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Tuesday, 23 August 1983
Page: 112

Question No. 270

Mr Lloyd asked the Minister for Health, upon notice, on 26 May 1983:

Has his attention been drawn to a statement by Senator Button on 28 February 1983 to the effect that the advertising of tobacco products should be treated in the same way as liquor advertising; if so, is it the intention of the Government to act in this manner; if not, (a) why not and (b) in what way will advertising requirements differ.

Dr Blewett —The answer to the honourable member's question is as follows:

I am aware of Senator Button's statement of 28 February 1983. However, I am also aware of Senator Button's media release of 1 March 1983 which states, inter alia:

'A Labor Government will not change the current provisions relating to cigarette and tobacco advertising . . .'

It is not the intention of the Government that advertising of tobacco products and alcoholic beverages be treated in the same way because, from a health perspective, these products are not the same. Tobacco consumption at any level is harmful to health. Indeed, it is estimated that more than 16,000 deaths resulted from tobacco-related diseases in Australia last year. However, alcohol- when consumed in moderation-has not been demonstrated to be harmful to health: it becomes so only when abused.

The Government's stated health policy on tobacco and alcohol consumption recognises these differences. Whereas the Goverment is committed to take further action to inhibit the promotion of cigarettes, it acknowledges that alcohol, in moderation, is acceptable. Therefore, my Department will continue to do what it can to promote in the community an awareness of safe patterns of alcohol consumption.

With regard to the honourable member's question on how advertising requirements will differ, I can only reply in terms of my objectives as Minister for Health. The measures I propose will reflect my concern for each product's potential for harm and will be in accord with the Government policy I have outlined.