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Tobacco reform: Saving money, saving lives

Thursday 4 May, 2000

Quit has enthusiastically welcomed the Government's reforms of Victoria's Tobacco Act.

Quit Executive Director Todd Harper says the proposed reforms - which include the introduction of smokefree dining, bans on point-of-sale advertising, and increasing the penalties for retailers who sell cigarettes to children - reflect the community's strong support for change.

'Tobacco use inflicts a terrible toll in Victoria - 13 Victorians die everyday as a result of smoking, and conservative estimates have calculated tobacco use costs Victoria $3.2 billion a year.'

'Smoking is the largest preventable cause of death and disease in Victoria. These legislative reforms will be enormously important in supporting the efforts that Quit and other health promotion organisations are making to help people quit.'

'13 years ago Victoria's Tobacco Act set the standard for other states and countries to follow in the area of tobacco control.'

'These amendments represent a refreshing change in attitude to the issue of tobacco control, and we congratulate Health Minister John Thwaites on moving quickly to put Victoria back on track in the area of tobacco control.'

'The Government's proposal to ban point of sale advertising in retail outlets and make health warnings mandatory will be an important component of efforts to reduce smoking rates in young people.'

'About 50 Victorian children take up smoking each day, and the current saturation of tobacco advertising in milk bars and shops means that kids are continually confronted with cigarettes and cigarette advertising.'

'Tobacco displays and advertisements alongside confectionery and magazines are all too common.'

'I'm sure parents will be very supportive of legislative moves that enhance the work in schools and at home to help kids understand the health effects of smoking and encourage them to make healthy choices.'

Mr Harper said the Government's moves to introduce smokefree dining in Victorian restaurants would also be welcomed, particularly by people with health conditions such as asthma and heart disease who are very sensitive to smoky environments.

'There is enormous public support for smokefree dining - research surveys have shown that 97% of Melbourne restaurant patrons support smoking restrictions in restaurants.'

'The introduction of smokefree dining will make eating out a more pleasant experience for everyone, and also protect the health of diners and hospitality workers.'

'No-one deserves to be forced to work in smoky workplaces, yet that is exactly what confronts most hospitality workers in Victoria.'

ends

Further information:

Zoe Furman
Media Communications Manager
Quit Victoria

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