Smoking rates still too high

Smoking Man

The rates of smoking in rural areas in Australia are still “extremely high”, but the Rural Doctors Association of Australia supposes that new plain packaging legislation were “more than just smoke and mirrors”.

Last t week a Commonwealth won the case against the tobacco industry in the High Court, however the victory is not a guarantee of enforcement of plain packaging on tobacco products. The government considers it has been the greatest indication that the laws will have success.

The tobacco industry, including tobacco companies Phillip Morris and British American Tobacco, still has two more cases in Australian courts against the plain packaging legislation.

Nicola Roxon, Attorney-General in Australia, last week said that cigarette plain packaging would have the biggest influence on new smokers and youth.

She said that if somebody wants to take up smoking, plain packaging will just be a further recall of the health dangers of smoking.

“Indeed plain packaging is most likely to have its influence on new smokers.”

Ms Roxon said rising generation and young people were appealed to smoking as an image promoted that smoking was “cool” or teenagers can consider smoking fun or sexy.

“It is necessary to remove any image as the cigarette pack should not be an advertisement every time a smoker takes it from his pocket.”

“Smoking is a problem all over the world and the latest figures from the Australian Institute of Health and Wellbeing demonstrated that it was still most prevalent among men, youth and those who live in rural areas.

2010 National Drug Strategy Household Survey found that some 15.1 percent of Australians were everyday smokers, but that figure had dropped 16.6 percent in 2007 and 24.3 percent in 1991.

The survey as well demonstrated that smoking rates raised the further people lived from major cities, jumping from 16.8 percent in cities to 19.9 percent in rural areas.

This figure rose up to 20.7% of the total outer regional population, to 28.9 percent of the remote areas of Australia.

While Dr Paul Mara congratulated the government on its victory, there was still more to be done.

Dr Mara, RDAA president, said that every day doctors see the terrible effects of smoking.

“Smoking rates in rural areas of Australia are still extremely high, and they accept any measure to help decrease the number of smoking people.

Plain packaging will have positive effects and Dr Mara is glad to see that the Australian government leads the way on this significant issue.

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