Health Minister Mark Butler ‘confident’ new bill helps smokers to quit as government takes fight to Big Tobacco companies

Health Minister Mark Butler ‘confident’ new bill helps smokers to quit as government takes fight to Big Tobacco companies
  • PublishedSeptember 13, 2023

Every cigarette will have a warning label on it to encourage smokers to quit under new laws being proposed by the government.

The tobacco legislation will be introduced to parliament on Wednesday as Labor steps up its fight against the rise of tobacco and nicotine addiction in Australia.

Among other changes under the legislation is tobacco packets with stronger graphic messaging, health promotion inserts and standardised packs and products.

Flavoured cigarettes, such as menthol, would also be abolished, and “appealing” words such as “smooth” and “fresh” implying reduced harm would be dumped.

Vapes would also be included in advertising restrictions amid the spike and concern of vaping rates, especially among children.

The government hopes the move will bring the national daily smoking rate to below 10 per cent by 2025 and 5 per cent or less by 2030.

Health Minister Mark Butler is “confident” the proposed changes will be effective, after assessing what other nations in the world had done to tackle smoking rates.

“We’ve taken an evidence-based approach to this. We looked at what leading countries around the world are doing and consulted widely,” he told Sunrise.

“I’m confident the reforms I’m introducing will have a real impact.”

Health Minister Mark Butler is "confident" the proposed changes will work after assessing what other nations in the world had done. Picture: NCA NewsWire / Martin Ollman

Health Minister Mark Butler is “confident” the proposed changes will work after assessing what other nations in the world had done. Picture: NCA NewsWire / Martin Ollman

Mr Butler flagged the legislation was important to save the lives of hundreds of Australians each year, with 50 families losing a loved one each day.

Twelve years ago, Australia became the first country in the world to implement plain packaging but the Health Minister stressed there has been a lack of action since then.

“We are determined to fix that because what has happened in that decade is the tobacco industry has adapted and innovated,” he said.

“They found new marketing strategies to make their deadly product seem appealing or even call to young people in particular and we are determined to stamp that out.”

Mr Butler was pressed on whether the proposed changes, such as labelling on every cigarette, would actually turn people away from smoking.

He noted Canada in August became the first nation to print warnings on each cigarette.

Some of the phrases include “cigarettes cause cancer”, “poison in every puff”, “tobacco smoke harms children” and “cigarettes cause leukaemia”. 

“There is some good evidence behind it,” the Health Minister said.

The government will also be closely looking at New Zealand, after it banned the sale of tobacco to anyone born on or after January 1, 2009.

The changes would begin in April next year if the legislation is passed.

SOURCE: SKYNEWS

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *