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Dismay at rejection of tobacco display ban

Media Release
3 March 2009

The New Zealand Nurses’ Organisation (NZNO) and the New Zealand Dental Association.

Medical groups dismayed at rejection of tobacco display ban

Leading medical and nursing organisations are disappointed the Government has not moved to ban the display of tobacco products in shops.

New Zealand Dental Association, executive director, Dr David Crum said “There is evidence that a display ban can reduce youth smoking uptake. Research shows that young people do notice tobacco displays.”

Clinical groups continue to point to international evidence, including Canada’s drop in youth smoking rates from 22 percent in 2002 to 15 percent in 2007 and New Zealand research that the more teenagers visit shops where tobacco is on display, the more likely they are to start smoking.

Dr Crum said, “We strongly believe in tighter controls on tobacco, dentists support moves that would help those considering quit attempts and former smokers who are battling their addiction.”

Dr Crum adds that the tobacco industry can’t play both sides of the debate. “They can’t claim that a display ban would have no impact on smoking rates, while also complaining that removing tobacco displays will hurt their sales,” he said.

The New Zealand Nurses’ Organisation CEO, Geoff Annals, said, “Many states in Australia that have taken the steps to remove tobacco displays, including New South Wales, Tasmania, ACT and Victoria. New Zealand also needs to take this step in the fight to reduce tobacco related illness.”

Mr Annals is also unconvinced that retailers would face the costs for any changes to shops as a result of a ban.

“The tobacco industry has paid for the current display set up in the form of rebates and assistance with providing the displays in the first place. They could also pay for any changes required,” said Mr Annals.

Last year Parliament’s health select committee found tobacco displays could "create a false impression of the safety, social acceptability, and prevalence of tobacco use". The committee recommended legislation to ban tobacco displays after considering a petition signed by more than 20,000 people in support of a ban.

ENDS

Canadian Tobacco Use Monitoring Survey (CTUMS) 2008

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