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Health experts call for curbs on tobacco sales

Government laws to reduce the number of shops selling cigarettes is a “critical step” in tackling New Zealand’s high rate of tobacco-related deaths and diseases, according to a University of Otago study.

It says a licensing system that restricts tobacco sales to a “small number of specialised outlets with appropriate security” will also address an increase in tobacco-related retail crimes, such as aggravated burglaries.

On 1 June, NZ police minister Paula Bennett announced a $1.8 million assistance programme for family-owned and independent businesses to install updated security measures such as “panic button” alarms and DNA sprays. It follows an increase in the number of violent robberies involving theft of cigarettes. 

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