Quit Victoria and the VicHealth Centre for Tobacco Control have welcomed the Federal Opposition's commitment to treat preventative health care as a "first order economic challenge."
The preventative healthcare strategy, aimed at reducing the impact of chronic disease in Australia, was announced today by Opposition Leader Kevin Rudd and Shadow Health Minister Nicola Roxon.
Acting Director of Quit, Ms Suzie Stillman, said the strategy ‘s emphasis on prevention to tackle the burden of disease and future healthcare challenges in Australia should be applauded.
"It is smart economics to revitalise the health system with a focus on prevention - this approach will not only translate to significant improvement in health outcomes for Australians but also a substantial reduction in health care costs."
Ms Stillman cited tobacco control as an example of a blue-chip investment in preventative healthcare.
"Smoking is still the leading risk factor for disease burden in Australia, claiming more than 15,000 lives each year and costing the economy over $21 billion annually."
"However research illustrates that achievable healthcare costs and hospitalisations would take a welcome dive if a further modest drop in smoking rates were achieved."
Ms Stillman also welcomed the renewed commitment to addressing health inequalities, particularly looking at issues around Indigenous health.
"Indigenous Australians have much higher smoking rates than the mainstream population. Reducing Indigenous smoking prevalence would be a preventative health care success story that would impact positively on the burden of disease," said Ms Stillman.
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