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Courageous store refuses to sell tobacco

PRESS RELEASE 18 July 2008

Courageous store refuses to sell tobacco

Toi Te Ora – Public Health and the Lakes Smokefree Coalition are once again congratulating an Okere Falls store owner who refuses to sell cigarettes. Sarah Uhl who owns the Okere Falls Store won’t sell a product that is both expensive and lethal.

“To put the health of her community first and not sell cigarettes is a courageous stand” says Graeme Savage, Regional Manager, Toi Te Ora – Public Health, “obviously it’s not about revenue for Sarah and her commitment to not sell tobacco is an asset to the Okere community” he said.

Ms Uhl’s decision to not sell tobacco was made nearly three years ago, she felt they were too expensive and not what people really needed from her store. “We’re a community store, seeking to add something positive to our environment, and we can’t see how smoking has anything to do with that” she said. Customer reaction hasn’t been all that negative. “Actually, most people are pretty cruisy about it.”

In recognition of Ms Uhl’s decision to not sell tobacco in her store she has been invited to be a guest speaker at the Cancer Societies documentary launch “Out of Sight, Out of Mind” in Rotorua next Wednesday, 23 July, at the Rotorua District Council.

“Out of Sight, Out of Mind: Protect our children from tobacco marketing”. This is a first of its kind for New Zealand, highlighting the way our children are turned into tobacco customers. It is a must-see for all health professionals, parents, principals, teachers and students, and anyone interested in tackling the 25% of cancer deaths which are caused by smoking.

“If we can at least remove the display advertising from the sight of our children and customers, that’s a step in the right direction. I’ve just taken it that one step further and chosen not to sell tobacco at all” Ms Uhl said.


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