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Health groups push for smoke-free Australia, with plans for Victoria to quit by 2025

Grant McArthur, July 18, 2018 7:00PM Herald Sun

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There is a push from doctors, universities and educators to make Australia smoke-free by 2025. Picture: istock media_cameraThere is a push from doctors, universities and educators to make Australia smoke-free by 2025. Picture: istock

health

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Australia could soon be smoke free under plans by doctors, universities and public-health educators.

Victoria’s biggest health-related organisations have set a smoke-free deadline of 2025. This mirrors* a recent call for a 2025 deadline by Western Australian health groups.

Twenty-five major Victorian health groups will tomorrow launch their plan to work together to push for stricter anti-smoking laws and more education programs.

The groups are led by government health promoter VicHealth and include doctors’ group AMA and cancer research and support group Cancer Council. The organisations’ plan is that by 2025, less than five per cent of Victorians smoke daily.

They aim to achieve this goal by TV education campaigns* for young people, completely ending advertising and promotion of tobacco, including quit-smoking help in everyday healthcare and further tightening smoking-related laws.

Smoking is not allowed at Possum Hollow playground in Sydney. NSW banned smoking at playgrounds in 2000. media_cameraSmoking is not allowed at Possum Hollow playground in Sydney. NSW banned smoking at playgrounds in 2000.

In the past, many big changes to smoking laws and behaviours have been introduced by one state or territory, with other parts of Australia quickly following the lead. Examples are changes to laws about smoking at schools, on aeroplanes, in offices, in cars with children and advertising cigarettes on TV, radio and billboards.

Quit Victoria Director Dr Sarah White believes smoking could be almost stamped out* over the next eight years.

“We think it is actually possible to get down to five per cent daily smoking by 2025 — that would virtually* eliminate* daily smoking,” Dr White said.

Dr White said that laws on where cigarettes are sold and where smoking is allowed could be tightened further.

Health organisations involved in the plan would like to see more restrictions on where people can smoke. Picture: supplied media_cameraHealth organisations involved in the plan would like to see more restrictions on where people can smoke. Picture: supplied

“You can basically buy tobacco in more places than you can buy milk and bread,” she said.

She said smoking in high-rise buildings where apartments share ventilation* systems also needed to be examined, as did building sites.

New Zealand has set a target of 2025 to have less than five per cent of the population smoking and to have introduced extreme* anti-smoking laws.

The famous anti-smoking “sponge” ad from 1985 was remade in 2007

TIMELINE TO BEING SMOKE FREE

1602: An English report stated that illnesses often seen in chimney sweepers were caused by soot and that tobacco may have similar effects.

1795: Sammuel Thomas von Soemmering of Germany reported that he was becoming more aware of cancers of the lip in pipe smokers.

1920s: The first medical reports linking smoking to lung cancer began to appear. These findings weren’t widely reported because tobacco companies paid a lot of money to advertise in newspapers.

End of World War II: More than one-quarter of Australian women and almost three quarters of men were smokers.

1970s: The numbers of Australians smoking peaked.

1973: The first health warnings appeared on cigarette packets in Australia.

1976: Cigarette advertising was banned on radio and television in Australia.

1985: Famous anti-smoking “sponge” ads showing chemicals that smokers’ lungs soak up appeared on Australian TV.

1987: Smoking is banned on Australian domestic flights.

Smoking was banned on flights within Australia in 1987. Picture: iStock media_cameraSmoking was banned on flights within Australia in 1987. Picture: iStock

1994: Australian Capital Territory banned smoking in restaurants. By 2003 every state and territory had followed the ACT.

1999: Smoking is banned at the MCG sporting ground.

2012: Plain cigarette packaging was introduced in Australia. Many other countries are following Australia’s lead.

2016: 11.2 per cent of women and 14.6 per cent of men in Australia smoke.

Sources: Australian Bureau of Statistics and cancercouncil.com.au

GLOSSARY

mirrors: the same as

campaigns: programs to get something done

stamped out: removed or wiped out

virtually: almost completely

eliminate: get rid of

ventilation: way air gets in and out, such as airconditioning

LISTEN TO TODAY’S STORY

QUICK QUIZ

1. What deadline have Victorian health groups set for a smoke-free state?

2. List three groups involved in the plan.

3. What do they plan to do to achieve their goal?

4. What has happened in the past when one state or territory has led the way on anti-smoking laws?

5. When was the famous “sponge” anti-smoking ad first on TV and when was it remade?

CLASSROOM ACTIVITIES

1. Create a list of laws and government actions that you think would help to make Australia smoke free.

Your laws and actions should cover:

1. Stopping people from taking up smoking;
2. Helping smokers to quit;
3. Making it harder to buy cigarettes;
4. Making it harder to find places to smoke.

Time: Allow 25 minutes

Curriculum Links: Health and Physical Education

2. Extension: Do you think that the government has the right to stop people from smoking? Outline the reasons for your opinion on this and use examples to back up your ideas.

Time: Allow 20 minutes

Curriculum Links: Civics and Citizenship

VCOP ACTIVITY

After reading the article, with a partner, highlight as many pieces of punctuation as you can find in green. Discuss how these are being used, where and how often. What level of the punctuation pyramid is the journalist using in this article?

QUESTION: What are your ideas for making Australia smoke free?
Explain your answer using full sentences.

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