Tim Longhurst's Blog
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Tobacco billboards to remain in supermarkets and at petrol stations

March 15th, 2006 · No Comments

tobaccopos.1.jpgAustralia’s tobacco marketing laws are ultra mild. On paper, Australia banned cigarette advertising years ago, yet just about every grocery or petrol retailer displays cigarette packets and cartons in transparent displays.

These walls of tobacco brands amount to tobacco billboards in prime locations.

In 2004, New South Wales’ Minister for Health, Frank Sartor, recognising the deadliness of tobacco and the marketing effectiveness of walls of tobacco packaging, indicated that he had the guts to take a stand on this issue:

“You only have to walk into a supermarket and see the rows and rows of brightly coloured cigarette packages to know that tobacco products continue to occupy centre stage. I would like to see them pushed to one side.”

But SMH has revealed that the strength of Sartor’s conviction has waned and the Government is no longer pursuing this agenda.

“It would have been easier to take on retailers than the pubs and clubs [but] … it was a big cost and a big issue for relatively little return…”

If you want to know a little about the organisation that successfully lobbied on this issue, check out the National Alliance of Tobacco Retailers, which is bankrolled in part by the tobacco industry.

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How much does tobacco cost Australia?

January 3rd, 2006 · No Comments

tobaccolungashtray.jpgHow much does tobacco smoke cost Australians each year? A recent report indicates that hospital visits relating to tobacco cost almost $700 million. I suspect the full economic cost of tobacco actually runs much higher than that.

According to ABC News:

The Federal Government says the only way to reduce the financial impact smoking has on Australia’s health system is for smokers to quit.

New figures show smoking is responsible for almost 300,000 hospital visits each year, at a cost of almost $700 million.

Acting Health Minister Julie Bishop says each year, 19,000 Australians die from smoking-related illnesses.

This figure works out to be roughly $35 for every Australian. Sounds incredibly cheap to me. The Federal Government’s “Counting the Costs” (2002) priced tobacco’s cost to the community at $21.1 Billion. That’s $1055 for every Australian, which, when you consider the cost of hospitals, doctors, nurses, specialists, surgeons, equipment, prescription medication and other costs, still seems quite cheap.

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Category: Corporate craziness