The big ciggie cover-up
Cigarettes have officially gone undercover following new rules that ban tobacco displays in shops.
The new rules come into effect today that prohibit retailers from displaying tobacco products, or using retail or trading names indicating they have tobacco products for sale.
Timaru dairy owner Ketan Kolhe has been busy making provision in his shop in time for the new rules.
He has had cabinet doors fitted to his cigarette display, which he is not allowed to open until the customer tells him what brand and packet size they want to purchase.
"Customers will be asking which ones are cheaper, but we cannot open the door to ask them to take a look."
Instead, retailers can show customers a price list to help make their decision easier, he said.
Mr Kolhe expects the new rules to take time for people to get used to. They are likely to cause delays, he said.
"It will be difficult, I think so. If three people want cigarettes, what do I do? I show them the list and then there's a long queue and I've got two or three customers in the line."
He said customers often opted for the most affordable option.
Mr Kolhe does not think the new rules will have much effect on his business.
"I don't think so. The older people are trying to quit and teenagers are starting to smoke. That means the number of people smoking is the same."
The new rules come into effect today, four years after a parliamentary health committee suggested the move. The committee made the recommendation after a petition was signed by more than 20,000 people in support of the ban.
More than 10,000 retail outlets in New Zealand sell tobacco products, which up until now had been displayed in large highly visible units.
- © Fairfax NZ News