Researchers demand supply-side market

| August 22, 2013

The New Zealand Association of Convenience Stores (NZACS) has come out strongly against a suggestion that the government should consider banning convenience stores and dairies from selling tobacco products, according to Scoop and NZ City stories.

Otago University researchers say that tobacco is too readily available, and that retail outlets are especially prevalent near schools and in low-income communities.

The researchers say that reducing the availability of tobacco would reduce smoking rates.

They recommend the introduction of a tobacco license for stores selling cigarettes and banning some shops from selling such products.

“Yet again we are seeing tobacco control activists out of Otago University lobbying the government for another whack on New Zealand retailers,” said Roger Bull, chairman of the NZACS.

“Saying that ‘availability was like advertising’ and that ‘the density of tobacco retailers in poor areas and near schools pointed to a strategy of targeting the most vulnerable and potential new customers’ is stretching the credibility of the researchers into the realm of conspiracy theories,” said Bull.

“Anti-tobacco activists conveniently forget tobacco is hidden behind doors in retail outlets so there’s no visibility of the product, and that people have to be over 18 years of age to purchase the product. …

“The simple fact is that retailers sell tobacco because there is a consumer demand for the product, and tobacco represents an important revenue stream for convenience stores and small retail outlets.

“This idea will achieve little, if anything, aside from driving small retailers out of business,” said Bull.

Meanwhile, the researchers’ proposal seems to have a built-in next step. Once the number of retailers had been reduced, new research would presumably show that those retailers still in business were selling more cigarettes than previously, and that the only way to prevent such an outcome would be to introduce manufacturing quotas.

Category: Breaking News

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