From today tobacco companies in New Zealand will no longer be able to sell cigarettes in branded packaging, instead they will be sold in generic olive brown packets retaining the graphic health warnings which are already prominent on the current branded packets.
Retailers will then have until June 6 to sell off their already branded stock, after this date it will only be permitted to sell the new plain packaged cigarettes.
A statement released by Action for Smokefree Aotearoa 2025 (ASH) has applauded the new measures being introduced by the Ministry of Health.
"ASH first campaigned on plain packaging thirty years ago and it has been 55 years since cigarette advertising was banned, on TV and radio in New Zealand.
"It's astonishing that over half a century later we are only just finishing the job," ASH Programme Manager, Boyd Broughton says.
However, Mr Broughton believes there is still a lot of work to be done if the government is to reach its goal of a smokefree NZ by 2025.
"We only have seven years left to achieve the Smokefree goal. It's a sprint to the finish, and we urge the new government to start running".
The new law will not apply to e-cigarettes and vaping products.