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Health groups call for end to backdoor tobacco promotion at the Spring Racing Carnival

News reports today have revealed the tobacco industry is using the Spring Racing Carnival as an avenue for tobacco promotion.

Health groups have slammed the tobacco industry promotions at the Spring Racing Carnival - featuring attractive ‘cigarette girls' in racing outfits selling cigarettes - as a sneaky attempt to recruit young smokers and associate their deadly products with sophistication and glamour.

Executive Director of Quit, Ms Fiona Sharkie said the races represent the perfect environment for tobacco companies to catch the attention of young people and turn them into regular customers.

"The tobacco industry uses these events, strategically placing their products near areas designed for young people, to create the idea that smoking is related to fun and fashion."

"We know that smoking rates are highest among young people, and that this is a time when young people are experimenting with smoking, so it's no accident the tobacco industry actively target this group."

CEO of VicHealth, Mr Todd Harper, said he was disappointed the Victorian Racing Club (VRC) allowed tobacco promotions at its events to continue.

"We are calling on VRC to step up and ban the tobacco industry from using their events as a way to push their deadly products."

"Young people should be able to go to the Spring Racing Carnival to have a good time, and socialise - not to be bombarded by unscrupulous and uninvited tobacco marketing."

"The tobacco industry exploits these events to reinforce associations between smoking and the atmosphere cultivated at the races, as well as experiences enjoyed there."

Sales from mobile tobacco outlets will be banned in Victoria from January 1, 2010.

The ban will mean that tobacco will not be sold from any temporary structures like the cigarette stands frequently positioned at festivals and events popular with young people.

Jessica Longbottom,
Media Coordinator
ph: (03) 9635 5498
mob: 0438 714 264
email: Jessica.Longbottom@cancervic.org.au

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