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26 Oct 2012

The AMA applauds the Future Fund’s decision to review its tobacco investments.

In a letter to Future Fund Chair, Mr David Gonski AC, earlier this week, the AMA outlined health, moral and economic arguments against the use of Australian taxpayers’ money to benefit Big Tobacco.

AMA Vice President, Professor Geoffrey Dobb, said today that the compelling evidence that smoking kills people should mean that the Future Fund review would be brief and could have only one outcome – to stop the tobacco investments immediately.

Professor Dobb said that the evidence is overwhelming that tobacco use kills people, destroys people’s health and shortens lives, and has a devastating effect on families when a family member falls ill as a result of smoking.

“Despite the evidence, the global tobacco industry knowingly continues to promote tobacco products, including in ways that are attractive to young people, and continues to try to find ways to get around legislation that limits tobacco marketing,” Professor Dobb said.

“The promotion and sale of tobacco products results in the premature and preventable deaths of 15,000 Australians every year.

“Nearly 10 per cent of Australian teenagers have used tobacco, and research shows that half of these teenagers will die prematurely as a result of smoking if they do not stop.

“The health effects of tobacco use cost the Australian hospital system $670 million each year – nearly two and a half times the Future Fund’s $250 million investment in the tobacco industry.

“Australia has a strong international reputation as a world leader in tobacco control.

“It is irrational to have the good work that the Federal Government has done in tobacco plain packaging and tax measures undermined by unhealthy Future Fund investments that help support the tobacco industry.

“The AMA is ready and willing to provide the Future Fund review with advice and evidence to help it reach the responsible decision to cease any investments in the tobacco industry.”

Professor Dobb said that the AMA is also concerned at reports that British American Tobacco is being investigated over possible breaches of the new tobacco plain packaging laws.

“The tobacco industry must operate within the legislation and stop trying clever marketing tricks to skirt the law,” Professor Dobb said.

 


26 October 2012

 

CONTACT:         Kirsty Waterford                  02 6270 5464 / 0427 209 753


Published: 26 Oct 2012