Tobacco displays will be hidden in most retail outlets in Victoria from January 1st, 2011 as legislation banning them comes into force.
Executive Director of Quit, Ms Fiona Sharkie, said the ban would make it harder for the tobacco industry to advertise their deadly products, especially to young people.
"Tobacco displays in shops are carefully-crafted advertisements for products that kill half their long-term users."
"Up until now cigarettes have had the best real estate in a store. They are the first thing most people see when going into a shop, often placed near ordinary items like newspapers, bread and lollies. This gives the false impression that cigarettes are just like every day consumables and more commonly used than they actually are."
"Tobacco retail display bans will end this deadly promotion. The evidence shows they will lead to less young people being exposed to tobacco and taking up smoking."
One of the pioneers of tobacco reform in Australia, Cancer Council Victoria Director Professor David Hill, said evidence supporting the policy was clear.
"Research shows teenagers frequently exposed to point of sale tobacco displays are more likely than those who aren't to take up smoking. Those young people also believe it would be easier to purchase cigarettes and have better recall of cigarette brands."
"Additionally, studies show retail tobacco displays undermine quit attempts of adult smokers, triggering impulse purchases that wouldn't have been made otherwise," he said.
Ms Sharkie said putting tobacco out of sight in shops was the first step in stopping tobacco companies using their packaging as advertising.
"The final axe will fall when plain packaging becomes mandatory in 2012. Then there will be no potential for cigarette packs to be used as portable advertising billboards to make a deadly product appear attractive and aspirational," she said.
Tobacco retail display bans are already in place in the ACT, NSW and WA, with the NT and TAS to adopt the ban by February next year. SA and QLD have committed to implement the ban by January 2012.
Notes to Editors:
- Under the Victorian legislation, displays of cigarettes must be hidden either under the counter or behind an opaque barrier like a curtain or cabinets. A price board will still be allowed displaying the brands and prices of all cigarettes.
- The only places where tobacco products will be displayed in Victoria from now on is at designated specialist tobacconists and on-airport duty free shops. For specialist tobacconists to be eligible, they must prove 80% of their annual earnings come from tobacco.