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Plain packaging details to be released

NZ NewswireNZ Newswire 30/05/2016

Plain packaging of cigarettes may soon be in effect. © AP Photo Plain packaging of cigarettes may soon be in effect. The government is about to reveal details of how it's going to enforce the plain packaging of cigarettes and tobacco.

It still has to pass the legislation that will give it the power to do that, but it's marking World SmokeFree Day by releasing draft regulations.

They'll be put out for public discussion by Associate Health Minister Sam Lotu-Iiga just before noon on Tuesday.

That means they'll be ready to go when the bill is passed, which could be in the next two or three months.

The bill was introduced in February last year and passed its first reading.

It went to a select committee, which supported it, but the government put it on hold because it was worried about the possibility of costly legal challenges from the big multi-national companies.

The Australian government was being sued at the time, but in December last year the legal action failed.

Prime Minister John Key says the cabinet is still to make a decision about putting the bill through its final stages, but he's indicated it soon will.

"Quite a number of countries have moved towards plain packaging, and the advice I'm getting from my officials is it's safer for us to proceed," he said at his post-cabinet press conference on Monday.

"We're getting much more comfortable in moving more quickly towards that decision."

Last week's budget confirmed that the annual 10 per cent increase in tobacco excise would continue for the next four years.

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