Australians have until 14 July to provide feedback on the Australian Government’s plans for sweeping tobacco control reforms.
The Public Health (Tobacco and Other Products) legislation consolidates various tobacco-related laws, regulations, instruments and court decisions. It modernises and simplifies existing provisions and introduces new measures to discourage smoking and tobacco use and prevent promotion of e-cigarettes.
The consultation paper says the Government aims to increase the strength and clarity of tobacco laws, while reducing regulatory burden. “Multiple pieces of legislation governing tobacco control creates ambiguity regarding compliance, and duplication of reporting and enforcement,” says the paper.
The National Tobacco Strategy 2023-2030, released on 2 May, aims to achieve a national daily smoking prevalence of less than 10 percent by 2025 and five percent or less by 2030 in Australia, and to reduce the daily smoking rate among First Nations people to 27 percent or less by 2030.
Speaking to media today, Health and Aged Care Minister Mark Butler said further consultation would be undertaken, probably around August or September, on plans for labelling on individual cigarettes, the updates for graphic images, and pack warnings.
“We’re currently in the field undertaking market research about those, so there will be a further period of consultation about those things. I intend to introduce this legislation into the Parliament later this year,” he said. The new regulations and requirements will come into effect on 1 July 2025, he said.
Vaping control reforms announced recently would be discussed by state and territory Health Minister colleagues next month, and will involve a raft of agencies, including Border Force, the Therapeutics Goods Administration and other departments.
The Minister’s release was timed for World No Tobacco Day.
Grow food, not tobacco
For World No Tobacco Day, the World Health Organization is campaigning for governments to stop subsidising tobacco farming and support more sustainable crops that could feed millions.
“Tobacco is responsible for eight million deaths a year, yet governments across the world spend millions supporting tobacco farms,” Dr Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus, WHO Director-General, said in a statement.
“By choosing to grow food instead of tobacco, we prioritise health, preserve ecosystems, and strengthen food security for all.”
More than 300 million people globally are faced with acute food insecurity. Meanwhile more than three million hectares of land across more than 120 countries are being used to grow tobacco, even in countries where people are starving.
A new WHO report, ‘Grow food, not tobacco’, highlights the ills of tobacco growing and the benefits of switching to more sustainable food crops for farmers, communities, economies, the environment, and the world at large.
Tobacco farming causes diseases to the farmers themselves and more than one million child laborers are estimated to be working on tobacco farms.
“Tobacco is not only a massive threat to food insecurity, but health overall, including the health of tobacco farmers,” said Dr Ruediger Krech, Director of Health Promotion at WHO.
“Farmers are exposed to chemical pesticides, tobacco smoke and as much nicotine as found in 50 cigarettes – leading to illnesses like chronic lung conditions and nicotine poisoning.”
Since 2005, there has been a nearly 20 percent increase in tobacco farming land across Africa, according to the WHO.
Every year World No Tobacco Day honours those making a difference in tobacco control. This year Ms Sprina Robi Chacha, a farmer from Kenya, is being recognised for switching from growing tobacco to high protein beans, and also training hundreds of other farmers on how to do this to create a healthier community.
Focus on vaping
From Victoria to the UK…
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