Victoria has been awarded top honours in the annual Tobacco Scoreboard award, which ranks the performance of State and Territory Governments for their efforts to tackle smoking.
The award, which is presented by the Australian Medical Association and Australian Council on Smoking and Health, was announced this morning at the AMA national conference.
Victoria's initiatives in introducing comprehensive smoking bans in enclosed public places including shopping centres, restaurants and cafes, restrictions on tobacco promotion and strong enforcement of laws particularly in the area of the sale of cigarettes to children have pushed Victoria well beyond other state and territory governments.
This year the award ranked each State and Territory government’s performance on a range of criteria including:
- tobacco-related legislation;
- initiatives to prevent young people from starting smoking;
- initiatives to help adults smokers quit;
- enforcement of tobacco laws;
- restrictions on tobacco promotion;
- smokefree workplaces; and
- initiatives to address smoking in indigenous communities.
Quit Executive Director Todd Harper says after many years Victoria has resumed its place as a national leader in tobacco control, a position it has not held since the late 1980’s.
'In the last few years, Victoria has progressively improved its position relative to other states and territory governments, going from fourth place and an encouragement award in 2000, to second place last year.'
'This year Victoria was a clear winner, which is a great acknowledgment of the significant progress achieved in the last few years.'
Mr Harper said Victoria was awarded the top honour this year in recognition of its courageous leadership in tobacco control issues.
'Great credit is owed to the Government and in particular, Health Minister John Thwaites who has initiated key legislation and funding programs that were responsible for Victoria achieving this award.'
'It’s also important to note the enactment of key tobacco marketing restrictions and smokefree workplace legislation was supported by all members of State Parliament.'
Mr Harper paid tribute to the collaboration between health groups in Victoria who have worked hard to encourage more to be done to tackle smoking.
'Many health organisations like the Cancer Council Victoria, National Heart Foundation, Australian Medical Association (Victoria), Asthma Victoria and VicHealth have worked hard to support tobacco control initiatives in this state.'
Mr Harper cautioned that Victoria must not rest on its laurels.
'We need to remember that smoking still kills 13 Victorians every day. This toll is still unacceptably high, so more needs to be done.
'It’s important that the work continues to ensure that all workplaces are smokefree; and funding is provided for Quit campaigns to help smokers to quit.'
Victoria scored highly for its work in law enforcement and restricting tobacco promotion, and for the Government’s efforts to help smokers quit. However, Victoria rated only 3 points out of 10 for its efforts to address smoking in the indigenous community.
The 'Dirty Ashtray’ award – presented to the worst performing Government – went to the Northern Territory.
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