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Government steps up anti-smoking momentum

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THE HON WARREN SNOWDON MP Minister for Indigenous Health


4 November 2012

Government Steps up Anti-Smoking Momentum

Anti-smoking advertising campaigns aimed at the general community and high-risk groups such as pregnant women and Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander communities are the latest initiative in the Government’s world-leading push to help Australians stop smoking.

Advertising starts today on TV, radio and in print and social media, and will run well into January next year. The ads come as the Government is set to bring in its ground breaking anti-tobacco plain packaging legislation on 1 December.

“Tobacco smoking is the single largest cause of preventable premature death and disease in Australia - and this Government is absolutely determined to continue the momentum in the fight against smoking,” the Minister for Health, Tanya Plibersek, and the Minister for Indigenous Health, Warren Snowdon, said.

“We want the message to be heard and seen, loud and clear, among these groups and indeed all Australians: smoking causes sickness, disease and premature death; not smoking supports good health and long life.”

This next phase of the National Tobacco Campaign is one of the most concerted efforts yet to tackle smoking - and includes five national TV commercials and two innovative quit smoking smartphone apps.

“The statistics for smoking among at-risk and hard-to-reach groups are particularly alarming,” Minister Plibersek said. “In 2009, 14.5 per cent of pregnant women in Australia smoked.”

Minister Snowdon said: “It is much more challenging in Indigenous Australia - almost half of pregnant Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander women smoked in 2009.”

A new campaign Quit for You, Quit for Two specifically targets pregnant women and those planning on becoming pregnant, and their partners, who are from socially

disadvantaged, Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander, and culturally and linguistically diverse, communities.

“We know from research testing that this new and deliberately empowering approach is what’s needed culturally to support these women and partners to quit,” Minister Snowdon said.

The ads highlight the potential risks of smoking during pregnancy, that there is help available for women to quit, and the great benefits of giving up - both to themselves and their babies.

The Wait television commercial targeting the general community depicts a father, who has been told he has a shadow on the lung, waiting agonisingly for his results. In Australia, about 90 per cent of lung cancer cases in males, and 65 per cent in females, are a result of smoking and nearly all cases of emphysema are caused by tobacco smoking. The Wait commercial was developed by Quit Victoria and licensed by the Australian Government for national broadcast.

A reappearance of The Eye graphic warning on packs and the accompanying TV commercial remind us that smoking is a major cause of irreversible blindness. With Australia having one of the highest penetrations of smartphone use in the world, at 64 per cent, two personalised quit smoking apps have been developed. Quit Now: My QuitBuddy and Quit For You, Quit For Two are available for free download on iTunes and Android Market.