What is Standardised Packaging?

Standardised packaging is packaging for cigarettes without any colours, branding and imagery, logos, trademarks, inserts, or decorative and design features on both the outside and inside that promotes smoking or the brand.

So all tobacco products packets would have the same colouring, font and materials use for the entire wrapper, and no coloured filters, printing or embossing of logos on cigarettes.

How will standardised packaging work?

Standardised packaging will:
  • make tobacco products less attractive, especially to young people
  • stop misleading information about health risks being used
  • make health warnings more believable and so more successful


Standardised packs



Why do we need standardised packaging?

We need standardised packaging because the tobacco industry uses packs to communicate brands to customers, make them attractive, desirable and give a cool image. 

Packaging helps to:
  • establish brand identity in competitive markets
  • is used for constant marketing and as smokers carry and use the product all the time
  • make a statement about you it becomes part of your ‘clothing’
  • make different statements depending on the cigarette smoked
  • since traditional tobacco advertising was banned packaging has become the tobacco industry’s way of both advertising their products and making relationships with smokers.

The tobacco industry has worked for many years to create strong brand identities for smokers to relate to. The use of colours, images and words have been used in with brands to build ideas about the risks and taste of their tobacco products.

Colours have been used to promote ideas using strength of colour e.g. red packs = strong flavour; green packs – coolness (menthol) and white packs = low tar.

Removing pack branding is an important step in treating tobacco products as the harmful drugs they are.

Tobacco kills half of its users. Branded cigarette packets are a powerful tobacco industry marketing tool designed to attract young people - our tamariki. Research shows that standardised packaging reduces the attractiveness of tobacco products to children which in turn will help to them to stay smokefree. 

Standardised packaging is the best way to send a clear message to our whānau who smoke that tobacco is deadly, and it also plays a part in preventing tamariki taking up smoking.

New Zealand aims to follow Australia who introduced standardised packaging laws in December 2012. Standardised packaging means tobacco products will be sold in dark olive coloured packages with generic fonts. Standardised packaging means removing tobacco industry logos, brand imagery and any decorative colours or design features on packets. This will make cigarette and tobacco packets less attractive. 

Listen to what our children say about cigarette packs:


Plain Packaging

What is New Zealand doing about standardised packaging?

The Smokefree Environments (Tobacco Plain Packaging) Amendment Bill passed its first reading by New Zealand government in February 2014. The Minister said "The decision to introduce plain packaging for tobacco products in New Zealand is about the branding - it takes away the last means of promoting tobacco as a desirable product".

The Bill was also approved by the Health Select Committee and is now awaiting its second reading in Parliament.

Watch this space!

The Ministry of Health website has a complete history of the process New Zealand has gone through including all background documents.

Standardised packaging – What can I do to help?

Protect our children and support plain packs.

Cigarette packets are a powerful marketing tool that tobacco companies use to attract young people - our tamariki, their future consumers. 

Cigarettes in standardised packs won't stop everyone from smoking, but it will give our kids one less reason to start.

The New Zealand government needs to push this bill through to protect our children.

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Smokefree 2025