Calls to cut tobacco retail outlets

By Martin Johnston

City Mart convenience store owner Candice Dewat. Photo / APN
City Mart convenience store owner Candice Dewat. Photo / APN

Local councils have been urged to use bylaws to restrict tobacco sales in dairies and other retail outlets.

The Cancer Society says restrictive tobacco retailer licensing, like systems used overseas, could greatly reduce the amount of tobacco sold, especially near schools, and in poor areas and Maori communities, where smoking rates are highest.

Between 5000 and 10,000 retail outlets in New Zealand are estimated to sell tobacco.

"Far too many families are losing their loved ones to tobacco-related illnesses, and we as a community need to change this," said Cancer Society Auckland chief executive John Loof.

"We want to see a reduction in the availability of cigarettes in our communities, to help prevent thousands of children starting every year, and support smokers to quit. This will also help to reduce the 5000 deaths from smoking each year."

British American Tobacco has called for retailers to be registered with the Health Ministry, to allow better smokefree-law enforcement, but it opposes registration or licensing fees.

In 2010, the Maori affairs select committee inquiry into the tobacco industry recommended increased regulation of tobacco supply including reducing availability.

For the Smokefree Oceania conference that starts in Auckland today, the Cancer Society has reviewed strategies to reduce supply. Its report says a survey found 62 per cent of Aucklanders wanted a reduced number of outlets selling tobacco.

- NZ Herald

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