Media release

AMA condemns The Australian's promotion of smoking and Big Tobacco


AMA President, A/Prof Brian Owler, today condemned The Australian’s front page promotion of smoking and Big Tobacco, and its constant attacks on tobacco plain packaging legislation, one of the greatest public health initiatives in Australia’s and the world’s recent history.

A/Prof Owler said today that Australia’s leadership on tobacco control, including the plain packaging laws, has bipartisan support and has been applauded by public health advocates around the world.

“The smoking debate is not about politics or ideology, it is about life and death,” A/Prof Owler said.

“Smoking kills – the evidence is in and has been for a long time.

“Actions that stop people smoking save millions of lives around the world, and improve the lives and quality of life of millions more.

“Doctors see the horrific harms caused by smoking every day in surgeries and operating theatres, and it’s not pretty. We have to stop people throwing their lives and health away.

“As a modern responsible society, we must do all we can to help or convince people to stop smoking for the sake of their health and the health of others.

“We have come a long way, but there is still so much more to do.

“The actions of the tobacco industry in manipulating statistics and engaging in dirty tricks marketing are deplorable – and should not be promoted or encouraged.

“The key statistic is that the number of smokers in Australia fell in 2013 by 1.4 per cent (ABS).

“The AMA urges the Government to restate its support for the plain packaging laws and tobacco control generally, and we urge The Australian and other media to stop giving Big Tobacco a free ride in promoting its killer products,” A/Prof Owler said.

The latest edition (16 June 2014) of the Department of Health publication, Key facts and figures on tobacco sales, consumption and prevalence, is here:


18 June 2014


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