Fag war heats up as cover-up law bites

British American Tobacco has joined competitor Philip Morris in blasting the government's anti-smoking rules.

Philip Morris yesterday launched a new website in which smokers can moan about government regulations designed to reduce smoking rates.

In a provocative challenge today, BAT, which controls about 75% of New Zealand's tobacco market, called on the government to prove its retail display ban actually works before enforcing other control measures such as plain packaging.

From Monday, shops will not be able to display any tobacco products.

BAT spokesman Nick Booth says the government's tobacco control plan is already comprehensive, with a 40% tax hike over the next four years on top of the retail display ban.

"Public policy would be better served before pushing ahead with untested and unproven plain packaging regulations," he says.

In 2011 the government gathered about $1.14 billion in tobacco tax, $801 million of which was from BAT.

New Zealand First leader Winston Peters also weighed in on the government's tax hikes during a select committee hearing on Wednesday.

Mr Peters, a smoker, said the tax rises will "thump the pockets" of poor Maori.

How the display ban will work

Retailers will have to comply with strict rules for selling cigarettes from Monday.

According to a Ministry of Health guide to the new rules, "tobacco products can only be exposed when the staff member removes the packet from a cabinet to complete a sale".

"The cabinet needs to be closed immediately once the tobacco product has been removed."

If customers want to know which tobacco products the retailer stocks, they can be provided with a list, but this must not be in general view of customers.

The guide goes so far as to explain how retailers can get around the problem if they are restocking and a customer happens to see a pack of cigarettes.

"To reduce the chances of non-compliance, retailers should consider restocking when the premise is closed or during quiet times.

"If would not be acceptable to leave the restocking process to serve customers or do other tasks, unless the tobacco products are removed from sight and any cabinetry closed."

The display ban also applies to tobacco products sold on the internet.

"Anyone selling tobacco via the internet in New Zealand must not display tobacco products or any other tobacco-related information on the website or any other electronic document or media." 

Retailers who flout the law face fines up to $10,000.

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We'll consider it when they give me back my uncle.

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Of course BAT could always remove the hundreds of man-made chemicals they add to cigarettes to help them burn quicker and keep the smoker addicted. That might help their cause - or at least help them sleep better at night when they examine their ethics...

Poison peddlers should not have the right to grizzle about the government wishing to minimise the amount of harm to the populace caused by the peddlers of the poison.

Of course $801,000,000.00 is a LOT of money - too much for the government just to legislate against the product.

But FFS Winnie - just don't smoke them if you can't afford it. See solved it for ya... it's called personal responsibility...

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"Mr Peters, a smoker, said the tax rises will "thump the pockets" of poor Maori"
Well, that's the idea, poor Maori, poor Europeans, poor whoever. Thump their pockets so they stop !!
And the 'not-poor' will be dissuaded, one hopes.

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We need to hit both the tobacco producers and the people who want to maintain this filthy habit. Smokers uncaringly offend those around them with their second hand smoke and their personal unpleasant smell. Why should we give any ear to their rights!

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They should point out that a cigarette smoker in Queens Street Auckland on any given night,as against a drunk obnoxious belligerent bar fly upsetting all and sundry,will have less chance of being punched or arrested. Yet seems as always in this scenario,selective morality takes over.The smoker is classed as the offender.Thats only one instance in the saga of Alcohol v Cigarettes.

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And for this stupid nonsense we have fought 2 world wars and terrorized countless small countries at the behest of our American masters. We sit on our backsides whilst we are breathtakingly ripped off by banks and other financial institutes .. we are being sold up lock stock and barrel and being placed into a debt from which we will never recover Bah!

And here we have a bunch of prats self righteously talking of clothes smelling and filthy habits .. Well let me tell you something stupid, the smell from all of the people and families that we have smashed and killed is far higher than any ciggie smoke .. Lord protect us from these little tiny prissy minds.!

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And hey .. that is a nasty little habit that we picked up from the yanks eh ? Nothing gets published that the establishment does not agree with.

Oh well at least I can tell my friends.

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Tobacco companies are drug dealers who sell a drug that doesn't even get you stoned.. I'm a smoker, I know..

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If you don't like smoking don't do it. Why do non-smokers feel the need to tell other people what they should and shouldn't do with their lives. Such busy bodies. Before you say smokers are a burden on society look at the tax take. Its more than the SOE's combined. Its is fit healthy people that make it to retirement age thereby claiming the pension for thirty years.

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Tobacco companies have the right to advertsie their product just like any other company. Their customers must be allowed to make informed product choices it is supposed to be a free world.

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Cigarettes kill people, and are addictive. I'm ashamed that they are even made here, let alone that we allow retailers to sell them.

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I believe that smoking is a person's right, do not take away the freedom to choose.

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What we have seen happening is one of the worst pieces of social engineering for many years. We have gone from second hand smoke to legislation for which people can be imprisoned for.

It is another freedom that has been stolen by NGO,s such as ASH .. I bet the director has a fancy car paid for from the NGO budget .. I wonder how many packets of 20 cigarettes does she burn pulling away from the traffic lights ? How much lung cancer have these bigots contributed to ?

But thats OK eh ? Prof Rene Dubois in his book Man Adapting stated .. " That in an urban situation man inhaled as much benzo pyrene in a year as smoking two packs of cigarettes per day.

So the message is clear ASH get off those fat butts and walk.

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Nice to see Kevin Hague, in his latest e-news say "While there may be some harm in taking a product, adults should be free to make choices about taking them or not."

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I used to smoke. And stopped. Also as a matter of choice. The prissies, fortunately, cannot say THEY saved my soul.

The 'we know what's best for you' brigade can get stuffed. Confused buggers. Would like to use the money from tobacco sales, though. Drink. Womanise. Gamble...we'll give you a license and ACC cover ! But don't smoke. Wonder when they'll start a campaign against unwashed bodies (NZ has too many),

Bob Dylan was a wise man...."Every body must get stoned".

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""Public policy would be better served before pushing ahead with untested and unproven plain packaging regulations," he says.

That's an example of contradiction. Upon what evidence does he substantiate his claim that 'public policy would be better served..' ?

And since when are BAT & PM authorities on what best determines public policy? Their responses are evidence this is a worthy move.

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