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Tobacco Control Groups continue to mislead public

Press Release from NZ Association of Convenience Stores

HEADLINE: Tobacco Control Groups continue to mislead public

NZACS Media Release: For Immediate Release

Tobacco Control Groups continue to mislead public

Thursday, 3 July 2008, 2:00pm
Press Release: New Zealand Association of Convenience Stores

The NZ Association of Convenience Stores continues to be alarmed by the vitriol of public health and anti smoking lobbyists in their efforts to have tobacco displays banned, extending their efforts to now attacking retailers trying to defend their businesses.

"Today we have seen press releases by the Cancer Society taking comments made by the Association at yesterday's presentation before the Health Select Committee completely out of context, said NZACS Chairman Bryce Taylor.

"They have tried to demonise retailers who sell what is still a legal product.

"If they had an understanding of the retail sector then they would understand that many supplier companies pay retailers to have their products stocked in our retailers' place of business, said Mr Taylor.

"Normal trade rebates are permitted under the Smoke-free Environments Act legislation. The Government knows this; the Ministry of Health knows this as they drafted the legislation: so to suddenly claim some form of conspiracy is misleading the public" said Mr Taylor.

Secondly, NZCAS was criticised for having tobacco companies as members of the Association. NZACS represents over 765 retail businesses and of course has suppliers of our businesses as members. There is no secret to this as we proudly list our members on our website.

"If Mr Dalton Kelly of the Cancer Society would like to explain how a retail ban on the visibility of tobacco products whereby retailers will be forced to spend up to and potentially above $6,000 as well as creating increased security risks is not a commercial issue, then I don't know what is, said Mr Taylor.

"NZACS is not a front group for the tobacco companies but rather an Association of convenience organised retailers and suppliers to this retail sector. No surprises or secrets there.

"The commercial reality is that retailers sell tobacco to adult consumers who wish to see and choose a product that is still legal. Tobacco products do not "sit alongside baked beans" and for Mr Dalton to claim so is again misleading and scaremongering, said Mr Taylor.

In terms of responding to the claims made by ASH Director Ben Youdan, NZACS responds by stating:

"NZACS is not opposed to measures that empower people to quit smoking and if he was to read our oral submission then he would see the Association praising the Government on its tobacco control efforts. Our comments to the Select Committee reiterated the need to focus on improved education and enforcement and to take measures that addressed the issue of youth smoking. A number of potential solutions were proposed."

Mr Taylor concluded by saying that the Association would welcome the opportunity to engage with the Ministry of Health on this and other issues of concern to the Ministry.

ENDS

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