4 Nov 2010

Tighter controls to be imposed on tobacco

7:19 pm on 4 November 2010

The Government has announced tobacco controls are to be tightened, including removing displays from shops and handing out instant fines to retailers caught selling to minors.

The new measures come a day after the release of a report from the Maori Affairs select committee calling for New Zealand to be smoke-free by 2025.

Smoke-free enforcement officers will be able to issue instant infringement fines to those caught selling tobacco products to people under the age of 18.

Associate Health Minister Tariana Turia made the announcement on Thursday, saying there will also be tighter legislation regarding the display of brand names at tobacco outlets.

Mrs Turia says the tougher controls will meet a number of recommendations outlined in the select committee report which calls for tobacco consumption to be halved by 2015 and ended by 2025.

Ashley Bloomfield from the Ministry of Health says while the changes will be met with some opposition, public support for tighter controls is increasing.

Dr Bloomfield told Checkpoint the Government will also monitor Australia's progress to legislate for plain packaging of tobacco products by 2012.

The changes will be brought in by amendments to the Smokefree Environments Act, with a bill set to be introduced to Parliament before the end of this year.