Victorian anti-smoking groups score another hit with new bans



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New smoking bans to be introduced in the state of Victoria, Australia will be a blow to many smokers as they mean it will be illegal to smoke in cars carrying children and on public school grounds.

The advertising of cigarettes and smoking cigarette at ‘point-of-sale’, will also be banned by the Victorian Government and cigarettes will in future be stored in a cupboard or under the counter and advertised only by a plain sign with prices.

Kylie Lindorff policy manager of Quit Victoria says it is hoped the new advertising restrictions will lead to fewer children taking up smoking.

Ms Lindorff says currently cigarettes are advertised as a normal product, often in close proximity to lollies, milk and bread, which can encourage the idea that smoking is normal and they should try it.

Ms Lindorff says this can also tempt those trying to quit into impulse buying.

Next on the anti-smoking lobby’s agenda is for cigarettes to be sold in plain packets and there are already plans afoot to lobby the Federal Government next year to legislate for plain cigarette packaging, only displaying a large, graphic health warning and the name of the brand.

Victoria Health chief executive Todd Harper says it is on the packet where appealing images and attributes appear, meant to entice both new and existing smokers.

The tobacco industry will also be up against a record $22 million anti-smoking advertising strategy which will subject Victorians to least four anti-smoking ads every month, aimed at reducing adult smoking rates by 20% by 2013 and targeting in particular high-risk groups such as pregnant women to quit - $1.5 million will come from the Victorian Health Promotion Foundation.

However critics say retailers have been given a reprieve of more than two-years before the cigarette display ban will be enforced - when New South Wales introduced similar laws last month, retailers were only given six months to a year to comply.

Victorian retailers will also not face penalties until 2011 and smoking bans on motorists with children will not come into force until 2010.

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