The ALP’s plan to increase the tobacco excise will help reduce the number of smokers in Australia, saving many from avoidable illness and death caused by cardiovascular disease and lung cancer, the Consumers Health Forum says.
It also says a similar approach is needed to obesity.
“Smoking has fallen dramatically in Australia in recent decades thanks largely to national preventive health measures like advertising bans, plain packaging and tax increases,” the CEO of CHF, Leanne Wells, says.
“But while many have quit, it should be remembered there are still more than two million Australians who smoke, to the detriment of their own health and to the cost of themselves and the health system.
“Tax increases are one of the last measures available to discourage smoking, short of banning tobacco altogether.
“We know that higher prices are an effective way of achieving this and that has been shown by many studies over the years, including by bodies such as the World Bank.”
The fact that it will generate further revenue for the Government is a worthwhile dividend, she says.
“We welcome comments by Shadow Minister Catherine King that revenue will be reinvested in preventive health.
“The Consumers Health Forum believes it’s time for a reinvigorated approach to health promotion and preventive health.
“Australia has shown how effective a vigorous campaign on tobacco can be. We now need to see a similar comprehensive approach to counter obesity.
“As the experts in the latest edition of the CHF journal Health Voices said, an effective approach demands a national effort to change the environment of poor choices that influence our diet and physical activity,” says Wells.