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Retailers Strongly Reject Tobacco Sales Ban

Media release from New Zealand Association of Convenience Stores

RETAILERS STRONGLY REJECT TOBACCO SALES BAN

MEDIA RELEASE:

NEW ZEALAND ASSOCIATION OF CONVENIENCE STORES

21 August 2013

Retailers Strongly Reject Tobacco Sales Ban

The New Zealand Association of Convenience Stores (NZACS) strongly rejects the notion that Government should consider banning convenience stores and dairies from selling tobacco products.

“Yet again we are seeing tobacco control activists out of Otago University lobbying the Government for another whack on New Zealand retailers,” said Roger Bull, Chairman of the New Zealand Association of Convenience Stores.

“Saying that “availability was like advertising” and that “the density of tobacco retailers in poor areas and near schools pointed to a strategy of targeting the most vulnerable and potential new customers” is stretching the credibility of the researchers into the realm of conspiracy theories,” said Mr Bull.

“Anti-tobacco activists conveniently forget tobacco is hidden behind doors in retail outlets so there’s no visibility of the product, and, that people have to be over 18 years of age to purchase the product.

NZACS notes that the 2011 Government Response to the Report of the Maori Affairs Select Committee on its Inquiry into the Tobacco Industry in Aotearoa, rejected retail licensing. The Ministry stated that the Government’s response was “the most comprehensive statement of the Government’s general policy intentions with respect to tobacco control”.

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The Ministry of Health has also received advice from The Canadian Ministerial Advisory Council on Tobacco Control which cautioned against allocating excessive resources to supply-side measures in tobacco control. They note that for youth, restrictions on the sale of tobacco are often ineffective in stopping youth access to cigarettes because of the social supply of cigarettes (via friends and family).

“The simple fact is that retailers sell tobacco because there is a consumer demand for the product and tobacco represents an important revenue stream for convenience stores and small retail outlets.

“This idea will achieve little if anything, aside from driving small retailers out of business,” Mr Bull said.

ENDS

BACKGROUND NOTES TO EDITOR

• NZACS is a leading trade association representing the interests of over 750 retailers and suppliers within the convenience retailing industry in New Zealand.

• NZACS produces industry research including an annual survey of retailer performance across the convenience retail sector.

• NZACS provides education and development opportunities for member employees in the industry, including an annual development programme for aspiring retail and supplier company leaders.

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