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Response to Tobacco Industry-Sponsored Call to 'Save The Corner Dairy'

Vape-Free Kids NZ (VFK NZ) says today's revelation that Big Tobacco is quietly coordinating and funding a campaign seeking to repeal the Smokefree 2025 Act, is further evidence of the tobacco industry scrambling for a last foothold in New Zealand.

VFK NZ spokesperson Anna Stewart says, “I don’t think anyone is surprised, but to call such a campaign ’grass roots’  where it aims to preserve the right to retail tobacco products, reprehensible. Especially considering that cigarettes kill 50 percent of customers when used as intended.”

“They have seen a window to leverage any financial challenge dairy owners might face as a last-ditch effort to maintain their own viability, but have spectacularly failed to read the room.”

While VFK acknowledges that dairies might need to adjust their business model if they are reliant on tobacco sales, it should never be suggested that this industry is more important to Kiwis than preventing the harm caused by tobacco and nicotine products, especially to children.

 “We’ve seen Big Tobacco anticipate these changes and pivot into the vaping market for ‘replacement smokers’ by targeting their marketing towards young people. We now have a whole generation of rangatahi addicted to vaping, who likely would never have taken up smoking cigarettes to begin with. When does it end?”

“We believe dairies were forewarned about the sinking-lid changes and have been given time to explore alternative product options. The government has positioned Speciality Vape Retailers (SVRs) as being able to give advice to customers around switching to vape products, however we would be very concerned if this was to be extended to dairies, simply because of how accessible these are to children,” says Stewart.

On Wednesday 16 August, VFK NZ will be presenting over 12,000 petition signatures to parliament to call for regulatory changes to protect tamariki from the harm of nicotine addiction.

The event will commence on the front lawn at 1pm and Dr Tracey McLellan, Chair of the Health Select Committee, will receive the petition.