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Political parties should commit to phasing out the sale of cigarettes in Australia by 2030

MEDIA RELEASE

The Australian Council on Smoking and Health today called for political parties contesting the next state election to support phasing out the sale of cigarettes by 2030.

“The sale of cigarettes in Australia is facilitated by a historical exemption under the Poisons Act for tobacco products designed for smoking,” said Maurice Swanson, Chief Executive, Australian Council on Smoking and Health.

“However, Australia, like many other countries, has consumer product safety laws to ensure that products are safe for intended or reasonably foreseeable use.

“Consumer products found to be hazardous are regularly removed from the market, such as toys that present a choking hazard, defective mobile phones, airbags in cars, and batches of contaminated foods.

“The tobacco industry in WA and Australia as elsewhere is unrelenting in its constant efforts to recruit new smokers, keep existing smokers addicted, and market new nicotine delivery devices.”

“Why should the tobacco industry be given a free pass to continue selling the world’s most lethal consumer product forever?” asked Mr Swanson.

Smoking is still the leading cause of preventable death in Australia, causing over 20,000 deaths each year including 1,500 in WA.

The Australian Council on Smoking and Health recently commissioned a survey of 1,000 West Australian adults to assess their attitudes to phasing out the sale of cigarettes and found encouraging levels of support.

60% of those surveyed thought it would be a good thing if there came a time when it would no longer be legal to sell cigarettes in Australia, while only 14% thought it would be a bad thing.

67% of survey respondents also thought that the next 10 years would be a fair timeframe to reach this target.

“Clearly, these survey results show that there is community support for a continued focus on evidence-based strategies to achieve a tobacco-free WA by 2030.

“It is therefore critical that tobacco control remains a priority for the next state Government. Reinstating WA’s leadership in tobacco control is vital.”

ACOSH today released its 10-Point Plan for a Tobacco-Free WA by 2030 that has the overall goal of phasing out the sale of cigarettes by 2030. Political parties contesting the state election will be asked to support each of these strategies to further reduce the impact of smoking on the community.

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Further information:
ACOSH is an independent, non-government, not for profit coalition established in 1971, and represents a further 35 prominent health and community organisations with a shared concern about smoking and its harmful consequences.

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