On Sunday, ABC TV National News broadcast a story about the restriction of of tobacco sales to age-restricted premises. The story featured interviews with Eros’ Joel Murray and Sex Party’s Fiona Patten, along with representatives from the Cancer Council, Quit and the Retailers Association.
Eros has long argued that the desire of anti-smoking campaigners like the Cancer Council, is to see a full prohibition on tobacco products. This lobby has a particularly powerful relationship with government, evidenced by the gradual prohibition on smoking, particularly over the last decade. When legislation was first passed to ban smoking indoors in 2006/07, the suggestion of a ban on outdoor smoking would have been laughed at. Yet within three years, the smoking ban extended to outdoor areas connected to alfresco dining. A few years later, we are seeing a ban on outdoor smoking at public transport stops and train stations, at sporting ovals during juniors’ games (Victoria) and calls from the City of Melbourne and other local councils to ban outdoor smoking all together (despite the lack of evidence linking passive outdoor smoking to cancer). Full prohibition is now a possibility in the near future, in fact it is already happening in Tasmania with a bill before the parliament proposing to prohibit tobacco sales to anyone born in the year 2000 or later; effectively a prohibition on smoking by stealth. Within the last fortnight, there has also been calls from Quit Victoria to make all personal vaporisers (e-cigarettes) banned across Victoria. The threat from prohibitionists is imminent. Tobacco companies will be powerless to affect government policy, having lost the High Court challenge on plain packaging and that the major political parties are no longer accepting donations from these sources.
The Eros position is that adults-only products should be sold from adults-only venues, placing the modern adult retailer as a one-stop-shop for all things adult. In the near future, adult retailers and tobacconists may be well positioned to be dispensaries for medicinal cannabis. Eros would also like to see our members being able to continue selling personal vaporisers. Restricting the sale of tobacco, strategically positions the industry as a rational and responsible middle ground between prohibitionists and current law.
You can read more about these position in the discussion paper to the ACT government or summary paper available to members on the Eros website.