The rates of smoking are increasing alarmingly among teenagers around the world. Though, children under 18 years are prohibited from lighting up in Australia, Tasmania government is planning to raise the legal age to buy, possess or smoke cigarettes to 25.
The government feels that it is necessary to protect the health of young Tasmanians as 18 to 24-year olds smoke at double the rate in Tasmania compared to other states in Australia.
‘Tasmania ranks second on Australia's rate of smoking where the Tasmania's smoking rate (19.3 percent) exceeds that of the national rate (13.3 percent).
The current legal age for buying, smoking or possessing cigarette is 18 in all states and territories and if this legislation is passed Tasmania will have the toughest anti-smoking laws in the world.
Tasmanian Government revealed the plan as part of a five-year preventative health plan to make Tasmania Australia's healthiest state by 2025. The strategy has a specific focus on reducing Tasmania's high obesity levels and smoking rates.
In Tasmania, as much as 13.4 percent of young adults between 18 and 24 years smoke compared to 3.4 percent of young adults from 12 to 17 years.
Health Minister Michael Ferguson said, "We are proposing that we lift the legal smoking age potentially above 18, to potentially 21 or potentially 25. We have unacceptably high rates of smoking, we know that every cigarette is doing you damage and, despite our best efforts through public health over a number of years, we're still nowhere near we're we need to be.
"We have over 20 percent of Tasmanians regular smokers, we have very high rates of youth smoking and one-third of young teenage mothers smoking during pregnancy. We've got to own up to this and be willing to have a genuine community debate," he added.