A survey conducted for the AMA and the Australian Council on Smoking and Health (ACOSH) indicates that the vast majority of Australians support measures such as anti-smoking ads at the movies and higher tobacco taxes to fund public education campaigns to encourage more people to stop smoking.
The survey of 400 people in Perth was conducted by the University of Western Australia's Survey Research Centre during August 2007.
AdvertisementThe AMA and ACOSH are urging the Government and the Opposition to embrace the survey findings in their health policies for the election.
Major survey results include:
• 93 per cent of respondents support spending two per cent of tobacco taxes on public education about smoking,
• 80 per cent of respondents support increasing tobacco taxes if the money is spent on education and health care,
• 94 per cent of respondents support full information about cigarette ingredients being made available to the public,
• 75 per cent of respondents support anti-smoking advertisements to be screened before movies that promote smoking, and
• 78 per cent of respondents support an end to tobacco company donations to political parties.
AMA President, Dr Rosanna Capolingua, said the survey shows that Australians want broad community anti-smoking campaigns re-energised.
"People want their friends and relatives to give up the killer smoking habit and they want all our governments to provide the leadership and the funding," Dr Capolingua said.
"We can and we must stop the thousands of needless deaths and the vast amount of suffering and discomfort that tobacco causes. "Just two per cent of the Government's revenue from tobacco tax - $140 million - would make a dramatic impact on reducing smoking among adults and young people.
"There is no safe level of smoking. Cigarettes have cost the lives of almost one million Australians since the dangers of smoking were first recognised."
ACOSH President, Professor Mike Daube, said that while Australia has made significant progress in reducing smoking, there is still a long way to go.
"Tobacco use costs Australia more than $20 billion a year, but governments are still in denial about the magnitude of the problem and the extent of action needed," Professor Daube said. "We know that tax, public education and ending tobacco promotion are the most effective means of reducing smoking in adults and children, along with banning smoking in public places. "It is also totally unacceptable that any political parties should accept funding from the world's most lethal drug-pushers."
The AMA and ACOSH are writing to all major parties seeking a commitment to a range of tobacco control initiatives, including:
• a minimum of two per cent of tobacco tax revenue to be allocated to smoking prevention campaigns,
• a 10 per cent increase in tobacco tax,
• an end to all forms of tobacco promotion and tobacco industry donations to political parties,
• mandatory reporting of complete information on tobacco product ingredients, and
• effective action to minimise children's and young people's exposure to films that promote or glamorise smoking.