The Cancer Council Victoria and Quit have welcomed new state tobacco reforms saying they represent a huge opportunity to get smoking rates down, and curb the toll of tobacco in our community.
From Wednesday, Victorians can look forward to a ban on smoking in most enclosed workplaces, the covered areas of train stations platforms, tram shelters and bus shelters, and a ban on smoking and the promotion and sale of tobacco products at all underage music and dance events.
In addition to this Victoria will have some of the best laws controlling the marketing of tobacco with a ban on buzz marketing and non-branded tobacco advertising also being implemented.
Director of the Cancer Council of Victoria, Professor David Hill said Victorians were well and truly ready to become smokefree.
"In the last few years we have seen an huge increase in public support for tobacco control initiatives and smokefree environments, and people across the State will be pleased with these further efforts to protect them from harms caused by tobacco," said Professor Hill.
"The reform package continues efforts by the State Government in the last few years to reduce harm caused by tobacco and it is great to see such a promising investment in the quality of life of future generations."
"We only need look at the experience in places such as New York or Ireland to see that by making more public areas smokefree you can have a significant and positive impact on smoking rates, and as a result, the health of the whole community.
Executive Director of Quit, Mr Todd Harper, said the tobacco reforms, combined with the introduction of graphic health warning on cigarettes packets, opened a once-in-a-generation window of opportunity to get smoking rates down in Victoria.
"Between now and July 2007 workplaces, public transport waiting areas and licensed venues are all becoming smokefree."
"There is no reason that these initiatives cannot result in Victorian smoking rates falling to 15% or below in the years ahead, providing they are supported by long-term media campaigns that both highlight the dangers of smoking and provide smokers with encouragement to call the Quitline."
Mr Harper said the State Government understood that tobacco control is still a priority public health issue, and this was reflected in statements made around the recent Council of Australian Government's (COAG) meeting.
"In a statement just prior to the COAG meeting where State and Commonwealth leaders agreed to spend $500million to prevent lifestyle diseases, Premier Bracks cited studies that show a $50 million investment in Quit anti-smoking programs in Victoria would save $400 million in health costs over 10 years."
"The State Government has made a lot of progress in recent years in relation to tobacco control, and statements like this mean we be confident this commitment to easing the enormous burden of tobacco in our community will continue in the years ahead," said Mr Harper.
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