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Retailers Reject Ban on Tobacco Displays

Retailers Reject Ban on Tobacco Displays

PRESS RELEASE – 15 February 2008

A coalition representing more than 170 dairy and convenience store owners and tobacconists have today called on the Government to drop proposals to ban tobacco displays from retail outlets.

The Stay Displays Coalition presented its submission on the Review of Tobacco Displays to the Ministry of Health today. In its submission, the coalition rejects claims by anti-tobacco lobbyists that displays of tobacco products made people take up smoking.

“If we accept that displays were making people smoke, New Zealand would have more smokers today. That fact is that displays don’t make people smoke any more than wine shelves turn people in alcoholics or chocolate displays make people obese,” Mr Murray Gibson, a Timaru Tobacconist, said today.

Stay Displays said there is an overwhelming and increasing rejection of the proposals from the country’s community retailers who say banning displays will:

- Cost retailers hundreds or even thousands of dollars reconfiguring their stores to meet the new regulations,
- Create increased security risks for retailers,
- Move customers away from smaller dairies and stores towards large supermarkets, sounding the death knell for many small shops,
- Contribute to increased health and safety issues for retailers,
- Increase the allure of the product for children if tobacco is hidden,
- NOT reduce overall smoking rates in New Zealand.

“This issue is not about smoking. It is about the right of retailers to display and sell a product that remains legal. If the Government wants people to stop smoking, it should ban tobacco altogether, not impose restrictions that unfairly penalise everyday New Zealanders trying to earn a living and serve their communities,” Mr Gibson said.

Mr Gibson urged retailers to join Stay Displays through www.staydisplays.co.nz

ENDS

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