The Cancer Council has marked World No Tobacco Day, May 31, by encouraging more than 750 NSW tobacconists to start removing cigarette and tobacco displays in their shops ahead of changes in the coming months.
From July 1, tobacconists and specialised tobacco shops will no longer be able to visually display tobacco products to the public except on occasions for instance when staff are serving customers or they are restocking their shelves.
“The start of July will mark the final chapter of tobacco companies being able to use display cabinets to openly showcase their dangerous and highly addictive products,” Justin Cantelo at Cancer Council Western region said.
“Smoking is the number one cause of preventable death in Australia and having cigarettes on display makes them seem like a normal, everyday product rather than a deadly and addictive drug.
“The end of open cigarette displays will remove one more barrier for people who are trying to quit smoking. Ending this exemption sends an important reminder that cigarettes are a dangerous and deadly product.
“This final chapter to cigarette displays will help change attitudes and social norms around smoking and play a key role in preventing future generations from taking up the habit.”
Tobacconists in NSW have had more than three years to comply with a ban on point of sale displays, and Cancer Council believes there should be no reason for stores to delay removing tobacco from their shelves.
“We know the tobacco industry can be notoriously good at finding loopholes in the system but we would encourage tobacconists to proactively prepare their shelves and customers for the new changes over the coming weeks,” Mr Cantelo said.
“Smoking kills about 15,000 people in Australia each year - making it one of the biggest preventable causes of premature death.
“In the western region our rates remain above the state average and the further out west you go the higher the rates are.”