Dairies, petrol stations and supermarkets will soon have to take down their cigarette and tobacco displays, and will be liable to higher fines for selling to those under 18, following a bill passed yesterday in Parliament.
The Smoke-free Environments (Controls and Enforcement) Amendment Bill gives retailers 12 months to put tobacco and cigarettes out of sight of customers.
There will be a complete ban on display of tobacco products and references to tobacco products in trading names.
The Bill also increases the fines for selling tobacco products to under 18s, with the maximum penalty now $10,000 instead of $2000.
Smokefree enforcement officers will also now be able to impose instant fines of up to $1000 for under-age sales.
Associate Minister of Health Tariana Turia said people would no longer go into a dairy and be confronted by a wall of cigarettes.
Retail displays, innocently positioned alongside everyday confectionary and sweets, were a key component of making cigarettes attractive to recruit young smokers, she said.
Seeing the tobacco also made it harder for people trying to quit.
The changes will come into force next July. Ms Turia said the Government recognised that removing displays would have cost implications for retailers.
Input from the retail sector would help identify ways to minimise costs and make the changes with minimal disruption, she said.
There is scope in the legislation for a further 12-month exemption for small retailers facing high costs.
Nayland Road Store owner Jude Schiefer said she was not happy about the cost of having to remove their display and put the tobacco somewhere else. However, she did not think it would affect sales.
“It won’t stop people buying as much at all. People know what they want before they come in. It won’t stop them smoking.”
Kandy Korner Store owner Philip Walker said they were not too concerned about the cost as they already had a shutter across their display.
“We’ll just keep it closed.”
He was not worried about the impact on sales, as they did not make a huge amount of money out of tobacco. “But I think people will still buy as much anyway.”
Jenny Lam from Hope Store and Takeaways said she thought it would “just make people worse”.
“They’ll probably try to smoke more. When the price [of cigarettes] went up, people didn’t care. They just smoked double the amount.”