Preventive health, deterring smoking key issues: Bill Shorten

Bill Shorten speaks at the Guild dinner

Opposition leader Bill Shorten used last night’s address to the Guild Annual Dinner at Parliament House to highlight Labor’s plan to increase the tobacco excise.

Yesterday Mr Shorten, Shadow Treasurer Chris Bowen and Shadow Minister for Health Catherine King said that a future Labor government would continue the annual 12.5% increases in tobacco excise for another four years, taking the tax component of the price of a pack of cigarettes to 75%. This would be consistent with WHO recommendations.

“The policy we announced today is particularly designed to prevent young people from taking up smoking,” the Opposition Leader told the Guild dinner.

“We’re aiming to deter the next-generation of smokers from even starting.

“Both of my parents smoked. There was always a thin film of ash on everything and ashtrays in every room.

“Both my parents did not live as long as they should have, for a variety of reasons but I will always believe that smoking contributed.

“And if you ask any parent who smokes, whether they want their children to take up smoking – they’ll tell you no.”

Mr Shorten said the fight against smoking was an important part of preventive health, an issue pharmacists know the importance of.

He praised pharmacists for their community involvement and trusted advice, and commended the Pharmacy Guild for its “intention to step up and be more involved in a health system that is more co-ordinated and co-operative” as well as its proposed real-time monitoring system for OTC codeine sales.

“Your voices will be particularly important in helping us found the common ground, the sensible course forward for our health system as we grapple with the defining health challenges of the next ten and fifteen years.”

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