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Worshipping at the Alpine altar: promoting tobacco in a world without advertising
  1. Department of Public Health and Community Medicine
  2. The University of Sydney
  3. New South Wales 2006
  4. Australia

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    “Glisten. The party to go with your glamourpuss dress.” “Glisten. Music to go with your rockstar hair.” “Glisten. Cocktails to go with your spanking ring.” (“Minimum age 18. Photo ID required. Tobacco & alcohol products for sale.”1) Three highly stylised advertisements, one for each byline, and each featuring a young woman on the dancefloor flaunting dress, hair and ring respectively, had been splashed in expensive full colour across the street music press and on the Wavesnet website ( for weeks (fig 1). On the night of Thursday 6 September at least some glamourpusses believed the hype at the high profile nightclub Home, located in Sydney's CBD waterfront entertainment district. A report on the sparkling event in a moment, but first, a bit of context.

    Figure 1

    Advertisement for “Glisten”, a party sponsored by Wavesnet.

    Australia passed its Tobacco Advertising Prohibition Act in 1992. Its stated objective was to “improve public health” by limiting messages and images that could persuade Australians to start or continue to use tobacco.2 It defines “advertisements” broadly, as “ . . .any writing, still or moving picture, sign, symbol or other visual image, or any audible message, or any combination of two or more of those things, that gives publicity to, or otherwise promotes or is intended to promote” among other things, purchase or use of tobacco, or tobacco trade marks and designs.2 The Act prohibits the publication of any such advertisements, with some defined exceptions (including point of sale, which is now being phased out in most states).2Publication is defined so broadly that, generally speaking, under the Act any activity that brought a tobacco design or brand to the attention of a section of the public, gave it publicity, promoted it or intended to promote it, could be considered a breach.

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