The power walls topple In March 2007 the Cancer Society was instrumental in raising awareness of the harm caused by tobacco displays (power walls) in dairies, supermarkets and petrol stations. "We want cigarette displays off the walls and under the counter," the Society demanded in a media release.
"We all know tobacco kills. Recent interviews with kids and teenagers tell us that one of the first things they see in a dairy is cigarettes. We need to protect our children from this lethal addiction at all costs," the media release read.
The initiative was based on research at the time showing 66% of adult New Zealanders supported a total ban on the visual display of cigarettes. Support was even higher amongst non-smokers.
Since then numerous research papers and surveys have confirmed that cigarette displays 'normalise' smoking for young people - especially as displays are commonly sited next to the lollies. In another survey 45% of smokers agreed that cigarette displays at the checkout made it harder to quit.
In the ensuing years the Society has made presentations to select committees, supported youth ambassador groups, lobbied government and health groups and perhaps the most important strategy of all petitioned to Parliament, with ASH and the National Heart Foundation, calling for a ban on displays. It was signed by over 20,000 people.
The 'out of sight, out of mind,' campaign was well underway!
In September 2008 a Health Select Committee called for tobacco to be kept out of sight,
In November 2010 a Maori Affairs select committee also recommended, as part of a hard-hitting report, getting rid of displays.
In July 2011 the Government finally passed the legislation - to become effective on Monday July 23 2012.
"The day has finally arrived when we can celebrate what we have done to protect our children. We thank everyone involved," said Skye Kimura, the Cancer Society's Tobacco Control Advisor, especially the Hon Turiana Turia who has been such a staunch advocate. "Our next job is to introduce plain packaging and then we will be well on our way to reaching our goal of a smoke-free Aotearoa by 2025."
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