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Time to ban the powerwall

7 February 2008

Time to ban the powerwall

Yet more research released today showing the dangerous effects of cigarette displays should prompt the Government to take action.

The report, released by the Cancer Society and ASH, confirms other international research findings on the topic - that retail tobacco displays influence both smokers and non-smokers, particularly children.

"There is already massive community support for a ban on displays - more than 20,000 people signed a petition presented to Parliament last year, and two thirds of adults polled support such a move," Green Party Associate Health Spokesperson Metiria Turei says.

"This would mean an end to the so-called 'power wall' of cigarettes and tobacco products in dairies, supermarkets and petrol stations.

"These types of displays, which present very large, eye-level expanses of tobacco directly behind the counter, alongside bread, milk and lollies, normalise a dangerous and addictive product.

"Of course a ban on displays will not stop people from buying cigarettes, but it will prevent tobacco companies from circumventing current restrictions on advertising and marketing, as they do now.

"Let's join Iceland, Thailand, Tasmania, Ireland and several Canadian states in retail display bans.

Mrs Turei is encouraging people to make submissions on the current Government review of tobacco display regulations, due by the 15th of February.

Other suggestions endorsed by the Cancer Society and health lobby groups include: * A ban on the payment of tobacco slotting fees to retailers. * The in-store display of large graphic health warnings at the point of purchase with the Quitline telephone number. * The implementation of a self-funding Tobacco Retailer Licensing Scheme (TRLS) which requires retailers to attend annual training. Breaches should result in the loss of licenses. "Tobacco companies will no doubt object but they make huge profits from the ready sale of an extremely toxic substance responsible for the deaths of many New Zealanders. The community must be supported in controlling this substance and a point of sale ban is an excellent start," Mrs Turei says.

ends

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