Geraldton’s tobacco retailers are pessimistic about the Federal Government’s new plain packaging legislation, saying it won’t stop people smoking.
Geraldton’s tobacco retailers are pessimistic about the Federal Government’s new plain packaging legislation, saying it won’t stop people smoking.

Geraldton’s tobacco retailers are pessimistic about the Federal Government’s new plain packaging legislation, saying it won’t stop people smoking.

The Tobacco Plain Packaging Act 2011 will come into effect on December 1.

Under the new legislation all cigarette packets will be olive green and display large health warnings, with brand names appearing in small generic font.

The High Court of Australia rejected challenges by several tobacco companies to the validity of the legislation last Wednesday.

A tobacco retailer in Geraldton’s CBD said the only thing the new legislation would do was to make retailers’ jobs a lot harder.

She said there was no way it would work — it would not stop young people wanting to smoke or encourage long-term smokers to quit.

“The Government is wasting its time.

If gruesome pictures didn’t stop people smoking then this won’t,” she said.

GJ’s Lottery Centre and News co-owner John Stone said the new legislation may discourage the younger generation but it would have no impact on “diehard” smokers.

“If the Government were really serious they would make it illegal, but they make too much money out of it.

“If it is such a big issue, why don’t they take a stand and do something for this generation. Bite the bullet,” he said.

Any concerns from retailers that they would be left out-of-pocket with unsaleable stock once the new legislation came into effect seems to have been abated by the tobacco companies.

Mr Stone said when the fire-resistant cigarettes were introduced in 2010, the cigarette companies came and swapped over the old stock, and he expected they would do the same when the plain packaging legislation came into effect.

He said the cigarette companies would start supplying the new plain packaging cigarettes from October, providing retailers with an opportunity to shift stock before the official swap on December 1.

“There is a possibility we will be left with some old stock, but if orders are managed carefully over the next few months the impact will be minimised,” he said.

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