The government has recently supported new fog cannon technology to deter theft in small stores like dairies. This technology has come about in response to the raised level of tobacco and cash-related violence used to gain entry into shops.
Fog cannon or ‘smoke screen’ security works by releasing a dense fog, usually a glycerine mixed with distilled water, hiding valuables and disorientating the intruder. The sudden release of smoke is intended to shock and confuse the intruder, forcing them to retreat from the property before taking any items.
Hāpai Te Hauora CEO, Lance Norman, states that "we are concerned by the escalating rate of burglaries and violence and can see the benefits of smoke screen security because you cannot steal what you cannot see, but supply reduction is a far more effective solution".
As a Māori public health organisation, Hāpai advocates for supply reduction as a key strategy in tobacco control. Hāpai recognises the potential issues surrounding decreased supply as a standalone solution, which means there needs to be companion policies in tandem that lower demand. This includes media campaigns, reduction of nicotine per cigarette, and approval of alternative products for commercial sale like ENDS (electronic nicotine delivery systems).
Norman states that "investing in security rather than harm reduction technology like ENDS could be seen as defeatist. We suggest policy makers instead prioritise whānau who are harmed by tobacco by adopting the supply reduction policies as well as protecting small business owners. Every reduction in tobacco supply reduces harm in equal proportion, and this includes tobacco-related theft".