On World No Tobacco Day, 31 May, The Cancer Council Victoria joins the World Health Organization (WHO) calling for a ban on cigarette displays in shops and a move to plain packing on cigarette packs.
Professor David Hill, Director of the Cancer Council Victoria said when it comes to tobacco displays in stores, out of sight really is out of mind.
"Allowing the tobacco industry to display cigarette packs in shops is giving them a green light to advertise - and as most advertising is already banned they exploit this avenue by creating attractive display units to showcase their deadly product ," he said.
Globally, most smokers start smoking before the age of 18. Almost a quarter begin before they are 10. The younger the children are when they first try smoking, the more likely they are to become regular tobacco users and the less likely they are to quit.
Ms Fiona Sharkie, Director of Quit Victoria said an effective way to protect children from the devastating harms of smoking is to ban all forms of direct and indirect tobacco advertising - including cigarette pack displays.
"Removing cigarette pack displays from sight in the retail environment helps dismantle the idea that smoking is normal behaviour, and will reduce the rate of young people taking up smoking. Doing this also provides an effective support for smokers trying to quit," she said.
"With fewer opportunities to establish brand imagery through conventional methods of advertising, the cigarette pack has taken on an essential role in establishing and driving brand image.
"In terms of communication with a smoker or luring potential new smokers, this exposure to brand imagery is invaluable for the tobacco industry," Ms Sharkie said.
The International Union Against Cancer (UICC) is also promoting a global competition for a universally recognised symbol to identify places children are free from environmental tobacco smoke. The symbol should be a graphic image without words and communicate across cultures.
The competition is open to children and adults, creative agencies, art schools, and UICC member organisations. The deadline for entries is 30 June. The winner will attend the World Cancer Congress in Geneva, Switzerland, 27-31 August, to present the symbol and receive US$5000 cash prize.
Professor David Hill is currently President-Elect of the UICC and will take up the position of President at the UICC World Cancer Congress.
World No Tobacco Day
This event, organised by WHO annually on 31 May, highlights the dangers of using tobacco, the business practices of tobacco companies, and what people can do to claim their right to healthy living and to protect future generations.
As the tobacco industry intensifies its efforts to entrap new, young tobacco users, the health of the world's children and young people is threatened by its deadly products. Information on World No Tobacco Day is available at www.who.int/en/
The International Union Against Cancer
UICC is the leading international non-governmental organisation dedicated exclusively to the global control of cancer, linking 300 members in almost 100 countries. Its vision is of a world where cancer is eliminated as a major life-threatening disease for future generations. See http://www.uicc.org/
The UICC competition for a smoke-free symbol is part of "I love my smoke-free childhood," launched on World Cancer Day, 4 February 2008, as the first full year theme in a five-year cancer prevention program focused on children and young people. The threats to their health from environmental tobacco smoke are spelled out in Protecting our children from second-hand smoke. This 40-page expert report and details of the competition can be found at http://www.worldcancercampaign.org.au/
Edwina Pearse - 0417 303 811
Belinda Goldfinch - 0419 552 719