Proposed New Zealand Law Targets Cigarette SmokersNew Zealand is considering a law designed to discourage the use of cigarettes. Despite the noble motive, however, big tobacco corporations claim the proposal, which would introduce a "plain packaging" regime, would violate corporate intellectual property rights. This is because New Zealand is a party to intellectual property and trade treaties that are designed to protect these types of proprietary interests.

As one Philip Morris official stated, "Our big concern is brands. The colours and the logos and the architecture of our brands are not there and our argument is that it is a confiscation of our brands." The investment necessary to develop a brand following, regardless of the industry, is certainly not something that corporations would be expected to part with by metaphorically wiping the slate clean without any notice or opportunity for rebuttal.

Additionally, some tobacco executives claim, studies have not demonstrated that plain packaging has any influence on tobacco use.

In addition to the potential law regarding packaging, the country will also begin imposing strict regulations regarding the display of cigarettes beginning next month. It has also recently imposed steep tax hikes on tobacco products, allegedly resulting in a significant decline in consumption.

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