National Drug Strategy
National Drug Strategy

National Tobacco Strategy 2012-2018: Draft for consultation

Executive summary

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Tobacco remains a significant cause of death and disability in Australia. Around 3.3 million Australians still smoke at least daily or weekly1 and 15,000 people die each year of smoking related illness.2

Australia has been successful in reducing smoking prevalence over many years. Yet smoking rates in our community are still too high, with 15.1 per cent of people 14 years or over smoking daily in 2010.1 Smoking among Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people is more than double the general population with 45 per cent of people over the age of 15 years smoking daily.3 Smoking rates among the most disadvantaged groups in our community are also extremely high1, contributing to, and compounding existing health inequalities.

In 2008, all Australian governments committed to reducing the adult daily smoking rate to 10 per cent or less, and halving the rate of smoking among Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people by 2018.4 This is an ambitious target, but substantial progress will be made towards achieving this if the actions in this draft Strategy are fully implemented.

This draft National Tobacco Strategy has been released for consultation with the public, industry groups, health groups and community based organisations to encourage debate and discussion about future approaches to reducing tobacco related harm.

This draft document sets out the national framework to reduce tobacco related harm in Australia. It includes the goal, “to improve the health of all Australians by reducing the prevalence of smoking and its associated health, social and economic costs, and the inequalities it causes.” It also details objectives and targets for tobacco control until 2018 and outlines eight priority areas for action.

These priority areas have been informed by the extensive national and international evidence base for tobacco control and reflect best practice approaches to reducing tobacco related harm. The eight priority areas are as follows:

  1. strengthen social marketing campaigns to discourage uptake of smoking; motivate smokers to quit; prevent relapse; and reshape social norms about smoking;
  2. continue to reduce the affordability of tobacco products;
  3. bolster and build on existing programs and partnerships to reduce smoking rates among Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people;
  4. strengthen efforts to reduce smoking among people in disadvantaged populations with high smoking prevalence;
  5. eliminate remaining advertising, promotion and sponsorship of tobacco products;
  6. consider further regulation of the contents, product disclosure and supply of tobacco products and non therapeutic nicotine delivery systems;
  7. reduce exceptions to smoke free workplaces, public places and other settings; and
  8. provide greater access to a range of evidence based cessation services and supports to help smokers to quit.
A strength of the Australian approach to tobacco control has been the strong and enduring partnerships developed between governments, non government organisations and community groups to reduce the harm caused by smoking. This draft Strategy provides a framework that supports the strengthening and expansion of these partnerships within Australia. The framework also supports Australia’s engagement in international partnerships to maximise the effectiveness of global tobacco control efforts and to learn and share best practice approaches to reducing tobacco related harm.

The draft Strategy also provides a framework for building the evidence base for tobacco control and monitoring progress.

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