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Quit slams QANTAS for tobacco promotion

Wednesday 16 July, 2008

QANTAS has reintroduced in-flight tobacco sales, despite a decision made ten years ago to remove cigarettes from onboard duty free sales.

Quit labelled the airline's decision to sell duty-free cigarettes on flights as an incredibly backwards step, saying it was nothing more than a greedy cash grab at the expense of people's health.

Executive Director of Quit, Ms Fiona Sharkie said passengers on international flights provide a captive audience for duty-free promotions, and selling and showing cigarettes is essentially advertising this deadly product.

"International flights are an opportunity for smokers to give up smoking, but having cheap cigarettes promoted to them by QANTAS in-flight completely undermines this opportunity."

"Unfortunately it seems QANTAS are cashing in on smokers who may be going through withdrawal symptoms on smokefree flight, tempting them to purchase cigarettes they may not have otherwise."

"Perhaps the flying kangaroo should be renamed the cancer kangaroo, such is their insistence on the in-flight sale and display of a product that will ultimately kill more than half of long-term users."

Ms Sharkie said the decision by QANTAS to spruik tobacco products in-flight has once again put a spotlight of the sale of duty-free cigarettes in Australia.

"The Commonwealth Government must act to remove tax concessions on cigarette imports and exports by travellers entering or leaving Australia."

"The current Government have already shown significant commitment to encourage people to quit smoking, so it would certainly be in line with other strong tobacco control policies to see an end to the duty-free sale of cigarettes."

The prohibition of duty-free tobacco sales to travellers is mentioned in the Framework Convention on Tobacco Control, to which Australia is a party.

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