The Queensland Government has announced plans to ban merchandising displays for smoking and related products.

The new ban will be introduced by mid 2010 at all points of sale.

Dusk Johnston reports.

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The Government says restricting advertising will be an affective strategy to save lives.

The Australian Medical Association agrees.

Mason Stevenson, AMA Queensland President: “One of the many measures that needs to occur to get the smoking rate down to single digits. We believe this is one of the essential planks in smoking reform.”

The State’s Health Minister and Acting Premier, Paul Lucas, says this will help prevent the uptake and maintenance of smoking.

As well as preventing quitting smokers to return to the habit.

The AMA says it’s only the start.

Mason Stevenson, AMA Queensland President: “If we have a point of sale ban on advertising that’s a start, but it needs to be extended to all forms of tobacco advertising.”

The campaign supports the Federal Government’s introduction of plain cigarette packaging.

Tobacco companies are expected to take the matter to court but Paul Lucas says to expect a fight.

Paul Lucas, Acting Premier: “The Queensland Government will use its constitutional powers to support with complimentary legislation if needed, to overcome any potential challenge against the Commonwealth.”

The Government says smoking costs Queensland $6.3-billion each year from loss of productivity and premature death.

The ban on point of sale advertising aims to decrease this figure.

Dusk Johnston, QUT News