Shift Needed in Government Strategy to Battle Smoking in Australia

Shift Needed in Government Strategy to Battle Smoking in Australia

There are reported 19, 000 deaths every year in Australia resulting from smoking tobacco. The federal government’s disposition in handling this issue, which has remained static, has angered a few in the country.

The Morrison Governance announced recently that it will spend $20 million to cut smoking rates to under 10 per cent by 2025. With no strategic changes in the policies and plans to address this huge concern, that has been unchangingly carry forwarded from 2013, some critics say, the static 14% smoking rate since last six years needs a more serious intervention from the government.

Conjoint associate professor Colin Mendelsohn, from UNSW’s School of Public Health and Community Medicine said, “The flatline of smoking will probably continue unless we actually introduce more new and effective measures.” This is seconded by Australian Drug Law Reform Foundation president Alex Wodak.

Both Dr. Wodak and Associate Professor Mendelsohn are on the board of the Australian Tobacco Harm Reduction Association, favoring vaping and e-cigarettes as alternatives to traditional tobacco products. They explain the dire need for efforts and new strategies to change the current distressing scenario.

“Even if we encourage people to want to quit, we still have to help them to quit, because for many people quitting on their own is very hard. Vaping is now the most popular and effective quitting method in the world, yet in Australia it’s banned,” Associate Professor Mendelsohn said.

With more advertisements and a streamlined national campaign, improvements can be achieved. There have been no national mass media campaigns targeting smoking since 2012, which can be changed if the government funds advertisements. However, the announcement was backed by certain important sections. There is also some debate on the effectiveness of replacing tobacco smoking with vaping, as the study still stands in a controversial light. The government is looking at strategies to implement more potent method in achieving the target stated.