VicHealth and Quit have welcomed the Federal Government's bid to ban internet advertising of tobacco products, announced in Parliament today.
The Tobacco Advertising Prohibition Amendment Bill 2010 will bring curbs on tobacco product advertising on the internet in line with restrictions already in place at physical points of sale and in other media.
VicHealth CEO Todd Harper said: "The Australian Government has taken a tough approach to shutting down marketing by Big Tobacco. We must ensure they aren't able to use the internet to recruit young smokers.
"Companies selling cigarettes on the internet currently don't have to display the same health warnings on their products as retailers with a physical point of sale. The legislation introduced today shuts this loophole."
Executive Director of Quit, Fiona Sharkie, said online tobacco retailers would also be unable to display photos of tobacco products or use promotional language such as ‘tax-free', ‘cheap' or advertise ‘specials'.
"It's important that we shut down any avenue of promotion for a product we know claims the life of one in two long-term users.
"Through the introduction of plain packaging, smokefree areas, advertising bans, tax increases, public awareness campaigns and support for people to quit smoking, Australia is a world leader in reducing harm from smoking. Hopefully other countries will follow our lead so that internet advertising of tobacco products is banned globally."
Tobacco smoking is the leading cause of preventable death and disease in Australia. Around half of the 2.9 million Australian adults who currently smoke on a daily basis and who continue to smoke for a prolonged period will die early; half will die in middle age - on average, 15 years early.
The new ban on internet advertising of tobacco products in Australia follows the National Preventive Health Taskforce recommendation to ban the online advertising and sale of tobacco products.
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