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Retailers Thank National Government

Media Release
24 February 2009

Retailers Thank National Government

The Mum and Dad family retailers around New Zealand today thank the National-led Government for the commonsense approach to the display of tobacco products in dairies and convenience stores.

Stay Displays representatives Murray Gibson of Timaru and Richard Green of Palmerston North said retailers will be reassured by comments from the Prime Minister on TV3 today that there would be no changes to the law on displays.

“Retailers have been deeply concerned for over two years they would have to spend thousands of dollars reconfiguring their shops if a ban on tobacco displays was implemented,” Mr Gibson said. “This is good news for all retailers around the country. Their minds can now be put at ease. There is one less worry in these difficult economic times.”

Stay Displays is a coalition of more than 200 retailers nationwide who opposed proposals from anti-tobacco groups such as the Smokefree Coalition, which wanted to see displays of tobacco products removed from shops. Stay Displays is backed up by more than 7,000 voting New Zealanders who signed a petition against any changes to retail regulations.

Mr Green said there is no international evidence that banning displays reduced the prevalence of smoking, and could even have the opposite effect among teenagers, who would view tobacco as “forbidden fruit”.

“Claims that displays reduce smoking are not supported by the evidence. Banning displays would have cost individual retailers a lot of money to implement but were unlikely to have any effect on tobacco consumption. This shows the need for evidence-based policies,” Mr Green said.

Stay Displays was formed in 2007 by owners of dairies and convenience stores who were deeply concerned by lobbying efforts from anti-tobacco groups. Last year, economic research from the Association of Convenience Stores (NZACS) showed banning tobacco displays would cost retailers collectively more than $45 million to implement.

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