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Hiding ciggies works: Otago study

NZ NewswireNZ Newswire 5/07/2016

Hiding tobacco away in shop cabinets has helped lower school student smoking to its lowest level in two decades, University of Otago researchers say.

The scientists have looked at the effect of the 2012 law change, which removed visible tobacco displays from behind the counter, and smoking by 14- and 15-year-olds.

They say there is strong evidence there has been a significant reduction in both experimental and regular smoking, when accompanied by enforcement measures for selling tobacco to minors.

The tobacco industry has a history of saying that tobacco control measures won't work and predicting disastrous effects, even when the evidence suggests otherwise," said lead researcher Professor Richard Edwards.

"They are currently making such arguments to oppose the introduction of plain packaging. This study shows once again that the industry is not to be trusted, and that implementing rigorous tobacco control measures will help protect children from becoming smokers."

The study results have been published in the international journal Tobacco Control.


* The proportion of children who had tried smoking but were not regular smokers fell from 23-24 per cent in 2011 and 2012 to 17 per cent in 2014

* A pre-2012 study found children who frequently visited shops that sell tobacco, such as dairies, convenience stores, supermarkets and service stations, were at greater risk of trying smoking

* In 2013 data comparisons showed the effects were eliminated or weakened

* The study used data from an annual classroom-based survey of around 25,000 Year 10 students.

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