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Health warnings go under cover

| January 4, 2013

Australia’s largest tobacco retail franchise says it does not believe that it is in breach of Victorian state tobacco laws by giving away free cigarette-pack covers, according to a story by Rachel Wells for The Age.

The Tobacco Station Group (TSG), with more than 300 stores nationally, is offering covers that feature the company’s logo and website address free of charge to customers who buy tobacco products in its outlets. The nature of the covers is reportedly such that health warnings are visible when a smoker removes a cigarette from the pack.

Under the Victorian Tobacco Act (1987) retailers are prohibited from offering customers a free gift with the purchase of any tobacco product.

The federal Department of Health and Ageing is launching an investigation to see if the products breach federal tobacco laws and has advised its state and territory counterparts to do the same.

TSG has confirmed that the covers – designed to ‘enable customers to express their identity with their cigarette packs’ – are available at all of its outlets.

“TSG are of the opinion that the cases comply with the new Australian plain packaging legislation,” a spokeswoman said.

It is not the first time the federal government has investigated a product designed to cover the graphic health warnings that now comprise the major imagery on what are described as ‘plain packs’.

In December, a company launched a range of custom stickers that wrap around cigarette packs. The Box Wrap stickers with the marketing slogan, ‘It’s your box, it’s your choice’, feature a range of images including the Australian flag and scantily-clad men and women.

In this instance, the department found the company was not in breach of federal tobacco laws.

Category: Breaking News

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