British American Tobacco Australia - Response to the draft National Tobacco Strategy 2012-2018 - 25 June 2012
The aim of the draft NTS is to identify those policies that are capable of reducing the harm caused by tobacco for the next five years.
In this context, it is important to remember that over the previous five years, significant regulations have been put in place with the same aim. Such regulations range from graphic health warnings, retail display bans and potentially plain packaging. Indeed there have been some 50 separate pieces of tobacco regulation put in place in the last 10 years alone.
However, the singular impact that each piece of regulation has had on reducing smoking rates is often not known and at times difficult to effectively quantify. Further, such measures are often rushed and bring with them serious unintended consequences, with the growth in the illegal tobacco market being once such example.
The opportunity presented by the draft NTS is to reset the regulatory approach in this important policy field, and focus on those priority areas in a methodical manner.
To this end, BATA suggests that the NTS focus resources on the broad areas of;
- Developing policies to track and crack down on the problem of illegal tobacco, ensuring that it does not take even more of a foothold in the Australian market.
- Identifying and perusing policies that assist in the harm reduction of smokers, consistent with the National Drug Strategy 2010-2015 framework.
- Investing in targeted and evidence based education campaigns, especially amongst those groups identified by the draft NTS.
- Recognising that despite all the information about the health risks, some adults will continue to choose to smoke and their choice should also be considered.
- Overall, working (in a democratic society) with the industry in a cooperative manner to ensure that any new regulation is common sense, workable, measurable and enforceable.