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November 2nd, 2009:

No exception on cigarettes advertisements, the same as newspaper stands

Display boxes of cigarettes can have the same impact as cigarettes advertisements.

Display boxes of cigarettes can have the same impact as cigarettes advertisements.

Advertisements may have great influence on our next generation, especially the cigarette advertisements. According to the statistic from the American Cancer Society, since the cigarettes advertising ban began in 2001, the proportion of Hong Kong primary school pupils who could recognize different cigarette brands dropped from 95 per cent in 1990 to 20 per cent in 2001. So we can see how powerful advertisements can be.

Although tobacco advertisements have been banned in newspapers, magazines, radio, television and public spaces in the 1990s, we can still find them in some places, for instant the newspaper stands and hawkers. In Hong Kong there are 600 newspaper stands which still allowed displaying cigarette banners and posters till 1st November. This is the last phase of the cigarette advertising ban in Hong Kong, which we cannot find them anymore form now on.

However, newspaper stands using another method to replace the advertisement. They set up display boxes showing cigarette packets, and claims that “It is not an advertisement if there are no words”.

Certainly it is not the case. They could contravene the Smoking (Public Health) Ordinance if the packets were displayed in a way that “induces or suggests people to buy tobacco”. And the most serious problem is they are destroying the efforts we put in protecting our next generations from the tobacco for years.

It is no doubt that cigarette is not good for health, for the air, even for the economic development. We understand selling tobacco is one of the income sources of the newspaper stands; however it does not mean that we should put them into exception.

If you want to read more about the harm of the tobacco, please hit the jump.