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Tobacco giant fined for cigarette fashion promotion

Friday 8 November, 2002

Quit Victoria has welcomed today's decision by a Sydney Court to fine tobacco giant Philip Morris for a cigarette promotion at a New South Wales fashion event. However, Quit has warned that similar events have occurred regularly in Victoria.

Quit Executive Director Todd Harper says Philip Morris and its associated company Wavesnet were today fined $9,000 and $15,000 respectively and ordered to pay costs of $70,000, for breaching the New South Wales Public Health Act. Philip Morris and Wavesnet both pleaded guilty to promoting Alpine cigarettes at an event in Sydney in December 2000.

""The Wavesnet events, which were a competition for fashion design students, were first uncovered in Victoria,"" Mr Harper said.

""Under the Wavesnet name, a series of fashion parades were held in nightclubs. However these events were also used to promote Philip Morris’ Alpine brand of cigarettes, and the venues were themed in Alpine colours and imagery.""

Mr Harper says two of the Wavesnet events - the state and national final for the awards - were held in Victoria, at Melbourne nightclubs Salt and QBH.

Mr Harper says the verdict is encouraging, however, the incident highlights the need for a national concerted approach to the tobacco industry’s promotional activities aimed at young people.

""Unfortunately, these events are just examples of a range of tobacco promotions aimed at young people.""

""We have evidence that tobacco promotions at nightclubs, bars and events are occurring regularly both in Victoria and in other states.""

""It’s important to stamp out these promotions, as they are taking place in venues like pubs, nightclubs and rock concerts where the tobacco industry can access young people.""

""We know that smoking rates are highest among young people, and that this is a time when young people are experimenting with smoking.""

""So these sorts of promotions and events represent the perfect environment for tobacco companies to recruit young people and turn them into regular customers.""

Mr Harper says the Victorian Government has recently introduced legislation that restricts tobacco industry promotion, including banning the practice of mobile cigarette sales by 'cigarette girls’, and restricting tobacco advertising at point of sale.

""In addition, the Federal Government’s current review of the Tobacco Advertising Prohibition Act creates an opportunity to further restrict these sort of marketing activities.""

""We know the tobacco industry will take every opportunity to exploit any loophole they can, so it’s imperative for Governments to introduce tough legislation to ban these sorts of promotions, and be prepared to enforce it.""

""Just as tobacco advertising in print and electronic media has been banned, we should aim to eliminate all other forms of tobacco marketing.""

Zoe Furman
Media Communications Manager
Quit Victoria

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