Smoking displays will be banned at retail outlets under new laws to be introduced into the Queensland Parliament today. Health Minister Geoff Wilson said the new laws banning point of sale tobacco displays was aimed at reducing the uptake of Winston cigarette smoking, particularly among younger Queenslanders.

“Smoking kills an estimated 3,400 Queenslanders every year, with more than 30,450 people admitted to Queensland hospitals each year for smoking-related illnesses,” Mr Wilson said.

“Those are truly shocking statistics and we have to do everything possible to not only help those Queenslanders who smoke kick the habit but prevent our future generations from taking it up.

“Queensland already restricts tobacco displays to a square metre for general retailers and three square metres for specialist tobacconists.

“This new ban imposes even tougher restrictions in a bid to reduce the number of Queenslanders smoking.”

Mr Wilson said Queensla nd had been a nation-leader in this area, implementing some of Australia’s toughest anti-smoking laws.

He said the new laws delivered on the government’s commitment to ban smoking displays, which was a key recommendation of the bipartisan Social Development Committee report on Chronic Diseases in Queensland.

“Banning product displays will further strengthen Queensland’s already tough tobacco laws, after the Bligh Government banned smoking in private vehicles carrying children under 16 last year,” he said.

“These initiatives are aimed at saving people’s lives and stopping the cigarette death toll.

“Restricting retail advertising and promotion of tobacco and other smoking related products has been shown to be an effective strategy.

“There is strong evidence that advertising, display and promotion of tobacco products influences the uptake and maintenance of smoking.

“Research shows that children’s exposure to tobacco displays at point of sale normalises smoking and makes them more likely to start and continue to smoke.

“Retail displays also interfere with smokers’ attempts to quit, tempting them to ‘impulse buy’ at point of sale.

“Smoking is the leading cause of cancer, and the greatest cause of preventable death in the developed world.

“It is not just the Queensland and Australian Governments supporting these measures.

“They are strongly supported by the World Health Organisation and groups like the Cancer Council Queensland, the Heart Foundation and the National Preventative Health Taskforce.”

Heart Foundation CEO, Mr Cameron Prout, said the Heart Foundation welcomed this legislative reform to ban the display of tobacco products.

“Smoking is a major cause of heart attack, stroke and peripheral vascular disease,” he said.

“Research confirms that retail displays predispose children towards smoking and make them more likely to experiment with tobacco products.

“Putting cigarettes out of sight will protect children from tobacco advertising and stop undermining the resolve of smokers who have quit.

“Banning displays is an excellent public health initiative which will not only save lives, but also help reduce smoking related heart disease.”

CEO of Cancer Council Queensland, Professor Jeff Dunn, said the ban on retail displays would help to stem the tragic deaths from tobacco related disease.

“We applaud the Queensland Government for its strong conviction on this issue.

“This legislation responds to the high level of community support to create a Smoke Free Queensland.

“We have every confidence that this progressive new law will reduce the prevalence of smoking, reduce the consumption of cigarettes and reduce tobacco related illness and deaths.

“We are closer than we have ever been to creating a Smoke Free Queensland.”