Media release

Australian Government honoured for Global Leadership in Tobacco Control

AMA NATIONAL CONFERENCE 2012 (Twitter: #amanc2012)

The Australian Government was today presented with a Global Leadership Award by three of Australia’s leading public health organisations for outstanding national and international action and leadership in tobacco control.

The Award – presented by the AMA, the Australian Council on Smoking and Health (ACOSH), and Action on Smoking and Health (ASH) Australia – was accepted on behalf of the Government by Health Minister, Tanya Plibersek, at the AMA National Conference in Melbourne.

AMA President, Dr Steve Hambleton, said the Australian Government won the Global Leadership Award for leading international action on tobacco over the past year.

“Australia is setting an example for the rest of the world to follow in the ongoing battle to stop people smoking and destroying their health, and is not afraid to take on Big Tobacco in the process,” Dr Hambleton said.

“This included passage of world-leading plain packaging legislation as part of a comprehensive program of initiatives.

“With welcome support from all parties, the Government pursued plain packaging despite massive and desperate opposition from the global tobacco industry.

“The Government also continued its record of investment in combating smoking, including funding through the Council of Australian Governments to address key aspects of tobacco control, not least Indigenous smoking.

“The Government banned electronic and internet advertising for tobacco, and established the Australian National Preventive Health Agency with specific funding commitments for tobacco control.

“The Commonwealth committed $100 million over four years to the Tackling Indigenous Smoking initiative.

“Further to recent tobacco tax increases, the Government recently decided to significantly reduce duty-free sales of tobacco.

“And the Government is to be commended for not accepting political donations from the tobacco industry.

“With this record, the Australian Government is rightly seen as a global leader in tobacco control and resisting tobacco industry pressures.

“The Government’s determination and commitment in its battle against Big Tobacco has prompted other governments to follow its lead, and its efforts have been widely recognised as an inspiration to the global health community.

“The AMA, ACOSH and ASH congratulate the Government on its outstanding contribution to public health,” Dr Hambleton said.

The AMA, ACOSH and ASH note that the Government’s tobacco control work is continuing, with regulation of cigarette contents and additives to be addressed in an options paper due out later this year.

Australia provides support to international tobacco control, including through:

  • substantial funding for the World Health Organisation to help implement its non-communicable disease (NCD) action plan;
  • funding to assist with the control of NCDs in the South Pacific; and
  • support for global tobacco control through the Framework Convention on Tobacco Control.

The AMA, ACOSH and ASH hope that the Government will expand its efforts to improve transparency when dealing with the tobacco industry by fully implementing the World Health Organisation’s Framework Convention on Tobacco Control Article 5.3 Guidelines to protect health policies from tobacco industry interference.

25 May 2012

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