Professor Mike Daube, a leading anti-tobacco campaigner, has today (May 17) revealed a 10-point plan that could see Australia being completely smoke-free within 15 years.
This plan was part of a paper, titled A Smoke-Free Australia: How Do We Get There?, which was presented at the Heart Foundation Conference this morning. This is a three-day event that is currently underway in Adelaide.
The paper sought to demonstrate the devastating number of Australian deaths that have been caused by tobacco since the carcinogenic properties of cigarettes were proven beyond a doubt over sixty years ago.
"Smoking in Australia is declining, and plain packaging is a world-leading measure, but this remains our largest preventable cause of death and disease and we cannot afford to become complacent," said Mr Daube.
Around one million Australians have already lost their lives as a result of smoking, and he believes that one of the most pressing reasons is that our country has approximately one cigarette retail outlet for every 450 adults
According to the government's Quit Now web site, every 28 minutes that passes in Australia marks another preventable, tobacco-related death. This equates to about 50 deaths a day.
Mr Daube suggested that we should "treat tobacco like the dangerous drug it is" by limiting how readily accessible cigarettes are.
Other measures that are included in Professor Daube's plan are:
• Stopping the tobacco industry's lobbying and PR abilities
• Protecting non-smokers from passive smoking
• Making sure adequate funding is assigned to public education
• Increasing tobacco taxes even further
• Creating special programs for high-risk and disadvantaged groups
• Suing tobacco companies for the negative impact that smoking has on society
According to Cancer Council New South Wales, there is a correlation between smoking and occupation. Apparently smoking rates are significantly higher among manual and factory workers than they are among office workers and other professionals.
The most recent National Health Survey revealed that 13.3 per cent of those who identified as 'professionals' smoked, while a staggering 39.8 per cent of 'labourers and related workers'.
While encouraging a smoke-free work environment is always ideal, business health plans can make sure your staff get the care they need if and when they require medical treatment.