Cigarette ban will sink convenience stores, says Taranaki dairy owner

Jane Lin has owned a dairy for 17 years, but fears that proposed changes to where cigarettes are sold will lead to the extinction of local stores like hers.

The High Street Dairy in the small town of Taranaki in Waitara sells the usual basic dairy products, bread and milk, as well as take-out.

But it’s cigarette sales that keep his business and thousands of dairies across the country afloat, Lin said.

Tobacco accounts for 45 to 50 percent of his store’s sales.

READ MORE:
* Restricting tobacco sales ‘could mean the end of the road’ for small dairies

It’s not just that they buy tobacco. They also come to buy other products such as milk, bread and hot meals. We’re the local take-out, so there’s not much we can do to branch out and keep some sort of income. ”

It is estimated that 5,000 to 8,000 retail outlets sell tobacco products in New Zealand and one of the suggestions of the Proposals for a smoke-free Aotearoa 2025 action plan is to limit the sale of tobacco to places such as R18 specialty stores or pharmacies.

It is also suggested that the number of retail outlets selling cigarettes should be reduced to around 5 percent or less than the current number ”.

Owner of High Street Dairy in Waitara, Jane Lin says she could go bankrupt if she can't sell tobacco.

ANDY JACKSON / stuff

Owner of High Street Dairy in Waitara, Jane Lin says she could go bankrupt if she can’t sell tobacco.

The proposed action plan states that “ there is growing evidence that reducing the availability of tobacco products in retail outlets will reduce the number of people who start smoking, encourage smokers to quit and support former smokers to stay smoke-free. ”

Lin worries that this will have a bad effect on his shop.

“We understand and appreciate that the government wants to reduce smoking, but this sweeping move is just a punishment for our business.

“ If we lose the tobacco, we lose the customer for good, then it will ruin our business. ”

Lin employs seven people, she said, and she was worried about their future.

“More and more businesses are closing in Waitara. Where are my employees supposed to find jobs? “

Lin is also concerned that limiting the number of tobacco outlets will increase the number of cigarettes sold on the black market.

Lin has owned the High Street dairy in Waitara for 17 years.

ANDY JACKSON / stuff

Lin has owned the High Street dairy in Waitara for 17 years.

There are already cheap cigarettes illegally sold from other countries in Waitara. Up to $ 10- $ 15 cheaper than standard.

“The new rule will make matters worse. I would say they [black market cigarettes] have taken 15% of sales away from us and the black market will continue to grow if this rule comes true. ”

Lin encourages her customers to start vaping instead of smoking, but said she is only allowed to sell three flavors, mint, menthol and tobacco, so people go elsewhere.

“ Business is already tough. ”

She wants the government to make fair changes that won’t “seriously impact” the business earnings of dairy owners across New Zealand.

“ We are just small business owners who work very hard, long hours to support our family and our community. ”

Submissions can be made on the Proposals for a 2025 smoke-free Aotearoa Action plan until 5:00 p.m. on May 31, 2021.


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