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Doors hide tobacco displays

 

A Blenheim construction company has been on a marathon tour of Marlborough,Tasman and the West Coast fitting cupboard doors to cigarette display cabinets at dairies and gas stations.

As of today tobacco products must be completely hidden from public view and stockists are no longer allowed to make reference to them, under the Smoke-free Environments Amendment Bill passed in July 2011.

The bill raises the fines for selling tobacco products to under-18s, with the maximum penalty is $10,000 for a business, compared to $2000 in the past. An instant fine of up to $1000 for underage sales will also be imposed.

Blenheim construction company Andrew Lawson Builder Ltd got the contract to fit cupboard doors to all the Imperial Tobacco display cabinets in dairies, supermarkets and petrol stations in Marlborough, Tasman and the West Coast.

Contract manager Paul Bell said it was a four-day marathon to fit the doors of tobacco displays at about 30 dairies, supermarkets and petrol stations.

The doors were built in a factory in the North Island and delivered to Blenheim, he said. "Two of our guys just loaded up the truck and drove around Blenheim, Nelson and all the way down the West Coast."

Most business owners seemed to accept the law change and only one or two people thought it would have a negative effect on sales, he said.

High Street Dairy and Takeaway manager Ashley Solomon said the cupboards are "ugly", but do not appear to have deterred people from wanting to buy cigarettes.

"People are coming in a bit confused asking if we still sell smokes. . . they look a bit worried until they find out we still have them."

Britain-based Imperial Tobacco, which is one of the top two manufacturers and distributors of tobacco products in New Zealand, organised and paid for the doors to be fitted.

Electronic cigarettes which are designed to help people quit smoking will also have to be removed from display, Solomon said.

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.