Commonwealth a winner, NT gets ‘dirty ashtray’ award


The AMA/ACOSH National Tobacco Scoreboard Award this year has gone to the Commonwealth Government, for making the most progress on combating smoking over the last 12 months.

Outgoing AMA president Professor Brian Owler announced the results during the AMA’s conference in Canberra over the weekend.

The scoreboard allocates points to each State and Territory in various categories, including legislation, to track how effective governments have been at combating smoking in the previous 12 months.

The Northern Territory won the AMA’s “Dirty Ashtray” award for putting in the least effort to reduce smoking.

“The Government should be commended for its continuing commitment to tobacco control and its plain packaging legislation, and world-leading fiscal policies,” Prof Owler said.

“The Government is providing an exemplar role to other countries with its strong and continuing bi-partisan commitment to tobacco control with support for plain packaging legislation, including legal defence against tobacco industry opposition in international disputes.

“The United Kingdom, France and Ireland have all agreed to introduce plain packaging laws.

“However, there is always room to improve. The Government only marginally beat other States for the top honour, and only received an overall B grade for their efforts.

“The Commonwealth Government has not run a national media campaign to combat smoking since 2012 and support for Indigenous programs needs to improve.”

Prof Owler said that he hoped the results of the National Tobacco Control Scoreboard would encourage governments to do more to combat tobacco use.

Meanwhile, the Northern Territory and Victoria both earned an E grading on the scoreboard.

“It seems that reducing smoking and its harms is not a priority for the Northern Territory Government,” Prof Owler said.

“Northern Territory lags behind all other jurisdictions in its failure to protect non-smokers. Visitors to Northern Territory notice only too well that smoking is still permitted in many locations, including pubs, clubs and dining areas.

“But, more importantly, the Northern Territory Government has dropped the butt when it comes to education programs, especially those with a special focus on Indigenous smoking and other high risk communities and groups.”

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