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Government Tipped To Ban Tobacco Displays In Shops

The Age, Nick Miller – December 22, 2008

THE State Government is expected to ban cigarette retail displays in its Tobacco Control Strategy, due for release today.

A discussion paper released in August revealed the Government was wondering whether to completely ban tobacco retail displays, or restrict them to one square metre.

Under a total ban, no cigarette packets would be allowed to be visible inside or from outside a shop.

They would have to be covered or moved under the counter, though retailers would be allowed to display a price board.

Tobacco signage may go. Photo: Jon Reid

Health insiders yesterday predicted the Government would choose this option, following a similar law enacted last month in NSW. However, a Government spokesman declined to comment yesterday.

Cigarettes are sold at about 11,000 retail outlets in Victoria, which would be given time to redesign their point-of-sale displays before the law came into force.

In NSW, big outlets were to be allowed six months, and smaller shops a year.

Specialist tobacconists were likely to be exempt from the rules.

The strategy also includes extra money for programs to tackle Victoria’s alarmingly high indigenous smoking rates, as reported by The Age two weeks ago.

It is expected to ban smoking in government school grounds and in cars carrying children, and may extend the ban to smoking in a car containing anyone under the age of 18.

Temporary tobacco stands at major events such as the Big Day Out will also be outlawed.

The strategy is part of the Government’s Cancer Action Plan, released last week.

The plan said the tobacco strategy would include “anti-smoking social marketing and new smoking cessation services”, including support for pregnant smokers who wanted to quit.

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