GROTESQUE images of damaged vital organs and the gaunt faces of cancer sufferers will be the only pictures on cigarette packets stocked in south-west stores as of today.
Normal branding and packaging has been outlawed by the federal government in a bid to change the perception of cigarettes among young people.
Supporters of the new restrictions, including the cancer council, claim it will help reduce the number of cancer deaths across the nation. But small businesses have said the new restrictions will simply cause frustration and cost employees time.
Swintons IGA store manager Chris Gleeson said staff would now need to rifle through shelves of olive-coloured packages to find a tiny brand name written in small letters.
“It’s going to make it more difficult for staff to find the product — it’s really going to be time-consuming,” Mr Gleeson said.
Large graphic images of cancer-riddled body parts have slowly replaced brand designs in the lead-up to the law.
Mr Gleeson said tobacco companies had been forced to visit stores recently, such as Swintons to collect surplus stock bearing the illegal packaging.
“The customers don’t really care about the packaging — they say it won’t change their smoking habit,” store worker Joan Ward said.
Mr Gleeson, a non-smoker, said there had been no drop in cigarette sales since shutters were introduced last year to conceal cigarettes.
“If anything sales are up,” he said.
But with the law in place, Mr Gleeson said he hoped it would be effective in reducing cancer rates.
The Cancer Council argues the plain packaging will have less appeal to young people and highlight the graphic warnings.
It says 15,000 lives are lost in Australia each year to tobacco related deaths.