Tobacco law brings changes

TINA LAW
Last updated 07:55 23/07/2012
Lovepreet Singh
KIRK HARGREAVES/Fairfax NZ

HIDDEN GOODS: Warrington Discount employee Lovepreet Singh opens a new tobacco cabinet.

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The cost of cigarettes rise in some stores from today as a new law banning the display of tobacco comes into force.

The Pannell Discounter in Wainoni is increasing the price of a packet of cigarettes by between 10 cents and 20 cents and between 30 cents and 50 cents for a packet of tobacco.

A sign in the store says British American Tobacco is no longer paying the store a rebate for displaying its products prominently.

Under the Smoke-free Environments Amendment Act, tobacco can not be visible to the public in stores, prices can no longer be openly displayed and businesses cannot trade with names that advertise tobacco.

British American Tobacco spokesman Nick Booth would not comment on the company's rebate scheme. He said the company negotiated its trading terms with retailers on a store by store basis.

He questioned the new law and called on the Government to evaluate the measures before pushing ahead with any further control measures like plain packaging.

The aim of the law was to make tobacco less visible by reducing the marketing and advertising and also making it less accessible to people aged under 18.

Pannell Discounter employee Sharon Matthews said about 80 per cent of the people who came into the shop bought cigarettes and she did not think the new measures would make any difference to sales.

"People know what they smoke and they know we have got it."

Hinges had been installed on the tobacco cabinet behind the counter ready for doors to be placed on last night.

"We've got to be discreet. People cannot go up and say: 'What have you got?'."

Warrington Discount in St Albans had its cigarettes hidden away behind cabinets yesterday and it had taken the word tobacco out of its name on its signage.

New Zealand Association of Convenience Stores chairman Roger Bull said the law would force more costs onto small retail businesses because of increased transaction times and stock management costs.

LAW CHANGES

Retailers must not allow any tobacco product to be visible to the public.

Tobacco prices can no longer be openly displayed.

Retailers can display a sign indicating that tobacco products are available in the store, but the current "Smoking Kills" and "No Sales to Under 18s" sign will be prohibited.

Retail or trading names that contain words, phrases, trademarks or company names that advertise the availability of tobacco products will be prohibited.

Retailers can receive instant fines for some offences.

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- The Press

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