Call for ban on remaining tobacco advertising and promotion

Media Release
29 May 2019

In the lead up to World No Tobacco Day 31 May 2019, which focuses on ‘tobacco and lung health’, the Australian Council on Smoking and Health has called on the Federal Government to amend existing tobacco legislation to prohibit all remaining tobacco  promotion and act to prevent new and disturbing forms of tobacco marketing

“We know smoking is the leading cause of lung cancer, heart disease, chronic obstructive pulmonary disease, emphysema, and many other conditions in Australia,” said Maurice Swanson, Chief Executive, Australian Council on Smoking and Health.

“The tobacco industry continues to ruthlessly promote smoking in Australia and internationally by any means possible, and we are calling on the new Federal Government to prohibit strategies used by the tobacco industry to recruit new smokers and renormalise smoking,” said Mr Swanson, “We are especially concerned that the tobacco industry is now using social media platforms such as Facebook, Twitter and Instagram to promote its products to young people as an attractive and glamorous behaviour.”

As just one example, Philip Morris was recently exposed for running a social media campaign using young “influencers” to promote tobacco products.

This form of promotion will require international as well as national responses. We urge the Federal Government to work with the World Health Organization and other countries to identify means of curbing the use of internet marketing by the tobacco industry.

The Federal Government should also strengthen Commonwealth legislation to prohibit the following marketing strategies by the tobacco industry:

  • payments, incentives and rebates by any tobacco manufacturer, importer or wholesaler to tobacco retailers
  • direct advertising/promotional material between industry/manufacturers and retailers
  • publicity about tobacco industry sponsorship or charitable activities
  • public relations and lobbying activities intended to promote tobacco use or purchase of tobacco products
  • tobacco price boards in retail outlets
  • require regular reporting by any company importing or wholesaling tobacco products in Australia of expenditure and details of any promotion and marketing activities, including donations or payments to third parties such as hospitality groups, the Institute of Public Affairs etc.

Australia has led the world in its comprehensive approach to reducing smoking, and consequently daily smoking rates in Australia have almost halved since 1995.

While Australia has achieved great progress in tobacco control, two-thirds of Australian smokers are likely to die because they smoked.

“We need more action to continue the decline”, Mr Swanson said, “the action we know works – a comprehensive approach including taxation, reinstatement of tv-led public education campaigns, expansion of smoke-free measures, a systematic approach across our health services to help people quit smoking, and an end to all direct and indirect promotion of tobacco products.”

– ENDS –

For further information:

Maurice Swanson, Chief Executive, ACOSH