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Smokefree Coalition Attacks Cigarette Discounting

Fuseworks Media
Fuseworks Media
Smokefree Coalition Attacks Cigarette Discounting

Wellington, June 8 NZPA - Some Timaru stores are discounting cigarettes by up to $1 a pack -- and the Smokefree Coalition fears the practise may be spreading.

Stores should be investigated for selling heavily discounted cigarettes and may be in breach of the Smoke-free Environments Act, coalition director Mark Peck said today.

He told NZPA this afternoon it appeared the problem was wider than just Timaru, with northern colleagues telling him of discounting in their region.

"Exactly how far at this stage I couldn't tell you," he said.

The coalition had referred the promotion to the Ministry of Health and the Regional Public Health Unit in Timaru and asked for a full investigation.

"The guy that rang me (from Timaru) said there was a price war going on down here and he told me there were some being discounted 50-odd cents and another lot being discounted at a dollar," Mr Peck said.

The Timaru stores were advertising the discounts with signs.

Mr Peck would also encourage the ministry to investigate whether the tobacco industry was involved.

"Nobody with any understanding has any illusions about whether or not this dangerous product will kill half its users," he said.

"That's why cigarettes aren't supposed to be cheap. The more expensive they are the less likely it is that people will smoke.

"It's also why advertising them with anything bigger than a business card sized label is illegal."

Cigarette promotion was clearly against the law, Mr Peck said.

"If this happens with impunity in Timaru, rest assured we'll see more of it in other parts of the country.

"That's why we're encouraging the ministry to prosecute to the full extent any breach of the law that may have occurred," he said.

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