The Australian Healthcare & Hospitals Association (AHHA) today urged all political parties to support the passage of tobacco packaging legislation through Federal Parliament in order to reduce the burden of tobacco use on the Australian community.
The Australian Healthcare & Hospitals Association is the independent peak membership body and advocate for the Australian healthcare system and a national voice for universally accessible, high quality healthcare.
“The AHHA supports the Bills currently before Federal Parliament which would require cigarettes to be packaged in 'no-brand' generic packages with prominent health warnings,” Ms Prue Power, AHHA Executive Director said today.
"Tobacco is Australia's leading drug problem causing more deaths and disability than all other drugs – legal and illegal – combined. Tobacco use kills over 15 500 Australians every year and imposes a burden of $31 billion on the Australian economy.
"Tobacco use is linked with most of the leading causes of death in Australia, including heart attack, stroke and many types of cancer. Reducing the consumption of tobacco in our community is one of the most effective strategies to increase our health, well-being and life-expectancy. It would also significantly reduce demand on our hospital system.
"Australians should feel proud that we are world leaders in tobacco control. However, with most forms of tobacco advertising now banned, tobacco companies are focussing on using cigarette packs to attract consumers. By removing this opportunity for promotion, we can reduce the overall appeal of smoking and hopefully reduce the current rate of smoking in Australia.
"The removal of branding from tobacco packaging will also make the required health warnings more prominent and ensure that smokers are aware of the risks of their habit. It will also prevent companies from using cigarette packets in the future to mislead consumers about the relative risks and benefits of their products.
“By supporting these Bills, all political parties can send a strong message to the tobacco industry and the community that Australia will no longer tolerate any form of advertising or promotion of this dangerous and costly habit, Ms Power said
For further information/comment: Ms. Prue Power, Executive Director, AHHA Ph: 0417 419857.