Smoking causes heart disease
Smoking when pregnant harms your baby

Smoking causes lung cancer
Your smoking can harm others

These messages will take up 25 percent of the front of packets of tobacco

products. At least thirty-three percent of the back of the packets must be devoted to more detailed information about the health effects of tobacco use.

Associate Minister of Health, Hon Tuariki Delamere said the new warnings would better inform smokers of the terrible health effects of smoking.

'Smoking causes the deaths of 4500 New Zealanders each year. The new warnings tell it like it is - smoking is addictive, it can kill you, it can harm your baby. Packs will also have detailed information about exactly why tobacco is so harmful - for example, that smoking can cause blockages in the body's arteries which can lead to chest pain and heart attacks.'

'There is an increasing focus in New Zealand on quitting smoking, and I hope the new warnings and information will provide a catalyst for some people to give up.'

'I am particularly pleased that there will be a health warning in te reo Maori - Ka mate koe i te kai hikareti (smoking kills) - on the front and back of packets. One in two Maori smoke, meaning smoking has reached epidemic proportions in our culture.

Mr Delamere said that the stronger health warnings would work with other strategies currently in place in New Zealand to reduce the number of New Zealanders who smoke.

Tobacco products will also be required to display:

  • increased information about tar, nicotine and carbon monoxide (CO) on one side of the pack (cigarette packs only) 
  • the telephone number of the Health Funding Authority's planned staffed quitline that smokers can ring for help and advice on quitting. This quitline will be operational later in 1999. 
  • The new warnings, and other information, will be in black writing on a white, black-bordered background, making the messages striking and noticeable.