| 21.01,12. 03:41 AM |
CIGARETTES IN THE CROSSHAIRS: Plan to kick our $5 billion habit
January 21, 2012
LICENCES to puff, foul-tasting cigarettes, and financial incentives to stop smoking are next in a bid to help the nation quit a $5 billion addiction to tobacco revenue before the end of the next decade.
Smokeless nicotine, a rising age limit and mandatory limits similar to that proposed for problem gamblers on pokies are detailed in a plan before the Federal Government and health authorities.
Big tobacco warns the looming multimillion-dollar legal fight in the High Court against drab olive-brown packaging of cigarette packets is just one battlefront in a bid to extinguish smoking in Australia.
Anti-smoking lobbyists have submitted a 10-point plan to the Federal Health department, obtained by The Courier-Mail, in an audacious bid to stub out the unhealthy habit within 15 years.
"Plain packaging will still have large gruesome images on the front and the name of the brand but in drab colour,'' said World Health Organisation adviser Professor Simon Chapman. "It'll be a step to de-glamourise smoking.''
Smoking has been banned and made a fineable offence in public bars, restaurants, beaches, stadiums, street malls, in cars with children, and even some suburban sporting ovals.
Despite graphic health campaigns that warn smoking kills, about one in five or 20 per cent of all Australians still smoke.
This figure is down by 40 per cent since 1980.
Australia is set to be the first country to mandate plain packaging under a new law with drab packets due on shelves from December.
In April, British American Tobacco Australia, Philip Morris Asia and Imperial Tobacco will go to the High Court to argue the Government's new plain packaging laws are unconstitutional. It is a challenge they claim will cost taxpayers in a multibillion-dollar compensation payout.
Prof Chapman, who was on the committee that recommended plain packaging, said many people were cynical about the Government's addiction to the $5 billion-a-year smoking excise revenue.