Plain packaging 'forces more costs onto retailers'

February 11 2014

Todays introduction to Parliament of the Smokefree Environments (Tobacco Plain Packaging) Amendment Bill will achieve little aside from forcing more costs onto the retail sector says a leading retail organisation.

The New Zealand Association of Convenience Stores (NZACS) is alarmed that plain packaging of tobacco products could proceed in New Zealand when there has been no additional reduction in tobacco sales since plain packaging was introduced in Australia in 2012, says its Chairman Roger Bull.

"The Ministry of Health seems hell-bent on supporting legislation forcing plain packaging through, despite the Australian evidence showing retailers are in fact bearing the brunt of this latest attempt to stop people smoking," said Mr Bull.

"New Zealand retailers have already been on the receiving end of recent anti-tobacco legislation, including the retail display ban removing any glimpse of tobacco from our retail shops in 2012.

NZACS has warned the Ministry that plain packaged tobacco products negatively affects retailers because of the difficulty in accurately identifying and managing plain packaged stock.

"Retailers do not sell any less tobacco when its in plain packaging, but they spent much longer re-orderings, re-stocking, training staff and serving customers. When you extrapolate the cost of this time across the retail community it impacts thousands of small to medium sized New Zealand businesses.

"While efforts to reduce tobacco consumption are admirable, demonising retailers by making their businesses more difficult is not the answer," says Mr Bull.

"This idea has achieved little in Australia. The Ministry and Government have been warned that pressing ahead in New Zealand with similar misguided legislation will lead to significant costs for retailers and achieve nothing in terms of improving New Zealanders health," conclude Mr Bull.

Source: Voxy


Other news on this subject:

Radio New Zealand News February 12

Tobacco sales up with plain packaging

A group representing Australian convenience store chains claims plain packaging for cigarettes has increased sales, rather than reducing them.

A Government bill to introduce plain packaging on cigarettes in New Zealand passed its first reading last night.

Australasian Association of Convenience Stores chief executive Jeff Rogut said a survey of its members suggested tobacco sales had risen 6 percent since plain packaging was introduced.

Read more