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The 13th World Conference on Tobacco OR Health

Building capacity for a tobacco-free world

July 12-15, 2006, Washington, DC, USA

Saturday, July 15, 2006 - 8:45 AM

Graphic point-of-display tobacco health warnings in Tasmania: Expected and unexpected benefits

Martin E. Bicevskis, MB, BS, BE, Public and Environmental Health Service, Department of Health and Human Services, Tasmania, 152 Macquarie Street, Hobart, AL 7000, Australia

Objective: The Tasmanian Department of Health and Human Services developed the concept of using retail point-of-display health warnings as an inexpensive additional vehicle for existing tobacco control advertising campaigns.

Methods: In 2004 a statutory requirement was issued to all licensed tobacco retailers in Tasmania to display a specific graphic health warning. The warning used the same graphic, a diseased smoker's mouth, that will shortly be required on cigarette packets by the Australian government. The Tasmanian graphic warning was required at the point of retail DISPLAY rather than the point of SALE. The regulatory system allows the point-of-display warnings to be varied in a flexible manner without legislative changes.

Results: The visually confronting graphic caused considerable public interest. One outcome was that approximately forty Tasmanian retailers, including one of Australia's two major supermarket chains, voluntarily moved their tobacco products entirely out of public sight to avoid having to display the graphic warning. This has unexpectedly provided evidence for the technical and financial feasibility of requiring all retailers to move their tobacco products out of sight.