29 Sep 2008

National presses for more evidence on tobacco change

3:24 pm on 29 September 2008

The National Party says more evidence is needed before it would legislate to move tobacco products out of sight of customers.

A majority of members of the health select committee are recommending tobacco products be moved off shelves to reduce smoking rates.

But National, which put forward a minority view in Monday's report, says that such a step, without further evidence, would amount to a move towards a nanny state.

It says international evidence so far does not provide a compelling case of a link between a ban on displays and a reduction in tobacco consumption.

National says it will announce its policies to support quit-smoking programmes later in the election campaign.

The committee, in its report, says the location of display units can create a false impression of the safety, social acceptability and prevalence of tobacco use.

It raised doubts about claims there will be significant financial losses for retailers, but acknowledges there will be some cost involved.