Key puts tobacco lobby before Kiwi kids - RePress

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Friday, February 27

Key puts tobacco lobby before Kiwi kids


The National Government refuses to ban cigarette displays when the health select committee recommended urgent action last year, Green Party MP Metiria Turei said.

"John Key said this week there’s no international evidence that removing tobacco displays would affect smoking rates. Clearly the National Government has capitulated to the tobacco lobby, favouring their interests ahead of the national interest.

"Key is putting the financial health of retailers ahead of the health of our young people and smokers trying to quit their deadly tobacco habits.

"There is, in fact, strong evidence from New Zealand and internationally that tobacco displays at dairies, garages and supermarket counters act as a constant temptation for kids and people who have quit smoking," Mrs Turei, the Party’s Alcohol and Drug Issues Spokesperson, said.

"Action on Smoking and Health’s Snapshot Survey says removing tobacco from its current prominent position beside food and removing the eye-catching packaging are important steps to make a strong, unambiguous statement that tobacco is deadly."

The Health Select Committee report on tobacco displays in shops stated: "International evidence suggests that the marketing of tobacco products influences whether children or young people start smoking. Furthermore, the location of tobacco display units can create a false impression of the safety, social acceptability, and prevalence of tobacco use."

The report said most New Zealand smokers start at age 14 and those who start smoking young are more likely to develop a severe addiction to nicotine.

"The Health Select Committee also found suppliers may pay retailers to display their products, and that these commercial arrangements are subject to confidentiality clauses."

Most tobacco advertising was banned in 1990 so cigarette companies rely solely on ‘power wall’ advertising – huge displays of cigarettes behind the counter, explained Mrs Turei.

"Cigarettes are no ordinary consumer product. They are highly addictive and harmful. Tobacco-related diseases pose a huge economic and health cost. It’s definitely not in our national interest to allow these harmful products to be advertised and promoted in almost every dairy and supermarket.

"For the sake of our children, we need to remove these displays from sight, so they do not see them every time they enter a shop. This would be another positive step in our fight to reduce tobacco-related disease."

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