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01 Aug 2013

The AMA welcomes the Government’s announcement of a rise in tobacco excise over the next four years.

AMA President, Dr Steve Hambleton, said today that smoking is a killer habit and every effort must be made to encourage smokers to quit and discourage people, especially young people, from taking up smoking.

“Smoking is the only legal drug that kills half its users when used as the manufacturer intended,” Dr Hambleton said.

“Thirty per cent of all cancers can be linked to tobacco.

“Smoking leads to respiratory diseases, cardiovascular diseases, stroke, emphysema, bronchitis, asthma, renal disease, and eye disease.

“It is bad for unborn babies, it increases miscarriage rates, it increases still birth rates, it is linked to Sudden Infant Death Syndrome and low birth weight, and it is a risk factor in osteoporosis.

“According to the World Health Organisation, tobacco kills nearly six million people each year.

“Tobacco plain packaging legislation made Australia the world leader in the war against smoking.

“The move to make tobacco products more expensive – which is a proven disincentive – will enhance that reputation.

“The Government must ensure that a significant proportion of the proceeds from the excise increase is invested in health.

“It is important that Australia continues to show leadership to the rest of the world, especially countries where smoking rates remain high, about how to introduce practical public health initiatives that save lives,” Dr Hambleton said.

1 August 2013

CONTACT:         John Flannery                       02 6270 5477 / 0419 494 761

                            Kirsty Waterford                  02 6270 5464 / 0427 209 753

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Published: 01 Aug 2013