GOVERNMENT TO BUTT OUT FRUIT FLAVOURED CIGARETTES

Posted on 31. May, 2010 in News

The Brumby Labor Government will ban the sale of lolly and fruit flavoured cigarettes in a new bid to further reduce smoking rates among Victorian teenagers.

Announcing the ban today on World No Tobacco Day, Health Minister Daniel Andrews also launched new data showing smoking rates among Victorian teenagers had halved since 2002.

“The Brumby Government has a long history of successful tobacco reforms, which are reducing the impact of tobacco-related harm particularly among children,” Mr Andrews said.

“Even though smoking rates among teenagers are falling, we are continuing to take action by banning the sale of fruit flavoured cigarettes in Victoria.”

Mr Andrews said research has found that fruit and confectionary flavoured cigarettes were particularly appealing to young females.

“Research by Cancer Council Victoria shows that 40 per cent of 16-17 year olds females agree that lolly or fruit flavoured cigarettes made them curious to try them, and one third of males indicated the products would tempt them to try cigarettes,” he said.

“This new ban will come into force to ensure teenagers do not start smoking through the lure of fruit and lolly flavoured cigarettes.”

Mr Andrews said the 2008 Australian Secondary Student’s Alcohol and Drug Survey showed smoking rates among students are at their lowest level in more than 20 years.

“Six per cent of 12-15 year olds and 14 per cent of 16-17 year olds are current smokers – half the number of teens who were smoking in 2002,” he said.

“This means that there are around 9000 fewer young Victorians smoking regularly compared to 2005.

“This survey reveals that young people are more aware of the dangers of smoking, showing that the tobacco control initiatives of the Brumby Government and our partners have had a significant impact on smoking behaviours.”

Other findings include:

  • A significant reduction in the number of students trying cigarettes, with 71 per cent of students having never smoked compared to 62 per cent in 2005;
  • Dramatic increases in students’ knowledge of health effects from smoking, with 80 per cent of students aware that smoking caused disease in fingers and toes in 2008 compared to just 37 per cent in 2005; and,
  • Significant reductions in the number of students who believe smokers are more popular than non-smokers. 14 per cent of students thought this in 2008 compared to 28 per cent in 1996.

Mr Andrews said the ban on fruit-flavoured cigarettes built on the Brumby Labor Government’s long-standing commitment to reduce tobacco-related harm through legislative reforms.

“The Victorian Tobacco Control Strategy 2008-2013 has set an ambitious target to reduce the number of Victorian adults who smoke to 13.8 per cent by 2013,” he said.

“The Strategy includes a number of actions and legislative reforms designed to reduce childhood exposure to tobacco smoke, including a ban on smoking in cars when a person under 18 is present and a ban on smoking on government school grounds.

“In order to prevent the uptake of smoking by young Victorians we have also banned the sale of tobacco at temporary events and increased the fines for selling tobacco to children. 

“The ban on the display of tobacco products in retail outlets commencing on 1 January next year will further protect them from exposure to tobacco marketing and promotion.

“We believe that these initiatives will further help to reduce the number of young Victorians who adopt the habit and make it easier to quit.”

Mr Andrews said the 2010 State Budget provided an extra $3.5 million to Quit Victoria to support the Quitline service.

“This funding will enhance the current service through the employment, training and professional development of Indigenous Quitline Counsellors, support further Quitline data systems improvements and upgrade the telephone system, including voice-recording technologies,” he said.

The Quitline telephone number is 13 78 48. The website address is http://www.quit.org.au/

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