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Australia Sets Anti-Smoking Example

With plain cigarette packets, strict laws prohibiting smoking in public places and soaring prices, Australia is setting a bold example to other nations on how stub out the toxic habit.

Since the 70s, the Australians government has invested in anti-smoking policy which has seen a dramatic decrease in the rates of smoking.

The number of adults smoking in Australia decreased from 25% in 1991 to only 13.3% in 2013.

Five years ago, the Australian government introduced mandatory plain packaging for tobacco products. Tobacco-advertising was banned years ago but now, even branding is prohibited.

The boxes are dark brown and carry no logos; instead, graphic health warnings are plastered over the boxes. 75% of the front of the box is covered with warnings and 90% of the back.

Despite many smokers choosing not to look at the graphic images, research has revealed that those who avoid looking are more likely to quit in the future.

In May of this year, the same rules regarding packaging will apply to tobacco companies in the UK.

Smoking bans in Australia started in workplaces, bars and restaurants but have now extended to other areas.

In New South Wales, smoking is now prohibited within 10m of playgrounds, within 4m of the entrance to any public building, at train platforms, taxi ranks and bus stops.

In all states, smoking is banned in any vehicle where children are present, and in many states smoking is banned in prisons.

Despite calls for the same to happen in UK prisons, last year a court of appeal ruled that a compulsory ban on smoking in prisons could cause discipline problems, risking staff and prisoner safety.

The most dramatic policy undertaken by the Australian government is the increase in tobacco tax.

In 2010, tobacco taxes rose by a whopping 25% and now increase at 12.5% per year. By 2020, tobacco tax will reach 70% and cigarettes in Australia will cost £24 per packet.

In the UK, tobacco tax is at 16.5%, it is highly unlikely that this figure will reach anywhere near 70% by 2020.

Government research suggests that smoking is most often taken up by people from the lowest socio-economic backgrounds.

With the cost of cigarettes in Australia increasing at such a rapid rate, it’s hard to imagine how these individuals will manage to maintain the habit.

(Courtesy of Pexels)

 

Australia continues to pave the way on anti-smoking; it looks like the UK could take some tips, and encourage people to put out the cigarettes for once and for all.