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Anti-Tobacco Groups Negligent In Promoting Ban

Fuseworks Media
Fuseworks Media
Anti-Tobacco Groups Negligent In Promoting Ban

17 February 2009 - The Cancer Society and the Smokefree Coalition are demonstrating their negligence by continuing to promote a ban on displays of tobacco from retail outlets, a coalition of retailers says.

"Calling for retailers to spend thousands of dollars reconfiguring their shops for a blind cause is negligent in this economic environment. Removing tobacco displays won't reduce smoking, but it will cost retailers thousands of dollars. And that is money that most retailers just don't have," Stay Displays Coalition representative Richard Green said today.

Stay Displays is a coalition of more than 200 retailers and 7,000 supporting individual New Zealanders throughout the country. It was formed in 2007 by owners of dairies and convenience stores who were deeply concerned by lobbying efforts from anti-tobacco groups. Last year, economic research from the Association of Convenience Stores (NZACS) showed banning tobacco displays would cost retailers collectively more than $45 million to implement.

"Groups like the Smokefree Coalition are recession-proof. They get their money from the Ministry of Health and don't rely on the pockets of consumers to make a living. Retailers, like most other businesses in New Zealand, are feeling the pinch. It's negligent of well-funded groups to attack retailers in this economic environment," Mr Green, a Palmerston North tobacconist, said.

"The economy is going to get worse, not better. But the anti-tobacco crowd don't care about the small, family-based retailer."

The proposed ban on retail displays of tobacco products has originated from anti-tobacco lobby groups who think they know what's best for our community. These lobby groups receive hundreds of thousands of dollars from the Ministry of Health to invent new ways to stop people from smoking.

While the Coalition is willing to support sound endeavours to stop people from smoking, this proposal to ban displays of tobacco is not based on sound evidence and has been shown not to work. Evidence collated from countries including Iceland and Canada, after bans such as these become law is not conclusive and in some cases has shown an increase in the smoking rates among young people.

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