14 July 2023
New laws aimed at discouraging smoking and vaping are a vital step towards ensuring new generations of Australians do not fall prey to the tobacco industry.
The Australian Medical Association has lodged its submission to the Department of Health and Aged Care’s consultation on the Public Health (Tobacco and Other Products) Legislation 2023, offering broad support for the measures introduced in the bill.
AMA President Professor Steve Robson said the reforms are a good start to achieving Australia’s goal of a five per cent or less smoking prevalence in Australia by 2030, set out by the National Tobacco Strategy 2023-2030.
“The new legislation will bring together a range of existing laws and will simplify current tobacco laws by bringing multiple pieces of legislation into a single Bill,” Professor Robson said.
“For too long Australia has had too many loopholes and blind spots in which the predatory tobacco industry has been able to lure our younger generations into taking up recreational vaping.
“The ease of access, the bright colours and fruity flavours, and false assertions the products were free of nicotine have all contributed to an imminent public health disaster. Right under our noses we saw generations quitting cigarettes while young Australians were taking up vapes.”
While the AMA supports the restrictions on tobacco products it is concerned the tobacco industry is still able to attempt to exert influence on Australia’s tobacco laws.
“It is disappointing to see that while most politicians are doing the right thing and tightening these restrictions, big tobacco is still able to furnish political parties with donations, gifts, and electoral expenditures,” Professor Robson said.
“We want parties on all sides to get real and refuse to enter arrangements that clearly compromise government policy making on public health matters.
“The only reason the tobacco and e-cigarette industry is lobbying politicians is to try to create conditions that foster and support the growth of their businesses. Legal and political efforts by the tobacco industry have hampered tobacco control efforts. We need politicians to put the health of all Australians ahead of the dirty dollars received from big tobacco.”
The AMA supports the plans to place a ban on advertising of e-cigarettes, including targeted online advertising via algorithms and new reporting requirements for the tobacco industry; and is urging all governments to work together to quickly implement the retail ban on e-cigarettes.