Tuesday, September 22, 2009

 

Tobacco Industry's Pathetic Ploy to Prevent Sale Displays

Smokers, led by the artist David Hockney, claim to be a persecuted minority and when, waiting in Munich airport last night I saw some sitting,m miserably, in a sealed 'smoking unit' in the middle of the departure area, I began to see how they might feel this to be the case. But I'm not especially worried. As an exsmoker, I know how hard it is to give up but as someone who did so for financial reasons when a student with a young family, I know certain imperatives cannot be ignored. So I'm in favour of ghoulish notices and pictures on cigarette packets and also in concealing displays of them in shops. Soon cigarettes will become like pornography: an 'under the counter' commodity, with a taint of shame attached.

The piece by Deborah Arnott today demolishes the tobacco trade's assertion that the equipment to conceal such disp[lays will cost taders up to £5000. The real cost is closer to £120. The essence of her case lies in the two paragraphs below:

Smoking is an addiction of childhood, not an adult choice. The tobacco industry needs to recruit over 100,000 new smokers every year in this country – largely children and young people – to replace those who die or quit. The tobacco industry in its own documents admits that the pack and retail displays of the pack are a major promotional tool now that advertising is prohibited, calling the pack "the communication life-blood of the firm … the silent salesman".

Two-thirds of smokers take up the habit before they reach 18, and half of all smokers will die from their addiction. In Iceland, the first jurisdiction to pass legislation to put tobacco out of sight in 2001, the number of young smokers fell significantly, and laws have now been successfully implemented in nearly all Canadian provinces and Ireland too.

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