MyChoice Australia has questioned the Tasmanian government’s proposal to raise the minimum legal smoking age to 21 or 25 years old.
The submission, made in partnership with the Australia Taxpayers’ Alliance, expresses concerns that the only concrete policy change described in the draft is raising the smoking age.
The governments’ claim that the proposal will address “a number of lifestyle risk factors for chronic disease, including, but not limited to, smoking, obesity, physical inactivity, risky alcohol consumption and mental health” is undermined by its obvious focus on the smoking age, in the wake of a failed attempt to legislate the prohibition of tobacco for any persons born after the year 2000.
MLC Dean publicly flagged raising the minimum smoking age as an alternative to his prohibition proposal back in 2012.
The Tasmanian government called for submissions on its Healthy Tasmania Five Year Plan, closing last week.
Tasmania has the second highest smoking rate in the nation, following the Northern Territory. The two also have unusually high rates of illiteracy, innumeracy, long term unemployment, underemployment, and low year 12 retention rates.
MyChoice Australia and the Australian Taxpayers’ Alliance submitted that addressing the underlying causes of Tasmania’s low performance on key health indicators – that is, education, school retention, employment, and pathways off welfare – will provide the ‘best buys’ approach to preventative health that the state government is looking for.