New Zealand More Evidence Needed to Ban Tobacco and Cigarette Displays..

September 30, 2008 - The Health select committee today released a report today calling for tobacco and cigarette displays to be out of sight in retail stores around New Zealand. But National Member of Parliament (MP) Jo Goodhew said its four MPs on the health select committee had voted against the ban because they believed "more robust international evidence" was needed. "We're not ruling it out, but we would like to see an evidence-based approach to this ... Some New Zealanders will see this as the nanny state butting in again."

Cigarette advertising has been largely banned for 20 years, except inside stores. Cancer Society chief executive Dalton Kelly - whose petition in support of a ban received 20,000 signatures - said children walking into the country's 10,000 retail stores were confronted by "a power-wall of tobacco advertising". Action on Smoking and Health director Ben Youdan said in-store displays were one of the last bastions of cigarette marketing. The displays that the committee seeks to ban, what are popularly called Power Walls - huge displays of cigarettes of every brand usually just behind the counter - have a powerful message. "Tobacco is not a regular product. It kills half the people who use it, yet for too long we have allowed these addictive and deadly poisons to be sold next to the milk and chocolates."

British American Tobacco - which sells three-quarters of cigarettes in New Zealand - said it "supported the views of many retailers who say a ban on the retail display of tobacco products will have a significant impact on the viability of their businesses". However, the report quoted the examples of Ireland and Iceland, which have banned displays, where there had been "no cost or minimal costs to retailers".

Let's get the science-based evidence to the NZ Parliament's Health Select Committee so they can make the proper informed decision. New Zealand's Dr. Janine Paynter's work: More evidence - tobacco displays increase the risk of teens smoking... Also, 66 percent of adult New Zealanders support a total ban on the visual display of cigarettes, and support is even higher among non-smokers. (Under the counter initiative New Zealand, June 7, 2007, Tobacco Reporter.)

Reference: Tobacco sellers resist bid to outlaw displays by RUTH HILL - The Dominion Post, 9/30/2008 and Cigarette displays may be banned, ONE News, 9/29/2008.

Click on image to enlarge..