The federal government will follow “with interest” a plan to ban smoking for future generations in England as it progresses reform of Australia’s tobacco laws.
- England has decided to ban smoking among younger generations, with progressive restrictions on the sale of cigarettes.
- Health Minister Mark Butler says he is following the plan with interest
- The government is currently progressing its own reforms to stamp out vaping and further strengthen tobacco laws.
British Prime Minister Rishi Sunak has announced a gradual increase in the legal minimum age for buying cigarettes in England, which will increase each year until cigarette sales are completely phased out.
This would effectively mean that any Englishman born in 2009 or later would never be able to legally buy a cigarette.
The move mirrors a similar phase-out in New Zealand, which also limits where tobacco products can be sold.
Australian Health Minister Mark Butler told the ABC that as Australia progresses with its own reforms he would closely monitor the UK and New Zealand programs.
“The Government has taken an evidence-based approach, following a thorough review of existing tobacco control regulations, but also best practice across the world,” Mr Butler said.
“The UK and New Zealand have responded to the specific tactics of ‘Big Tobacco’ marketed to their populations, and we will monitor with interest the success of their implementation.”
Australia is often touted as a world leader in tobacco reforms, but the health minister said Australia had fallen behind under the previous government.
Teen smoking rates have increased in recent years for the first time since the 1990s, alongside a significant increase in vaping.
The federal government introduced legislation earlier this year aimed at eradicating vaping and further reducing smoking rates.
The reforms would ban recreational vaping, which could only be sold in pharmacies with a medical prescription.
It would also update graphic warnings on packages, including extending those warnings to individual cigarettes, and ban certain additives such as menthol.
Speaking earlier, Greens leader Adam Bandt said he had not heard the details of England’s smoking ban but said his party would support any measure to reduce smoking rates. smoking.
“It is distressing to see a further rise in smoking rates among some groups, when so much effort has been made to bring it under control,” Mr Bandt said.
“We will support what works, we will support the evidence-based approach and health first.
“What we know sometimes is that acting too hard can simply push the problem underground, which is why we will listen to the experts… and consider any proposals the government wants to put on the table.”