South Australia ranked worst, Victoria best in fight against tobacco

30/05/2009

South Australia has the dubious distinction of receiving the AMA’s annual Dirty Ashtray Award for the Australian State or Territory that made the least progress on combating smoking during 2008.

AMA Federal President, Dr Rosanna Capolingua, today used the eve of World No Tobacco Day to announce the results of the AMA/Australian Council on Smoking and Health (ACOSH) National Tobacco Scoreboard.

The scoreboard allocates points to each State and Territory, over a number of categories, including legislation, to track how effective governments have been at combating smoking over the previous 12 months.

“It’s disappointing that South Australia is falling behind the rest of the country when it comes to tobacco control,” Dr Capolingua said.

“South Australia has made no progress on point-of-sale display restrictions since inadequate laws were implemented in 2007.

“Funding for tobacco control and public education is inadequate and there is still no comprehensive smoke-free policy across all South Australian health services.”

At the other end of the scale, Victoria was ranked as the best performer on the 2008 National Tobacco Control Scoreboard.

“Victorian authorities deserve praise for introducing a tobacco control policy which includes a ban on point of sale tobacco displays and smoking in cars carrying children,” Dr Capolingua said.

“Victoria has a strong public education strategy and good services to assist people who are trying to quit smoking.”

Dr Capolingua said she hoped the results of the National Tobacco Control Scoreboard would encourage governments to do more to combat tobacco use.

“We need a complete ban on tobacco advertising and tougher laws to protect non-smokers, especially children, from second-hand smoke,” she said.

“The Federal Government should significantly increase tobacco excise beyond inflation and use the proceeds to fund public health programs,” Dr Capolingua said.

30 May 2009

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Peter Jean             0427 209 753

2009 AMA/ACOSH NATIONAL TOBACCO SCOREBOARD SUMMARIES

VICTORIA

Victoria has been ranked first in the 2009 national tobacco control scoreboard. Victoria has introduced a new tobacco control strategy which includes a ban on point of sale displays and on smoking in cars carrying children. Victoria has a strong public education program and good cessation services. Victoria has performed consistently over the past year but there is room for improvement; for example, the definition of enclosed public places where areas that are up to 75% enclosed are deemed, by legislation,  to be  ‘outdoor areas’.

NEW SOUTH WALES

New South Wales has been ranked equal second in the 2009 tobacco control scoreboard. NSW is a leader in funding for public education and should be congratulated on this investment. NSW’s definition of enclosed public places is similar to that in Victoria and needs amendment. NSW also permits poker machines in these ‘outdoor areas’, putting it behind Victoria in this category.

WESTERN AUSTRALIA

Western Australian has been ranked equal second in the 2009 tobacco control scoreboard. WA has the lowest smoking in the country in 12 – 17 year-olds, and has a strong and consistent program, although funding for public education should be increased. While WA has scored highly in relation to enclosed public places, the Casino’s continuing exemption warrants attention. Legislation currently in the Parliament should ensure a strong result next year for WA.

AUSTRALIAN CAPITAL TERRITORY

The Australian Capital Territory has been ranked equal fourth with Queensland in the 2009 tobacco control scoreboard. The ACT has scored highly for point of sale advertising with new legislation banning displays in standard as well as special tobacconists. The ACT is expected to score better next year after implementation of the government’s commitments to ban smoking in outdoor dining and drinking areas.

QUEENSLAND

Queensland has been ranked equal fourth with the Australian Capital Territory in the 2009 tobacco control scoreboard. While Queensland has excellent laws on smoking in outdoor places, it falls behind in point of sale advertising where 1m square displays in retail outlets are still permitted. There is also a need for increased commitment and funding for programs targeting Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people.

TASMANIA

While at sixth place on the scoreboard, Tasmania is a leader in relation to enclosed public places and smokefree workplaces with no exemptions. Unfortunately, despite some recent improvements, Tasmania falls behind in areas such as funding for public education and programs for high risk populations. Tasmania has no policies in place to prevent government agencies working with tobacco companies, and has continued to work with the tobacco industry’s Butt Littering Trust.

SOUTH AUSTRALIA

The 2009 Dirty Ashtray Award goes to South Australia as the state with the least activity or progress in tobacco control over the past year. South Australia lags behind other states in important areas of tobacco control and has made no progress on point of sale display restrictions since inadequate legislation was implemented in late 2007.  Funding for tobacco control and public education is inadequate, and there is still not a comprehensive smoke-free policy across all South Australian Health Services.

NORTHERN TERRITORY

The Northern Territory’s failure to act on tobacco control is distressing to all concerned for the public health. It is hardly surprising that smoking trends in the NT are the worst in Australia. The level of action has been so poor over several years that it is not appropriate to judge the NT by the same standards as other States and Territories. There is an urgent need for the NT Government to protect the health of its community in this area, including a special focus on Indigenous smoking given the importance of smoking in reducing the life expectancy gap.

COMMONWEALTH

The highlights of the last twelve months have been the commitment of significant funding through COAG for tobacco control activities including addressing the Indigenous life expectancy gap and the fact that driving down smoking has been identified as a key strategy to ‘Close the Gap’.  The report of the Preventative Health Taskforce is expected to recommend further action on smoking. Australia is one of the lower tobacco-taxing countries in the OECD and there has been no substantial increase for a decade. The Australian Government should as a matter of urgency implement the single most important measure to reduce smoking nationally by introducing significant tobacco tax increases and ensuring that the funds raised go back into health programs, including a major emphasis on tobacco.

 

AMA/ACOSH National Tobacco Scoreboard Results 2009

 

TAS

WA

VIC

NSW

 QLD

SA

 NT

 ACT

 Enclosed Public Places Policy

10

9

8

7

9

5

3

8

 Outdoors Public Place

5

7

5

3

9

4

1

5

 Smokefree Workplaces

10

7

7

6

9

5

4

9

 Restrictions Tobacco marketing

8

7

7

8

6

3

5

9

 Uptake

6

8

7

7

5

4

0

6

 Cessation

6

8

9

9

7

5

2

7

 High Risk

4

7

7

7

6

6

1

8

 Enforcement

7

7

6

8

5

5

3

7

 Investment

6

6

8

8

6

5

1

3

 Donations

2

4

7

7

7

7

0

7

 TOTAL

64

70

71

70

69

49

20

69