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Green MP joins school kids for tobacco protest

20 August 2008

Green MP joins school kids for tobacco protest

The Green Party is supporting the call from Christchurch children for all tobacco retail displays to be removed from the sight of children and young people in dairies, supermarkets and petrol stations around New Zealand.

Green Party MP Sue Kedgley will speak at the "Tear Down the Wall' launch in Cathedral Square in Christchurch at noon today.

"It is inspiring to see a group of nine to 12 year olds take on a campaign like this, and I hope New Zealanders from all walks of life will support their campaign," Ms Kedgley says.

"The Green Party certainly does, and we want the Government to move quickly to require all tobacco retail displays removed from sight."

Ms Kedgley says more than 10,000 retail outlets around New Zealand use tobacco displays, and most are in a highly visible position behind the sales counter, right next to sweets and confectionary.

"This means every time children and young people enter a store, they are confronted by these displays of cigarettes.

"Research shows these displays can encourage young people to smoke, and can trigger impulse purchasing in people who have just quit smoking. They are a constant temptation to children and young people," Ms Kedgley says.

"We need to remember that cigarettes are not an ordinary commodity but a highly addictive and harmful substance. We should not be promoting cigarettes in a way that encourages and tempts young people to buy them or to start smoking.

"Smoking related illnesses cost between $300 million and $350 million every year, and the overall economic costs are much higher still," Ms Kedgley says.

ENDS

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