Push to raise the smoking age from 18 to 21 to cut cancer rates – as the ciggie hotspots of Australia are revealed
- Tasmania has the highest rate of smoking in Australia
- The Tobacco 21 campaign was launched by billionaire Andrew Forrest
- 15,000 people who every year due to smoking related health problems
Billionaire Andrew Forrest is spearheading an effort to raise the legal smoking age from 18 to 21, with the campaign claiming it has majority public support.
The national campaign was launched by the mining magnate on Friday in Tasmania, after it was found the state had the highest percentage of smokers.
"Nearly 90 per cent or adult smokers start as children," Mr Forrest said as reported by The Sydney Morning Herald.
"By the time they reach 21, they are hooked and become lifelong customers of big tobacco."
15,000 people who due to smoking related problems every year in Australia (file image)
Research from Mitchell Institute at Victoria University confirmed that Hobart suburbs had the highest rates of smokers in Australia.
The suburbs of Bridgewater and Gagebrook had a startling 40 per cent of residents smoking, compared to less than seven per cent in suburbs on Sydney's north shore, which had the lowest rates in the country.
Risdon Vale in Hobart was not far behind with 34 per cent of people smoking.
Mt. Druitt in Sydney's outer west, and the outer northern suburbs of Adelaide had the next highest rates.
Mr Forrest, whose Minderoo Foundation is funding the Eliminate Cancer initiative, launched the Tobacco 21 proposed legislation, which will be read for a second time in parliament in August.
Mr Forrest said the issue must be urgently addressed as hundreds of children's experiment with cigarettes every day.
His group estimated 15,000 people within the country each year from smoking related health problems.
Andrew Forrest (pictured) is hoping his Tobacco 21 plan to reduce the rates of smokers in the country
The Tobacco 21 plan claimed 73 per cent of Tasmanians supported raising the smoking age.
Eliminate Cancer advisor Bruce Mansfield said the campaign could be implemented throughout Australia.
"If we can show good evidence around the benefits of implementing T21 in Tasmania, we can call on the other states to implement it," Mr Mansfield told The australian.
"History tells us if they get to 21 without smoking, they are far less likely to start and could become lifelong customers of big tobacco."
Tasmanian suburbs had the highest amount of smokers in the country (file image)
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