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Quit slams Philip Morris for using gimmicks to lure smokers

Tuesday 11 December, 2007

Quit has condemned tobacco giant Philip Morris for using dirty tactics and the release of a new smoking gimmick to try and lure young people into their so called super tobacconist.

Executive Director of Quit, Ms Fiona Sharkie, said the tobacco giant was using the release of a product that had failed miserably in overseas markets as an incentive to try and get potential customers, particularly young people, to buy cigarettes.

"Philip Morris has decided to launch an unattractive smoking product that is larger than a mobile phone and is not a safe alternative to cigarettes."

"This ugly device - which no fashion conscious person would be interested in smoking - is unable to be used in areas where smoking is banned so really you have to ask what is Philip Morris, with their history of misleading behaviour, really up to?"

"Our main message to smokers is that there is no question that any level or form of smoking can lead to deadly consequences."

Ms Sharkie said the company was no doubt hoping to create enough curiosity about the product to attract people to their store in Melbourne's fashion precinct where they would be faced with massive displays of cigarettes, which research has established are a trigger for smoking.

"Unfortunately this is not surprising behaviour from an industry that will do anything in their desperation to attract a new generation of customers. The depths to which they are willing to sink to ensure the future viability of their deadly product are astounding."

"This choice of location is not a mere coincidence. We know that Chapel Street, with its proximity to schools, public transport, cinemas and other amusements, is a magnet for young people - the prime targets of the tobacco industry."

Ms Sharkie said the introduction of the new product also raised questions about the need for stronger regulation of the tobacco industry.

"Despite their history of misleading consumers the tobacco industry can introduce new products as they please."

"Cigarettes are about the only consumer product so loosely unregulated and this is plainly absurd given the potentially deadly consequences of their use."

"It is preposterous that everyday products like sausages and strawberry jam more heavily scrutinised than cigarettes, which are responsible for deaths of over 15 000 Australians every year."

 

ends

Edwina Pearse,
Media Manager
ph: (03) 9635 5400
mob: 0417 303 811
email:
Edwina.Pearse@cancervic.org.au

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