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Bring Down The Power Walls

Contributor:
Fuseworks Media
Fuseworks Media
Metiria Turei
Metiria Turei

27 FEB 2009 - Evidence of rising cigarette sales proves the need for action on 'power wall' advertising the Green Party said today.

The Prime Minister John Key downplayed the problem earlier this week, but new health research shows a need for action, said Green Party Alcohol and Drug Issues Spokesperson Metriri Turei.

The large cigarette displays at dairies and supermarkets were part of the problem and Mr Key's attitude was puzzling, said Mrs Turei: "John Key doesn't want to see it, but we have evidence that tobacco addiction has gripped about 20% of the population and we also have evidence that power wall displays encourage kids to smoke."

Cigarette sales rose by nearly 300 million cigarettes between 2003-2007 according to a study published today in the New Zealand Medical Journal. The numbers rose from 3957 to 4253 million sticks in the four year period, more than keeping pace with population growth and appearing to contradict claims that the number of smokers is dropping.

"Smoking costs our health care system more than $300 million each year," said Mrs. Turiei. "The latest figures suggest that smoking rates are not falling and the situation begs for attention from the Prime Minister, but instead he seems dismissive."

"If the National-led Government cares about Kiwis' health or the efficiency of our health care system or even just the health of the economy, it should look at taking down the power walls."

Mr Key said earlier this week there was no international evidence that removing tobacco displays would affect smoking rates, an assertion contradicted by Action on Smoking and Health - a group of New Zealand health professionals - and a 2008 Health Select Committee report.

Most tobacco advertising was banned in 1990 so cigarette companies rely heavily on 'power wall' advertising - huge displays of cigarettes behind the counter, explained Mrs Turei.

"Cigarettes are highly addictive and harmful while tobacco-related diseases pose a huge economic and health cost. It's not in our national interest to allow tobacco advertising and promotion in almost every dairy and supermarket. We can fight to reduce tobacco-related disease by removing the power wall cigarette displays."

The NZ Medical Journal report is at: http://www.nzma.org.nz/journal/122-1290/3482/content.pdf

The ASH report is at: http://www.ash.org.nz/pdf/ASHYear10Report19992007v2.pdf

The HSC report is at: http://ourhouse.parliament.nz/NR/rdonlyres/11505B29-2904-42DB-8CF9-F50153B9F5C3/105853/DBSCH_SCR_4221_6293.pdf

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