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Tobacco display ban will improve New Zealanders’ health

Tobacco display ban will improve New Zealanders’ health

Public Health Association media release, 20 July 2012

The Public Health Association (PHA) says next week’s tobacco display ban will improve the health of New Zealanders, and congratulates the government on taking another step towards a smokefree New Zealand by 2025.

From 23 July retailers will not be able to have tobacco products on display or use any retail or trading name indicating they have tobacco products for sale.

PHA Strategic Advisor Māori Public Health Keriata Stuart says the display ban is the next logical step towards achieving the government’s smokefree New Zealand goal, and that it has widespread public support.

“More than two thirds of those submitting to the Māori Affairs Select Committee’s inquiry into the tobacco industry supported the banning of tobacco displays, mainly because of their effect on children and ex-smokers.

“Currently tobacco products almost always have pride of place, being mounted on brightly coloured, highly visible ‘power walls’, which can act as a trigger for those trying to quit.

“And international research shows children who regularly frequent stores with tobacco displays are twice as likely to take up smoking as those who visit such stores less often. Taking away these power walls will help remove the tobacco industry’s ability to recruit its next generation of addicts.

“Lastly, power walls imply a level of acceptability and normality for tobacco products. Removing them from public view will reinforce their status as dangerous and deadly products that have no place being sold with everyday consumer items such as bread, milk and children’s lollies.”

Ms Stuart says that, on its own, the display ban is not a silver bullet to stop smoking. However it should be seen as part of a comprehensive package of measures including banning smoking in cars carrying children, removing duty-free sales, introducing plain packaging, funding agencies to promote smokefree homes, and sending the price of cigarettes beyond the reach of youth.

She says the next step towards achieving a smokefree Aotearoa by 2025 would be a national register of tobacco retailers, which would require all tobacco retailers to be licensed. This would make it easier for smokefree officers to enforce compliance to regulations and help crack down on illicit tobacco sales.

“Scotland has recently introduced a tobacco retailer register, which New Zealand could use as an existing model for licensing,” Ms Stuart says.

ends

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