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Retailers Seek Co-operation from Ministry

Retailers Seek Co-operation from Ministry

19 March 2008

The New Zealand Association of Convenience Stores today backed calls by the coalition of retailers ‘STAY DISPLAYS’ seeking Ministry of Health assistance on the issue of youth smoking.

“Retailers support a positive strategy to keep cigarettes and tobacco out of young people’s hands,” said Bryce Taylor, Chairman of the New Zealand Association of Convenience Stores. “Banning the visibility of tobacco in retail outlets will not stop kids from smoking but unfortunately the current view of the Ministry of Health is that a ban is the only answer.”

“We believe that there are better ways to address this serious issue – and one where retailers, the Government, its Ministry of Health and public health groups can actually work together,” he said.

Mr Taylor said that comments by Cancer Society tobacco control adviser Belinda Hughes that “parental smoking is the number one predictor of youth smoking[1]” alongside the Smoke-free Schools website[2] show that retail displays of tobacco do not contribute to youth smoking – particularly when you must be over 18 years to even buy the product.”

“Instead of forcing costs and additional regulations on thousands of retailers why not address the fundamental causes of youth smoking by bringing together all parties to work in cooperation on an issue of importance to all New Zealanders,” Mr Taylor said.

“NZACS believes that robust solutions can be made in which retailers play a key role in preventing youth from gaining access to tobacco products. We are willing to work in good faith with the Ministry of Health and public health groups – hopefully are they willing to work with us?”

ENDS

[1] Joint media release Cancer Society/ Plunket “I love my smoke-free childhood”, February 2008
[2] http://www.smokefreeschools.co.nz/default.asp?sectionID=37

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