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Tobacco-free generation legislation

The Tasmanian Public Health Amendment (Tobacco-free Generation) Bill 2014 is vital to improve health in Tasmania

Australia has led many initiatives against tobacco smoking, most recently cigarette plain packaging. Smoking costs this country some 20 000 lives annually, far more than alcohol, illicit drugs and road accidents combined, and indeed almost twice the deaths globally from natural disasters. The need for novel preventive supply-side tobacco legislation is paramount, and such a breakthrough now beckons.

In Golden holocaust, Robert Proctor highlights the insidious psychology used by the tobacco industry of telling adolescents that “kids don’t smoke”, so that they will do exactly that, just to appear adult.1 The tobacco-free generation (TFG) initiative seeks to undermine the rite-of-passage effect by progressively raising the minimum age at which retailers can legally sell people cigarettes.2 Tasmania is the first jurisdiction in the world to craft such mould-breaking legislation, although recent more limited moves in the United States raising the legal age to 21 years have proved highly successful.3

Tasmania’s smoking rates are considerably higher than the national figures, reflecting the state’s low socioeconomic status and historic lack of investment in evidence-based tobacco control…