Quit Victoria has renewed calls to ban the display of cigarettes at point of sale after research revealed that adolescents have been exposed to cigarette promotions in shops such as milk bars and supermarkets.
The report, Smoking among Australian secondary school students 2002, showed that over 205 000 secondary students were currently involved with tobacco smoking, the lowest figure since the survey was first conducted twenty years ago.
Despite the legal age of purchasing cigarettes being 18 years, 24% of all students who had smoked in the last week bought their last cigarettes themselves. In this group the most common points for buying cigarettes were milk bars, petrol stations and supermarkets.
Quit Victoria's Executive Director, Todd Harper, said that ensuring tobacco products were out of sight at point of sale was a vital part of preventing young people from taking up smoking.
""By removing cigarette displays from point of sale, we can restrict the ability of tobacco industry to peddle their product to adolescents,"" said Mr Harper.
Across all age groups (12-17) the proportion of students smoking fell from 20% in 1999 to 16% in 2002.
Mr Harper said that it was fantastic to see such a drop in the number of students smoking but emphasised that need for more to be done to see this trend continues.
“Smoking is a habit that will eventually kill up to 2 out of 3 lifetime users, and the younger someone starts smoking the more likely it becomes that they will develop a dependency on nicotine.”
“Why should we allow such harmful products at point of sale?” said Mr Harper.
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