Consultation will begin this week on a proposal to ban the display of tobacco products in all retail outlets in New Zealand.
Associate Health Minister Tariana Turia announced today that the Ministry of Health is seeking feedback on a proposal to have all tobacco displays and products stored out of public view.
Mrs Turia says it is vital that we do more to help people quit smoking and stop young people from being tempted to take up the habit.
"The evidence shows that most people who smoke want to quit. It's harder to quit when you walk into a shop and are confronted with the instant temptation of tobacco on display.
"There is a growing body of evidence that tobacco displays prompt impulse purchasing and that there is a link between displays and young people taking up smoking," she says.
A recent survey reports overwhelming public support for ending tobacco sales. A massive 65.6% of the participants surveyed in that study agreed that 'the number of places selling cigarettes and tobacco should be reduced to make them less easily available'.
The survey interviewed 1608 people aged 15 and over.
"The survey results are very encouraging that the time is right for change on all fronts," says Mrs Turia.
"Once the consultation is completed I will be reporting back to Cabinet and a decision will be made on whether or not to proceed with a ban on the display of tobacco products in retail outlets."
Letters are being sent to individuals and organisations that have previously made a submission on options for regulating the display of tobacco products in retail outlets, although anyone is welcome to comment on the proposals.
Similar restrictions on tobacco displays have been adopted in Australia, Canada, Great Britain, Ireland and Scandinavia.