No down side to plain cigarette packaging, Cancer Society says

The Canadian Cancer Society disagrees cigarettes being sold in plain packaging will hurt retailers.

Wednesday, the head of the Atlantic Convenience Stores Association said non-branded packaging in Australia costs stores an hour a day, with clerks making slower cigarette sales.

But Rob Cunningham, a senior policy analyst with the Canadian Cancer Society in Ottawa, argues plain packaging actually makes it easier for retailers to get packs because stores put them in alphabetical order.

'Successful in Australia'

"It is wrong to say this is going to be bad for retailers," he said. "We've had a very successful experience in Australia, now in place for five years."

Canada is now considering similar plain package legislation.

Cunningham said plain packaging will not eliminate all smoking, but it will eliminate the marketing that can entice young people to take up smoking.

He gave the example of "super slims" packs that are attractive to girls and young women.

'Need to protect kids'

"It's a mini billboard that promotes smoking," he said. "We need to protect kids from attractive packages."

Cunningham also disagrees with the Atlantic Convenience Stores Association that non-branded packages will make the risk of contraband cigarettes greater. He said plain packaging did not increase contraband sales in Australia.

"The tax stamps are going to continue to be on packages to distinguish what's legal and illegal," he said.

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