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AUSTRALIAN MEDICAL ASSOCIATION (WA)
WA Health Minister Roger Cook should pursue realistic and achievable targets on tobacco control with other Health Ministers at the COAG Health Council meeting tomorrow, rather than floating empty, unenforceable ideas, the AMA (WA) said today.
“Realistically, other States and territories are not going to be willing to lift the legal smoking age to 21, and there is no evidence that this will have any impact on teenage smoking rates,” AMA (WA) President Dr Omar Khorshid said today.
“The idea also raises questions about implementation and enforcement – does the minister mean to limit the sale of cigarettes to individuals under the age of 21, or stop people under 21 from smoking?
“The Health Minister should instead be pushing for nationally consistent smoking laws, as well as more federally funded mass media campaigns outlining the dangers of smoking, campaigns which have been missing for the past five years.
“WA should also implement legislation that would see tobacco sellers lose their licenses if they sell cigarettes to minors, which would have more impact than ideas based on no evidence.
“Mr Cook has the opportunity to take the lead on ensuring that smoking becomes a historical anomaly. Instead of leading, he seems to be taking a detour to examine sideline issues and promote the ideas of some well-meaning individuals,” he said.