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May 12th, 2012:

Butt out! Tassie smokes ban


ZERO TOLERANCE: Professor Jon Berrick is urging a ban on smoking for people born after the year 2000. Picture: RICHARD JUPE

TASMANIA is being promoted as the ideal testing ground to introduce a ban on cigarette sales to everyone born after the year 2000.

The radical health proposal would see younger generations, and all future generations, forbidden to use tobacco products forever.

The plan, promoted by a university professor from Singapore, has won praise from Tasmania’s anti-smoking lobby groups.

Quit Tasmania, the Cancer Council and the Asthma Foundation said the proposal had merits and should be further investigated.

Professor Jon Berrick, from the National University of Singapore, is visiting Tasmania to promote his vision, which he hopes will end nicotine addiction.

Prof Berrick said Tasmania would be an ideal place to trial the proposal because the state had a good record of bipartisan political support on tobacco controls.

He has taken his plan to anti-smoking groups as well as scientists and researchers at the Menzies Research Institute.

Prof Berrick said the idea was a “decisive measure”, unlike other anti-smoking moves that only “chipped away” at the problem.

“Once you do this, the end is in sight,” he said.

Prof Berrick said the ban would rely on proof of age, either through drivers licences that showed people’s birthdates or some other proof of ID card.

Cancer Council Tasmania CEO Simon Barnsley said the initiative would be “very worthwhile” to investigate.

“It’s quite a different way to do it because you build an expectation of change, you don’t set out to achieve it through prohibition,” he said.

He supported the idea of a Tasmania-only trial as it would be hard to achieve nationally.

Prof Berrick, whose background is in science and mathematics, has formulated the idea with a group of experts in Singapore.

He said a 2007 survey of awareness of lung cancer in Singapore included questions about the idea.

“The first thing we asked people was how important they feel it is to prevent children ever taking up smoking and we got over 98 per cent who said it was very important or important,” Prof Berrick said.

“The next question we asked was what about this particular proposal for those born from 2000 forever. From the population as a whole we got over 70 per cent support and for smokers we got 60 per cent support.”

Prof Berrick said many smokers regretted they had started smoking and certainly did not want to inflict it on their children.

Quit Tasmania executive director Michael Wilson said on face value Prof Berrick’s proposal seemed a great idea and fairly easy to administer, but he said there were issues with ID.

“You hear lots of stories in the community about fake ID to me that seems to be the only thing that would be a hindrance,” he said.

Using Tasmania as a pilot had merit, Mr Wilson said, as it had been used for other health pilot studies. But he said it was easy to buy cigarettes interstate.

Asthma Foundation of Tasmania CEO Cathy Beswick said the proposal was worth investigating.

She said tobacco smoke was harmful to people with asthma and respiratory conditions and the foundation was interested in any measure that would reduce or limit the number of people who smoked.

Tasmania’s Director of Public Health, Roscoe Taylor, said a report published in 2008 found that in 2005 tobacco use accounted for $1.836 billion in costs for tobacco-related healthcare and $31.5 billion in indirect social costs in Australia.

He said the most recent figures showed that between 2003 and 2007 an average of 471 Tasmanians died each year due to tobacco use.

Support for tobacco ban

Support for tobacco ban

CHARLES WATERHOUSE | May 12, 2012 12.01am

THE proposal to ban the supply of tobacco products to Tasmanians born from the year 2000 was welcomed by two 17-year-old smokers in Hobart yesterday.

Edith said the concept that smoking was “totally wrong” was now embedded in society.

“Even for our age, it is something that is shunned upon ,” she said.

She believed there would be plenty of information circulated about the ban.

Edith said taking up smoking was one of her biggest regrets because it was so expensive: “And it is so hard to give up, especially when you are studying and working and stuff and you are so stressed.”

Amber said she agreed with Edith’s comments.

“I guess people born in 2000 are only 12 now so are not going to have the chance to get hooked before it is illegal for them which is a good thing,” she said.

Amber said she had tried quitting but it was hard because all her friends smoked and it was a very social habit. thing.

“Like at school for example at lunchtime everyone goes to the smoking area and if you don’t smoke you are not with your friends.

“For future generations if it is not really a thing everybody does then it will be a lot easier for them not to start smoking.”

Should smokers be offered assistance with stopping?

Dowload PDF : Should smokers be offered assistance with quitting. 2010

Customs hunts 300 buyers of smuggled cigarettes


Clifford Lo
May 12, 2012

Customs officers are trying to trace more than 300 buyers who placed phone orders for contraband cigarettes, after a series of raids on illicit tobacco operations.

Officers found three ledgers during the raids that were believed to contain the buyers’ telephone numbers and order details – but the entries were represented by nicknames and abbreviations.

The task of cracking the codes and tracking down the buyers has fallen on a new customs task force that targets the sale of contraband cigarettes via phone orders.

“Tobacco traffickers use abbreviations and set their own secret codes to store their customers’ information,” a senior customs officer said.

“We need more time to carry out background checks to identify buyers, then we will apply for search warrants in court before raiding their homes and making arrests.”

The ledgers were seized on three occasions during an operation codenamed Torpedo, which started in the middle of last month and netted illegal cigarettes worth a total of HK$6.4 million.

On Thursday, four tobacco traffickers were arrested in Tsuen Wan and HK$900,000 of cigarettes seized. Customs said the contraband was used to fill phone orders.

That followed a raid on an industrial building in Tsuen Wan on Tuesday where contraband cigarettes with a retail value of HK$5.5 million were stored. Two men were arrested.

Customs hit the place hours after a cross-border truck from Shenzhen smuggled in a consignment hidden in the hollow centres of 10 piles of cartons, said Mark Lee Yuen-man, divisional commander of the anti-illicit-cigarette investigation unit.

The Torpedo operation involved raids on 60 flats, with 22 buyers arrested and 11,000 illicit cigarettes seized.

The authorities said they wanted “to send a message that both buyers and sellers of illicit cigarettes have criminal responsibility”.

Call to cut smoking in local films

May 9, 2012

AUSTRALIAN films receiving government assistance should cut down on depictions of actors smoking, parliament has been told.

Labor senator John Faulkner said the commonwealth provided generous tax incentives for film, television and other screen production in Australia, giving about $145 million in tax offsets to producers in 2010/11.

“I believe it’s now time for the government to consider the introduction of conditions to be applied about the smoking content of any production before government funding is provided,” he told the Senate today.

“It is also time to seriously investigate the application of such constraints to overseas productions filmed in Australia.”

But Liberal senator Simon Birmingham used Twitter to remark the imposition of such limits would be an interference in personal choice.

“John Faulkner currently telling @AuSenate we should regulate art by restricting portrayal of smoking in films – more #NannyState anyone?” he tweeted.

Senator Faulkner said the government’s new plain-packaging law was another example of Labor targeting tobacco advertising promotion and sponsorship.

All cigarettes and tobacco products will have to be sold in drab olive-brown packs from December.

“We are setting a global precedent that has big tobacco shaking in its boots,” Senator Faulkner said.

The federal budget handed down yesterday has cut the amount of cigarettes and tobacco that could be purchased duty-free.

Under existing rules, inbound travellers aged over 18 are allowed to bring in 250 cigarettes or 250 grams of tobacco products tax-free.

This will be cut to 50 cigarettes.

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