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Tobacco control in the spotlight at AMA national Conference

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AMA President Dr Michael Gannon announced the AMA/ACOSH National Tobacco Control Scoreboard 2017 at the AMA National Conference.

Queensland topped the AMA/ACOSH National Tobacco Control Scoreboard 2017 as the Government making the most progress on combating smoking over the past 12 months.

Queensland narrowly pipped New South Wales for the Achievement Award, with serial offender the Northern Territory winning the Dirty Ashtray Award for putting in the least effort.

Judges from the Australian Council on Smoking and Health (ACOSH) allocate points to each State and Territory in various categories, including legislation, to track how effective government has been at combating smoking in the previous 12 months.

Dr Gannon described the results however as disappointing because no jurisdiction scored an A this year, suggesting that complacency has set in.  He also said that it is disappointing that so little progress has been made in the Northern Territory over the past year.

“Research shows that smoking is likely to cause the death of two-thirds of current Australian smokers. This means that 1.8 million Australians now alive will die because they smoked,” Dr Gannon said.

“It is imperative that governments avoid complacency, keep up with tobacco industry tactics, and continue to implement strong, evidence-based tobacco control measures.”

The judges praised the Queensland Government for introducing smoke-free legislation in public areas, including public transport waiting areas, major sports and events facilities, and outdoor pedestrian malls, and for divesting from tobacco companies.

However, they called on all governments to run major media campaigns to tackle smoking, and to take further action to protect public health policy from tobacco industry interference.

The Northern Territory, a serial offender in failing to improve tobacco control, has been announced as the recipient of the AMA/ACOSH Dirty Ashtray Award for putting in the least effort to reduce smoking over the past 12 months.

It is the second year in a row that the Northern Territory Government has earned the dubious title, and its 11th “win” since the Award was first given in 1994. More than 22 per cent of Northern Territorians smoke daily, according to the latest National Drug Strategy Household Survey, well above the national average of 13.3 per cent.

“It seems that the Northern Territory Government still does not see reducing the death toll from smoking as a priority. Smoking is still permitted in pubs, clubs, dining areas, and – unbelievably – in schools,” Dr Gannon said.

The Northern Territory Government has not allocated funding for effective public education, and is still investing superannuation funds in tobacco companies.

A full list of the State and Territory results can be found on the AMA website: media/amaacosh-national-tobacco-control-scoreboard-2017-topped-qld

Meredith Horne

PICTURE: Dr Robert Parker, President AMA, NT collects the Dirty Ashtray Award from Dr Michael Gannon.

 

 

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