Out of Sight, Out of Mind

From 2017, tobacco products will no longer be displayed on shelves in stores.

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It’s the year 2017 and you’re queuing up to purchase a pack of cigarettes, you look behind the cashier and all you’re greeted with is a curtained wall. “Was there always a window there?” you ask yourself. But you choose to ignore it as it’s not an important question, you’re here to buy tobacco. So you proceed to ask the cashier for a pack of your daily smokes and she reaches behind the curtain and pulls it out for you. Magic.tobacco3

Yes that is the future, all tobacco products will be out of sight from customers in all shops across the island come 2017. It’s most likely a move that stemmed from the phrase, out of sight, out of mind. It probably is a good move from deterring youths who might want to pick up the habit. However to those that are already smokers it might come as a hindrance, especially if the shop doesn’t carry the brand you usually consume and you’re left with guesswork to purchase another product.

Exceptions will be made when store clerks are replenishing the stock, so that would be the best window of opportunity to steal a glimpse of the various brands the shop might carry.

A study found that 46 per cent of smokers aged 18 to 29 bought tobacco products on seeing point-of-sale displays of such products, while 50 per cent of smokers in the same age group were tempted to smoke on seeing point-of-sale displays of tobacco products, MOH said.

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Not all retailers are convinced that these new measures will help in deterring youths from picking up smoking or help smokers fight the urge.

“Should a young person spot these cigarette cabinets, they would still be able to ask for and buy them. It doesn’t matter how you cover it,” said Mr Leong Kuo Tong, owner of Leong Brothers Departmental Store.

“Some customers will still insist on buying cigarettes. Even if they are hidden, they will ask us (for them),” said Mr Rajamohamed Jawahar Hussain, co-owner of Fairprice General Store.

MOH said it would continue to work with retailers to fine-tune the specific details of the measures.

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