Melbourne, July 16 : A move by Australia's national airliner Qantas to resume in-flight cigarette sales, has been criticised by the anti-tobacco lobby as a "greedy cash grab'' at the expense of good health.
Qantas reintroduced tobacco sales on board this month, almost a decade after they were stopped, reports news.com.au.
Legislation prohibits the packs from being advertised in the shopping catalogue, but it is legal to stack them on the duty-free trolley and wheel them through the cabin.
Qantas has defended the move as a response to customer demand, but lobby groups argue it is an unacceptable return to the "bad old days''.
"At a time when Australian governments are moving to put tobacco displays out of sight to protect young people in particular, Qantas has gone backwards,'' said Anne Jones, chief executive of Action on Smoking and Health.
"Retail tobacco display is a powerful form of advertising, especially in association with a highly respected brand name like Qantas, and research shows it normalises and encourages young people to smoke,'' she added.
Another group, Quit, joined the criticism, with executive director Fiona Sharkie labelling it a greedy cash grab''.
"Perhaps the flying kangaroo should be renamed the cancer kangaroo, such is their insistence on the in-flight sale and display of a product that will ultimately kill more than half of long-term users,'' she said.
Qantas Group General Manager (Customer Product and Services) Lesley Grant defended the move, saying the move was motivated by passenger demand.