AUCKLAND - Beginning this week, cigarettes sold in New Zealand must be removed from plain sight, as required by the country€™s retail display ban, the New Zealand Herald reports. Retailers have also been barred from referring to the sale of tobacco in their names.
The ban was implemented in an effort to prevent young people from smoking, said Associate Health Minister Tariana Turia.
"Retail displays, innocently positioned alongside everyday confectionary and sweets, are a key component of making cigarettes attractive to recruit young smokers. We're not going to tolerate this any longer," Turia said.
The new law also allows enforcement officers to immediately fine retailers $1,000 for selling tobacco to minors, while increasing the maximum penalty from $2,000 to $10,000.
Last week, Philip Morris began an aggressive fight against New Zealand€™s tobacco regulations, saying they go too far. As part of that effort, the company is distributing cards to tobacco retailers directing smokers to a website through which they can have their say on the regulations. It has also established a website that allows the public to show their opposition to the restrictions.
A legal challenge to the law is also working its way through the court system.