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Health groups applaud Budget commitment to tobacco control.

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Media Release 11th May 2005


Health groups have welcomed the Commonwealth Government’s $25 million commitment to fund a new national campaign to reduce smoking rates in young people and their parents over the next four years.

The Chief Executive Officer of The Cancer Council Australia, Professor Alan Coates, welcomed the funding, saying it would provide a very significant contribution to reducing the toll of cancer in Australia.

“Smoking remains the largest single cause of cancer in Australia, responsible for at least 14 types of the disease, including some of the most lethal, debilitating and hardest-to-treat forms,” Professor Coates said.

“Evidence clearly shows that a strategic national approach to encouraging and assisting people to quit smoking will save thousands of Australian lives, through the prevention of cancer and a number of other chronic diseases.

The Chief Executive Officer - National Heart Foundation of Australia, Dr Lyn Roberts, said the package builds on the previous, successful Commonwealth campaigns including the National Tobacco Campaign featuring the now well known Every cigarette is doing you damage advertisements.

“Combined with the Government’s new graphic health warnings on cigarette packs and the recent ratification of the WHO Framework Convention on Tobacco Control, the new national tobacco campaign aimed at young people and their parents could save thousands more Australians from premature death and disease caused by smoking,” Dr Roberts said.

“The development of a four year major media campaign, as outlined by the Commonwealth, will increase the likelihood of having a meaningful impact on smoking levels and the broad health benefits of that potential drop in smoking rates is tremendous.”

Quit Victoria’s Executive Director, Mr Todd Harper, greeted news of the ongoing mass media aspect of the Commonwealth’s new tobacco campaign, emphasising the importance of ensuring that both parents and their children are exposed to quitting messages in the media.

“By communicating a quit smoking message to parents you get a two for one flow on effect, because children of non-smokers are less likely to take up smoking,” said Mr Harper.

“Quit smoking television advertisements aimed at parents and young people have a proven success rate. The Parents advertisement launched by Quit several years ago attracted record numbers of callers to the Quitline, and has since gone on to become one of the most memorable quit smoking advertisements produced in Australia,” Mr Harper said.

“By encouraging more adults, and particularly parents, to quit we can continue to see lower rates of smoking among children,” he said

“We know that parents quitting, can reduce the likelihood of their children becoming smokers by about half.”

The Cancer Council Australia comment can be organised via Communications Manager Glen Turner on (02) 9036 3114 or 0412 443 212

Dr Lyn Roberts, AM is available for comment on (03) 9329 8511 or 0414 897 241

Todd Harper is available for comment on (03) 9635 5522 or 0417 561 412