Tobacco giant Philip Morris claims plain packaging won't affect cigarette sales but may infringe intellectual property rights.

Company spokesman Christopher Bishop spoke to TV One's Q+A yesterday in response to fears of a repeat of legal action now in progress in Australia.

Four multinational tobacco companies are suing the Australian Government for breaches of intellectual property rights because of similar changes in branding happening there.

But Mr Bishop does not think changing the packets will work.


"There aren't any studies to suggest that plain packaging will work at stopping people taking up smoking."

Under the new law, all cigarettes will be sold in the same olive green packaging.

Gagan Singh, an employee at Fix 24 Hours in Auckland, said it was often the health-warning pictures that drew people, not the brand.

"People will come in and say, "I want the one with the pregnant woman or the one with the feet.' They think it is really funny."