By Jodie Kagi
Anyone under the age of 18 would be banned from selling tobacco products under a plan put forward by the WA Government in a bid to cut the exposure of cigarettes to children.
But the announcement has been dismissed as a stunt by the Opposition, because the proposal will not progress until next year’s election at the earliest as Parliament has nearly concluded.
Health Minister John Day said WA would become the first state to prevent underage employees from selling tobacco products.
“As well as aiming to reduce the uptake of smoking by young people, this will address a known issue that younger sales staff are more likely to sell tobacco products to underage customers,” Mr Day said.
He also pledged to prevent tobacco sales from being included in shopping rewards schemes and prohibit tobacco sales at music festivals and other public events.
Graphic health warnings would also be required to be displayed alongside price signage for tobacco products, “specialist tobacco retailers” would be prohibited from displaying tobacco products and the sale “split packs” of cigarettes would be banned.
“The bill will contribute to better health for Western Australians, especially our children, and will be a priority piece of legislation for the Government if we are successful at the election,” Mr Day said.
Move ‘a joke’: Labor
But Labor dismissed the Government’s proposed changes, saying they took tobacco reforms to the last election and had done nothing to progress those in this term of government.
“In the last election the Government had a five-point plan to continue to rule against tobacco and they didn’t stick to one of those promises,” Labor’s health spokesman Roger Cook said.
“So them coming forward now and saying they have another idea to reduce tobacco consumption is really a joke and it should not be taken seriously.”