May 30, 2009 - A report, by Deloitte, predicts it will cost between $6000 and $10,000 for each convenience store to comply with the New South Wales government's new tobacco display regulations.
Under the tough laws, retailers will be forced to hide packets of cigarettes behind their counters so they are not visible to customers.
However, some insiders believe that in many cases, tobacco companies will pay for the new display cases. University of Sydney public health professor Simon Chapman said tobacco companies paid for most, if not all, the cigarette storage units in stores.
"This would have to be one of the more ludicrous pieces of desperate, last-ditch research I've heard of," Professor Chapman said. "The tobacco industry are obviously desperate not to see [the legislation] happen because they know out of sight is out of mind. This is not a game, this is about saving lives." How much could it possibly cost to place cigarette packs out of sight of customers. The tobacco companies along with those in retail outlets should be given a choice either comply with the laws or they'll be forced to go to generic packaging. (Plain Packaging and Misleading Information, David Hammond, Tobacco Labelling Resource Centre, University of Waterloo (Canada); Kill the tobacco industry, or it will keep killing, Simon Chapman and Becky Freeman, The Sydney Morning Herald, 10/2/2008.) André Calantzopoulos, the Chief Operating Officer of Philip Morris International (PMI), has stated that PMI is strongly opposed to generic packaging. (London, Tobacco Conference, 6/27/2008)
The new laws also ban supermarkets from displaying cigarettes within six months, ban advertising from appearing on vending machines and ban people from smoking in cars carrying children.
Australian Association of Convenience Stores executive director David Killeen, who commissioned the Deloitte report, said the government had failed to address the financial impact of the regulations on store owners. Killeen said the new regulations and construction costs, estimated at $127 million across the state, would cause job losses and even the closure of shops. "Some stores won't be able to afford it and some will find they will lose sales, which will mean they will have to reduce their employment costs," he told the Sun-Herald. Killeen acknowledged that tobacco companies paid for retail displays in many, but not all, convenience stores.
A spokesman for Jodi McKay, Minister assisting the Minister for Health (cancer), said the government was consulting retailers on the new tobacco control regulations before they are introduced on July 1.
Reference: Tough tobacco laws "too costly", InsiderRetailing.com, 5/25/2009.
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