Tobacco Control Around the World: Sydney

Sometimes, less is more.  While honeymooning in the land down under, I came across these anti-smoking signs  prominently displayed at retail stores throughout Sydney.  I was struck by how simple and direct these signs were.  No flashy graphics- just simply text: “Smoking Kills” along with cessation information.  Another thing I liked was that an individual could only buy tobacco products from a specific register.   I was curious as to when these policies were enacted- a quick search on Google led me to the New South Wales (NSW) Public Health (Tobacco) Act 2008.

There were a few regulations that retailers had to comply by July 1, 2009:

  1. Retailers will only be allowed to sell tobacco products from one cash register at any time (the point of sale).
  2. Retailers will also have to change to health warning signs.
  3. Retailers must discontinue any shopper loyalty rewards and programs for the purchase of tobacco.

As I walked by various stores, I felt like something was missing, but I couldn’t put a finger on it.  Finally I realized that there was no tobacco advertising or promotion anywhere!  In the states, I’m so used to being visually bombarded with signs advertising the latest tobacco flavors or 2 packs for the price of 1 deals.   While Australia still has a long way to go when it comes to passing tobacco control policies (one can still smoke at Sydney parks and playground, dining patios, etc), as a tourist, I certainly appreciate the steps that they have taken thus far, starting with the point of purchase.

–Jeannie Jung

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