It's hoped the creation of an Australian National Preventive Health Agency will be approved by parliament in the coming weeks. The agency is the brainchild of the National Preventative Health Taskforce, which last year came up with a series of recommendations for the Federal government to achieve better health outcomes for Australians.
The agency will be independent of government and coordinate, monitor and evaluate national policies and programs in preventative health. Most importantly however, it's recognising prevention as one of the key platforms of health policy in Australia as we go forward. Considering a whopping 32% of Australia's total burden of disease is attributable to avoidable risk factors such as tobacco, obesity, alcohol and lack of physical activity, the agency is of vital importance.
Of special significance to Quit is smoking - still the leading cause of preventable death in Australia. Although smoking rates are at their lowest levels ever (17.9%), sadly 15 thousand people die every year because of smoking. The Australian National Preventive Health Agency will help spread Quit's message even further by better co-ordinating national smoking cessation strategies, and hopefully as a result, help implement strategies to further lower smoking rates and save more lives.