24 Sep 2008

Anti-smoking groups welcome packet changes

7:12 pm on 24 September 2008

Anti-smoking groups are welcoming a decision to remove the words "light" and "mild" from cigarette packets, but say tobacco companies should have been fined.

The decision follows a Commerce Commission investigation which found that the words could be misleading under the Fair Trading Act.

The commission says the use of those words could deceive people into believing that the cigarettes are less harmful than full-strength tobacco products.

New Zealand's three major tobacco suppliers have agreed to remove the words from their packaging by mid-October, affecting about 10 different types of cigarettes.

The Smokefree Coaliation and the Maori Smokefree Coaliation welcomed the move, but said the companies should have been fined.

However, the commission defended its actions, saying compliance by the tobacco companies has averted a lengthy court case.