Broadcast on 2CH Sydney, 13 Jan 2013.
Despite tobacco advertising bans, restrictions on the display and sale of tobacco products, graphic health warnings designed to convey the ugly truth about the negative effects of smoking, and most recently the introduction of plain packaging, many consumers continue smoking.
But it’s not only retail sales that warrant scrutiny. Superannuation funds, investment funds, and state governments have billions of dollars invested in the tobacco industry. In November, the NSW Government said it planned to dump more than $200 million in tobacco investments and place a ban on future investment. And First State Super claimed in July 2012 to have disposed of all its tobacco investments. But the Victorian Government says it has no plans to divest its $100 million stake in the industry, and the federal government’s Future Fund has more than $200 million invested in tobacco.
It is simply wrong for governments to support smoking reform while allowing their investments to be used to get poor people overseas addicted to tobacco.
I’m Rod Benson for the NSW Council of Churches.