New Zealand plans to remove logos from cigarette packs

WELLINGTON, New Zealand – New Zealand is moving ahead with plans to make tobacco companies remove their logos from cigarette packs and enhance graphic health warnings.

Under draft regulations released Tuesday, cigarettes would be required to be sold in packs with plain background colours and with gruesome-looking images covering at least 75 per cent of the front of each pack.

The proposal has widespread support among lawmakers. A law is expected to be passed this year with the changes enforced by early next year.

Dozens of countries and territories around the world have adopted similar measures in recent years after Australia became the trailblazer in 2012.

New Zealand Prime Minister John Key said lawmakers held back on enacting plain packaging rules earlier to observe lawsuits brought by tobacco companies play out in Australia.