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Media Release | Removing retail displays: the next steps in tobacco control

Health researchers collaborating to support a tobacco-free New Zealand under the banner of ASPIRE 2025 are holding an inaugural seminar this week to learn how Australian States have handled the removal of tobacco retail displays, and to consider the next steps against the tobacco epidemic in this country.

The seminar will be held at the Kingsgate Hotel, Wellington, on Thursday September 29 from 10am. It will feature Anne Jones, the CEO of ASH Australia as the keynote speaker at 10.15am.

Action on Smoking and Health is well known in Australia for its success in advocating for tobacco reforms, which have often gone beyond measures currently in place in New Zealand.

Smoking rates in states like New South Wales are now well below 20% whereas in New Zealand the current smoking rate is an estimated 20% of the population.

“Anne Jones brings a wealth of international experience in tobacco reform and will update researchers in this country on progress in Australia regarding the implementation of legislative and policy reforms,” says ASPIRE 2025 Director Professor Richard Edwards from the University of Otago, Wellington.

“These include world first legislation to introduce plain packaging of tobacco products, due to come into effect in 2012.”

Other Australian reforms introduced in some states include smokefree laws for cars carrying children; fire-safe cigarettes; smokefree outdoor eating places; and the banning of tobacco advertising and displays in retail outlets.

Retail tobacco displays are due to be removed in New Zealand under legislation passed this year which will come into effect by July 2012.

Organiser of the seminar, University of Otago’s Professor Janet Hoek, says Anne Jones’ expertise will assist New Zealand policy makers and researchers.

“Learning how the removal of tobacco retail displays has worked in Australia, and the industry’s responses will inform implementation in New Zealand and highlight new avenues for research.”

The seminar will also include presentations from New Zealand researchers about other possible measures that could be introduced in the retail environment – for example the wider retail availability of nicotine replacement therapy; and discussion of the evaluation of the forthcoming removal of point of sale displays.

ASPIRE2025 is made up of researchers who have informed policy and practice in tobacco control for many years. They are from the University of Otago in Wellington and Dunedin, Massey University, Whakauae Research for Maori Health and Development, and Tala Pasifika. Associated groups include the Health Sponsorship Council.

Published by the University of Otago

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