– by Sophia Joyce
In a fight against tobacco related illnesses, the Tasmanian government is attempting to lead the way by raising the legal smoking age to 25, leaving them with the strictest tobacco laws in the world.
This push is part of a five-year preventative health plan combating high obesity and reducing smoking rates to make Tasmania Australia’s healthiest state by 2025.
Each year 60,000 Australians and millions throughout the world die from tobacco related illnesses, making this a national and international scandal.
Anti-smoking campaigners say that raising the legal age from 18 to 25 will significantly reduce the number of young people from taking up the habit.
Tasmanian Health Minister Michael Ferguson told ABC News the government wants to stop young people smoking.
“We are proposing that we lift the legal smoking age potentially above 18, to potentially 21 or potentially 25.
“[In Tasmania] 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 where we need to be.”
However some people are not happy saying restrictions would be a violation of civil liberties.
Chief executive of Civil Liberties Australia Bill Rowlings says “If you’re going to look at what age people are entitled to do things, you’ve got to look at driving and at drinking alcohol and other measures.
“If this is a health-based initiative, the big issue at the moment is domestic violence, and domestic violence is far more driven by alcohol-related problems then it is by tobacco”.
Parliament is also considering the previous proposition of a tobacco free generation by anyone born in 2000 or later.
These plans are due to undergo public consultation soon.
Featured Image by AFP; Smoking Girl Image by Carl Court/Getty Images; Smoking Man Image by Miles Eliason – MySpace.