New Zealand’s government has begun the process of requiring plain-packaging for all tobacco products sold in the country, a move that came to light recently in their neighbor to the south, Australia.

Early Tuesday morning, the Smoke-free Environments (Tobacco Products and Packaging) Amendment Bill was lodged with the Clerk of the House and will be ready for a first reading soon after Parliament goes back to work early in 2014, according to Associate Minister of Health Tariana Turia, who spoke with

Should the act be passed, it would eliminate a brand’s colors, marks and what Turia described as “marketing ploys designed to make tobacco products glamorous and attractive is an important step in reducing the uptake of smoking.” The plain-packaging would then have larger health warnings added to them. Turia said the act is an important step to reaching a smoke-free New Zealand by 2025.

While it remains to be seen how much opposition the proposal meets within Parliament, it could be facing a bigger challenge as the Dominican Republic, Cuba, Ukraine, Honduras and Indonesia have all filed formal challenges with the World Trade Organization regarding Australia’s plain-packaging requirement, which could nullify the act if passed.

The Canadian province of Quebec has also started the process of adopting the plain-packaging requirement.

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Patrick Lagreid

I strive to capture the essence of a cigar and the people behind them in my work – every cigar you light up is the culmination of the work of countless people and often represents generations of struggle and stories. For me, it’s about so much more than the cigar – it’s about the story behind it, the experience of enjoying the work of artisans and the way that a good cigar can bring people together. In addition to my work with halfwheel, I’m the public address announcer for the Colorado Rockies and Arizona Diamondbacks during spring training, as well as for the Salt River Rafters of the Arizona Fall League, the WNBA's Phoenix Mercury and previously the Arizona Rattlers of the Indoor Football League. I also work in a number of roles for Major League Baseball, plus I'm a voice over artist. Prior to joining halfwheel, I covered the Phoenix and national cigar scene for, and was an editor for Cigar Snob magazine.