Tim Walker’s Smoke III

Cigarette packets in New Zealand are being stripped of their insignia meaning that smokers will no longer be able to spend their days staring adoringly at world tobacco’s branding.

Reportedly Australia has already taken the same measures to de-brand their cigarette packets resulting in an overall reduction in cigarettes sales…

One person who is happy about this ruling though is Maori party spokeswoman and renowned former smoker, Dame Tariana Turia who, after publicly struggling to kick the habit herself some years ago, can now sit back and quietly observe the disharmony caused by so many aggrieved Kiwi smokers, with all the smug condescension of a reformed smoker who knows first-hand how vicious the nicotine battle can be yet feels that because she won that particular stoush, it’s none of her concern anymore.

…The one party which is genuinely aggrieved by this movement however, perhaps obviously, is the tobacco companies themselves; these corporations pay millions of dollars each year in advertising costs and for them cigarette packaging must be a large part of that…

While there is no reason for smokers themselves to be terribly put out by a plain cigarette packet, given that the contents are largely the same, totally understandable is the tobacco companies’ indignation at the move – how would Griffin’s feel if their branding was stripped then had a pack of Budget chocolate chip cookies passed off as their product?

…Therefore with zero distinction anymore between a pack of Pall Mall, Winfield, B&H or, heaven forbid, Holiday twenties, but with the person smoking the cigarette having merely glanced at the packet before withdrawing a smoke then sliding the box back into their pocket, this might well turn out to be more of a battle for recognition between worldwide tobacco companies than it will a means of lowering New Zealand’s smoking frequency.

Regardless, word is Uncle John’s past move to raise the cost of cigarettes was racist in that it disproportionately penalised Maori people but hang on, that can’t be right, I mean Dame Turia seems pretty stoked with the whole deal so, you know, I don’t know.



Article by Tim Walker

Edited by Aver Ty Zing

Photography by P Layne Peck

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