Tobacco company bosses have "encouraged" their workers to take a stand on plain packaging, writes Ben Heather of www.stuff.co.nz.Submissions to the Government's tobacco plain packaging proposal released under the Official Information Act show 16 Imperial Tobacco employees registered their opposition.
They are part of a large international opposition to the proposal, which includes hints at legal action by New Zealand's three biggest tobacco companies.
The employees - who all asked the Health Ministry not to disclose their names - argued plain packaging would boost black market tobacco and not reduce smoking.
Imperial Tobacco confirmed in a statement that it had encouraged employees to have their say.
"We have . . . kept employees informed of developments and encouraged them to make a submission during the consultation."None of the workers who submitted to the proposal supported plain packaging.
Action on Smoking and Health New Zealand spokesman Michael Colhoun said the level of opposition was not surprising and was a sort of backhand vote of confidence. "It's called a scream test," he said. "When the [tobacco] industry kicks up a fuss, it generally shows that it will be an effective measure in reducing smoking."
Despite the opposition, Mr Colhoun said he was confident plain packaging would become a reality. "It got through in Australia."
Plain packaging laws came into force in Australia last month after an unsuccessful legal challenge from Japan Tobacco International SA and British American Tobacco Australasia.
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