Clear The Air News Tobacco Blog Rotating Header Image

August 21st, 2012:

Bid to ban cigarettes for anyone born after 2000

Andrew Darby and Amy Corderoy

An international campaign to ban the sale of cigarettes to young people has been given a leg up in Australia.

This would mean that we would have a generation of people not exposed to tobacco products

The 2000 Smoke Free Generation initiative has secured the backing of Tasmania’s independent upper house, the Legislative Council, and will be scrutinised by the state government.

The Legislative Council is calling for a ban on cigarette sales to anyone born after the year 2000.

The initiative, brought to Australia by a University of Singapore academic, means that, from the year 2018, young people who would have then come of legal age, no longer could smoke.

“I first thought it was just going too far, and was too difficult to sell,” the Tasmanian proponent, independent MP Ivan Dean, told Fairfax Media.

“But handled properly, the Smoke Free Generation could work. It’s not the case that it would be immediate,” Mr Dean said. “There’s a lead time to this.”

Mr Dean said its success would depend on getting young people on side, as well as tobacco producers and retailers.

One in four young Tasmanians smokes, compared with one in five nationally, and Health Minister Michelle O’Byrne today confirmed her support.

“I met with one of the chief proponents of the tobacco-free generation idea earlier this year, Professor Jon Berrick from the University of Singapore,” Ms O’Byrne said.

“I have asked the Commissioner for Children to conduct an analysis of the proposal, which I believe is worthy of serious consideration.”

The campaign against smoking is gaining pace after the federal government’s win on plain packaging in the High Court.

After that win Attorney-General Nicola Roxon said that if tobacco was a new product, it probably would not be legal, but she did not have an agenda to ban it.

“But I must say I’m cheered by the fact that I – when I was Health Minister – had primary school students writing to me all the time, saying: ‘Why don’t we do this?'” Ms Roxon said.

“And I would write back and say well, that may well be something that the next generation will take on.”

Tasmanian Liberal health spokesman Jeremy Rockliff is reported to have dismissed the idea. “What’s next, 50 lashes for people who break the rules?”

Australia would become the first country to ban tobacco sales to some generations and not others if the plan goes ahead.

The president of the Australian Council on Smoking and Health, Mike Daube, said many countries were now discussing the “end game” in the battle against tobacco.

“There’s no question that plain packaging has created a massive momentum and we are now going to see a lot of suggestions about how we are going to get to the end of smoking,” he said.

Professor Daube said Dubai had similar rules, with tobacco sales banned within a kilometre of an educational institution.

He believed the Tasmanian plan was actually “a bit pessimistic”, in that it targeted only young people.

He would like to see the number of outlets selling cigarettes cut drastically. In his home state of Western Australia 4000 shops were selling tobacco, or one for every 450 adults.

“But should we actually ban cigarettes entirely? I think we should move towards phasing out commercial sale; there should be no place for a commercial tobacco industry in Australia,” he said.

“But we spend far more money on [trying to enforce a ban on illicit drugs] than we do on tobacco and people are still using them. Banning the behaviour itself is not the way to go.”

Mr Dean said the move would stop young people from taking up the habit.

“This would mean that we would have a generation of people not exposed to tobacco products,” he said.

The move comes less than a week after the High Court ruled in favour of the federal government’s introduction of plain packaging for cigarettes.

Tasmanian Health Minister Michelle O’Byrne has asked the state’s Commissioner for Children to look at the proposal, the report said.

– with AAP

Correction: It was incorrectly reported in an earlier version that Australia would become the first country to ban tobacco sales if the Tasmanian plan goes ahead. Bhutan is believed to have banned all tobacco sales.

Read more:

Customs smashes two illicit cigarette smuggling cases in Lok Ma Chau

Hong Kong (HKSAR) – Hong Kong Customs yesterday (August 20) smashed two illicit cigarette smuggling cases in Lok Ma Chau Control Point and seized a total of about 1.62 million sticks of duty-not-paid cigarettes on board two cross-boundary container trucks. The total value of the cigarettes was about $4.07 million with a duty potential of about $2.77 million. In the operations, two male drivers (aged 61 and 49) were arrested and the two container trucks used in the smuggling of illicit cigarettes were seized.

At about 7am yesterday, Customs officers at Lok Ma Chau Control Point intercepted a cross-boundary logistics container truck. Upon examination, about 0.42 million sticks of duty-not-paid cigarettes concealed in two wooden boxes were found on board the container truck.

Another case took place at about 10pm at the same control point. Customs officers intercepted an unladen cross-boundary 40-foot container truck. Upon X-ray examination, about 1.2 million sticks of duty-not-paid cigarettes were found inside a false compartment.

In the cases, cigarettes of various brands had been sorted and packed so that the cigarettes could be speedily delivered for sale.

Customs believes that the illicit cigarette syndicate continues to manipulate the “swift distribution” mode in an attempt to lessen the risk of being detected.

Under the Dutiable Commodities Ordinance, anyone involved in dealing with, possession of, selling and buying illicit cigarettes commits an offence. The maximum penalty on conviction is imprisonment for two years and a fine of $1 million.

A spokesman for Hong Kong Customs said today (August 21) that Customs will continue to take stringent enforcement against cigarette smuggling activities to protect government revenue.

Members of the public are urged to report any suspected illicit cigarette activities to Customs’ 24-hour hotline 2545 6182.

Source: HKSAR Governmen