Quit has called for the immediate withdrawal of ‘Australian' themed duty-free cartons of cigarettes, saying it is a blatant attempt of the tobacco industry to exploit Australia's image to sell a deadly product.
Cartons of cigarettes bearing outback imagery and flaunting pictures of national icons like the kangaroo and koala next to marketing slogans such as "Another Proud Australian" and "Real Australian" are being offered to travellers leaving Australia.
Acting Director of Quit, Ms Suzie Stillman, said the cigarette cartons were a cynical attempt by the tobacco industry to associate the laid-back, outdoorsy Australian lifestyle with their deadly products.
"Cigarettes are a product that when used as directed kill up to 2 out of 3 lifetime users, which is hardly something that should be connected to the clean, fresh images of the Australian outdoors."
"For the tobacco industry to dress these products up as some sort of colourful souvenir representing Australia is pretty low. Unfortunately it is not surprising behaviour from an industry that is always looking for new ways to try and associate positive attributes with their toxic products."
"Australians can be justifiably upset at these quintessentially Australian images being sullied to promote cigarettes."
Cigarette cartons using images of New Zealand have just been removed from sale in New Zealand after protests from health groups branded the inclusion of national symbols on cigarette cartons an insult.
Ms Stillman said this latest trick to take advantage of popular tourist images to sell cigarettes once again throws the spotlight on the sale of duty-free cigarettes in Australia.
"The Commonwealth Government must act to remove the tax exemptions that presently apply to cigarette purchases by travellers entering or leaving Australia."
"Significant progress in efforts to encourage people to quit smoking have been made over the last few years, so it would certainly be consistent with other strong tobacco control initiatives to see an end to the duty-free sale of cigarettes," said Ms Stillman.
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