AMA President, Dr Mukesh Haikerwal, said today the AMA is seeking a total ban on the sale of duty-free cigarettes in Australia.
"The lower price of duty-free tobacco encourages travellers to buy cigarettes in larger quantities than usual, and once purchased, the tendency is to smoke them more rapidly," Dr Haikerwal said.
"Raising the price of cigarettes through the imposition of tax is an important deterrent to would-be smokers - the AMA sees no reason why the purchase of some cigarettes should be exempt from taxation.
"To air graphic anti-smoking advertisements and display on-packet warnings on the one hand and allow the tax-free purchase of cigarettes on the other is a glaring anomaly in the Government's approach to this health scourge.
"Cigarettes are killers. Why should they be discounted for people who leave or enter the country?"
In May 2003, health and medical organisations and governments internationally welcomed the World Health Organisation's first-ever global public health treaty, the Framework Convention on Tobacco Control.
The treaty sets out important measures for tobacco control, including the prohibition of duty-free tobacco sales to international travellers.
"It's been almost four years since the Framework Convention on Tobacco Control was adopted by the World Health Assembly, and yet the Australian Government continues to allow the sale of duty-free cigarettes, to travelling citizens and visitors alike," Dr Haikerwal said.
"The health argument against smoking speaks for itself.
"Action to ban duty-free tobacco sales is long overdue."