National Drug Strategy
National Drug Strategy

National Tobacco Strategy 2012-2018: Draft for consultation

Part Three: Policy context

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3.1 Policy Frameworks

This draft Strategy draws strongly on existing health and social policy frameworks as well as tobacco control policies at the national and international level.

The National Tobacco Strategy is a sub-strategy of the National Drug Strategy 2010-15 which provides a framework for action to minimise the harms to individuals, families and communities from alcohol, tobacco and other drugs. Central to this approach are the three pillars of demand reduction, supply reduction and harm reduction, which are applied together to minimise harm.21

This draft Strategy recognises the importance of the previous National Tobacco Strategies which have been in place since 1999, and the substantial progress that has been made under the most recent Strategy in 2004-09. These Strategies provided a comprehensive, evidence based partnership for tobacco control for Australia. The National Tobacco Strategy 2004-09 placed emphasis on seven program areas that guided action in tobacco control in Australia.21 The seven priority areas of the 2004-09 Strategy were:
  1. further use of regulation to reduce the use of, exposure to, and harm associated with tobacco.
  2. increased promotion of quit and smoke free messages.
  3. improving the quality of, and access to, services and treatment for smokers.
  4. providing more useful support to parents, carers and educators, helping children to develop a healthy lifestyle.
  5. endorsing policies that prevent social alienation associated with uptake of high risk behaviours such as smoking, and advocate policies that reduce smoking as a means of addressing disadvantage.
  6. tailoring messages and services to ensure access by disadvantaged groups.
  7. more focused research and evaluation to fine-tune policies and programs.
Achievements under the 2004-09 Strategy are summarised in section 4.1 of this document. Many of the priorities and actions identified in the 2004-09 Strategy will continue in this new 2012-2018 Strategy.

This draft Strategy is informed by the evidence, priorities and approaches outlined in State and Territory Tobacco Control Policies.

This draft Strategy also draws on the comprehensive review of evidence and the recommendations of the National Preventative Health Taskforce report22 released in September 2009 and the Australian Government’s response to this report.23 The National Preventative Health Taskforce completed a significant consultation process across Australia seeking views on the best approaches to address problems associated with tobacco, alcohol and obesity. The report recommended eleven actions to achieve the target of reducing smoking to 10 per cent or less by 2018. Many of these actions have been included in this draft Strategy.

The targets in this draft Strategy are consistent with those adopted in the 2008 National Healthcare Agreement and the associated National Partnership Agreement on Preventative Health. The target agreed to by all jurisdictions is to reduce the national adult daily smoking rate to 10 per cent of the population and halve the Indigenous smoking rate, by 2018.4

This draft Strategy also takes account of the National Partnership Agreement on Closing the Gap in Indigenous Health Outcomes. COAG has agreed to six high level targets for closing the gap between Indigenous and non Indigenous Australians.24 The first target, Close the gap in life expectancy within a generation is directly relevant to the National Tobacco Strategy as smoking is the leading risk factor for chronic disease in Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people, accounting for 12 per cent of the total burden of disease and one-fifth of deaths,25 making efforts to reduce smoking in the Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander population critical.3

Finally, this draft Strategy is consistent with Australia’s obligations as a Party to the World Health Organization (WHO) Framework Convention on Tobacco Control (FCTC).26 The FCTC aims to advance international cooperation to protect present and future generations from the preventable and devastating health, social, environmental and economic consequences of tobacco consumption and exposure to tobacco smoke.

The FCTC and its Guidelines commit nations to implement policies on tobacco price and tax increases, prohibiting or restricting tobacco advertising, promotion and sponsorship, introducing labelling with more prominent health warnings, reducing exposure to second-hand smoke, smoking cessation interventions and combating illicit trade. The Australian Government reports every two years to the Conference of the Parties on progress in implementing the FCTC.

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