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National award celebrates Smokefree Retailers

Asthma and Respiratory Foundation of New Zealand

Media Release

23 September 2008

National award celebrates Smokefree Retailers

The Asthma and Respiratory Foundation says that its new award for shops that stop displaying tobacco marketing–the first of which was presented to a central Dunedin dairy today–is aimed at encouraging more shops to get on board against cigarette marketing.

“Smoking tobacco is a major contributing factor to respiratory diseases including emphysema in New Zealand. Tobacco displays encourage people to keep smoking or smoke more and normalise cigarettes for children,” says Foundation Executive Director, Jane Patterson.

Dainty Dairy proprietor Moreen Hall was presented with the first Smokefree Retailers Award by the Foundation in recognition of the dairy’s decision to stop stocking tobacco. Shops can be nominated if they have stopped displaying tobacco marketing or selling tobacco altogether since 1 January, 2008 via a website.

The Foundation is drawing attention to the negative impacts of retail tobacco displays and reinforcing to retailers that despite pressure from tobacco companies, they can afford to not promote or even sell tobacco, a very unhealthy product. Tobacco companies pay incentives to encourage shops to stock tobacco products. Yet Canadian experience–tobacco display stands are banned in many of Canada’s provinces–shows that shops dropping their cigarette marketing does not necessary lead to business closures or job losses.

Dunedin City Councillor Dave Cull and Otago DHB’s Group Manager for Women and Child Health, Pip Stewart attended the inaugural award at the Dainty Dairy. Councillor Cull spoke about the negative affects of smoking.

“Displays of tobacco products add to the temptation to start smoking or re-start smoking among young people and former smokers. After all, the displays are marketing tools. That’s what they are designed to do, “Jane says.

“The Dainty Dairy has reminded the public that tobacco is not a normal retail product. We do not want future generation of New Zealanders blighted by the respiratory despair smoking causes,” Jane says.

Moreen says she had considered the negative impacts that tobacco has on the community. “I also thought about how my son is studying medicine, and just made a decision that I didn’t need to sell tobacco at my shop. I didn’t make this change to gain recognition, for me it’s about the health and wellbeing of my customers.”

The Foundation says there is widespread support for the award among health groups who would like to ‘denormalise’ the presence of tobacco because it poses such a serious health risk.

ENDS

Notes to Editors:

• To nominate a shop for a Smokefree Retailers Award go to www.smokefreeshops.co.nz or by emailing: shop@smokefreeshops.co.nz.

• More than 8000 dairies, convenience stores, service stations and supermarkets in New Zealand sell tobacco products. The displays are usually located immediately behind the sales counter, in full view of thousands of children, smokers and former smokers.

• 40% of smokers who tried to quit experienced an urge to purchase cigarettes as a result of seeing tobacco product displays. 31% of smokers agreed that removing tobacco product displays in retail outlets would assist quitting. (Wakefield, M, 2007, The effect of retail cigarette pack displays on impulse)

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