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Issue #1601      July 10, 2013

Tobacco goes out of sight in all NSW shops

More than 400 tobacconists in NSW will be required to keep tobacco products out of sight in cupboards and drawers – ending a three-year exemption to the health policy. Under NSW legislation passed in 2008, larger general retailers had to put tobacco packs out of sight by the end of 2009, and smaller shops by July 2010.

Specialist tobacconists were given until July 1, 2013 to phase out the advertising displays.

Only South Australia and Victoria still allow tobacconists to display tobacco products in full view – with SA to end the exemption by the end of 2014, says Anne Jones, Chief Executive of Action on Smoking and Health (ASH) Australia:

“This is a welcome milestone for NSW in ending tobacco retail promotion – especially to children. Many tobacconists are located in major shopping malls, where these lethal addictive products have been visible to all – including children.

“So the end of this loophole is welcome – especially in light of new research showing the policy is effective in reducing impulse purchase of tobacco.”

A four-year, four-country study including Australia from 2006-2010 shows “impulse purchasing of cigarettes was lower in places that enacted POS [point of sale] display bans.” Australia and Canada, with such policies, recorded falls in impulse buying; UK and US, with tobacco still in view at the time, did not.

“The tobacco industry lobbied Australian governments, just as they did with plain packaging, claiming that these policies ‘wouldn’t work’ and were a waste of time,” said Anne Jones.

“This study shows making tobacco branding less visible does deliver health benefits – putting tobacco out of sight at point of sale reduces impulse buying – which is why the industry has opposed it so aggressively.

“A comprehensive out-of-sight retail policy will help the NSW government achieve its NSW 2012 aim to reduce smoking rates by 3% for non-Aboriginal people and 4% by Aboriginal people by 2015.”   

Next article – Workers left stunned at Hastings Deering redundancies

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