March 2, 2010 - The Tasmanian Government is being urged to speed up moves to tighten anti-smoking laws. In August last year, the state government flagged tougher tobacco laws, including a ban on smoking in playgrounds and sporting venues.
Recent data from the Australian Bureau of Statistics shows that Tasmania has the highest proportion of current smokers of all states and territories. The proportion of people over the age of 18 who reported that they were current smokers in Tasmania was 25% which is well above the national average of 20.1% (ABS, 2009).Launceston is the latest city to go smoke-free in parts of its central business district (CBD).
Smoking rates in young women of child-bearing age are extraordinarily high in Tasmania, even during pregnancy. A total of 35.7% of all public patients who were pregnant in 2005 reported that they smoked (DHHS, 2009).
Nationally, the Preventative Health Taskforce has set out its plan to reduce the prevalence of daily smoking to 10% by 2020. Tasmania Together targets for the proportion of Tasmanians aged 18 and over who are current smokers in 2010 is 15%, 12% by 2015 and 10% by 2020
A time for action in Tasmania Heart Foundation budget submission 2010-2011 to
Alderman Ivan Dean says the Council was not willing to wait for the Tasmanian parliament. "It would be probably be two years before we'd see it before Parliament or at least put into action," he said.
The Cancer Council's Darren Carr wants the government to introduce legislation when parliament resumes next week. "In the past we've been leading tobacco control, but now we've been overtaken by several other states."
In a statement, the Health Minister, Michelle O'Byrne, says she is committed to reducing the number of Tasmanians that smoke.
Reference: Push for anti-smoking laws, ABC, au.news.yahoo.com, 3/2/2011.
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