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Thursday, 21 September 1972
Page: 1133

Senator WILLESEE asked the Minister for Health, upon notice:

Will the Government now take action to adopt the proposals of the Australian Medical Association with regard to smoking and health, in view of the strong criticism by the Association of the Government's refusal to ban cigarette advertising, and take other steps to alert the community to the clear health danger inherent in smoking.

Senator GREENWOOD-The Acting Minister for Health has provided the following answer to the honourable senator's question:

As has been stated on previous occasions in reply to similar questions, the action which the Commonwealth can take in these areas is limited and major areas of responsibility lie within the jurisdiction of the individual Stale Governments.

After a detailed review of the situation the Government has decided to implement a national health education programme and has sought uniform State and Commonwealth action requiring the inclusion of a health warning on cigarette packages.

The Commonwealth will make amounts of up to $500,000 a year available for the next 3 years for a national health education programme against smoking, directed particularly towards young people.

A National Warning Against Smoking Campaign was launched on 17th September 1972. This is an educational campaign which will use televiion, radio and other media to warn of the health hazards associated with smoking. In addition, it is proposed to distribute 2 booklets. One, entitled Why Don't Elephants Smoke', is directed towards children of primary school age; the other, which is a facts booklet, is directed towards adults and older children.

I am informed that legislation requiring health warnings on cigarette packages will come into effect in Victoria and Western Australia on 1st January 1973, and it is hoped that similar legislation will come into effect in the Australian Capital Territory and the Northern Territory on the same date. Present indications are that legislation on this matter will be implemented in the other States during 1973.

In addition, the Broadcasting and Television Act has been amended to require that all cigarette advertisements on radio and television be followed by a health warning. It is proposed that this requirement shall come into effect on 1st January 1973.

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