Shop fined $380,000 for openly displaying cigarettes
THE owner of an airport duty free shop has been hit with a $387,500 penalty – more than half of which goes to the NSW Ministry of Health – after openly displaying 29 cartons of cigarettes in a sales area.
The punishment – which amounts to $13,362 per carton – came after the owner of the Mega B shop in Sydney International Airport pleaded guilty to seven charges under the NSW Tobacco act.
The seven charges related to the seven different kinds of tobacco product on display on 23 December 2009, NSW Supreme Court Justice Peter Hall said.
Justice Hall rejected claims from the store owner, Swiss-based Nuance Group, that it believed it was exempt from tobacco advertising laws since it was a duty free retailer.
He also rejected the company’s claims the display “lacked sophistication” and it was not advertising the product “other than stacking it in the sales area [with] the standard health warnings”.
The judge said anti-tobacco laws were meant to reduce smoking “based on the fact that the consumption of tobacco and smoking products has been recognised as adversely impacting on the health of the people in NSW and thereby placing a substantial burden on the state's health and financial resources”.
He accepted that the defendant had changed its practices and had expressed “remorse” but said he must deter other retailers from doing the same.
“The offences… were serious breaches,” Justice Hall said.
“The several offences involved conduct that seriously challenged one of the objects of [anti-tobacco law], namely the object of reducing the incidence of smoking and consumption of tobacco products.”
The company was fined $225,000 for its first offence plus $18,750 for each of the other six – half of which goes to the NSW Health Ministry – plus $50,000 in costs incurred by the prosecutor, the NSW chief health office