Push to raise smoking age to 21 in Australia
Fresh push to raise smoking age to 21 in Australia
With 15,000 Australians dying each year from smoking-related illnesses, cancer groups and specialists across the country want to make it illegal for anyone below the age of 21 to purchase cigarettes. While the current legal age is 18, peak oncology groups say that 95% of all adult smokers started smoking before they turned 21.
“Smoking is the most preventable cause of cancer in Australia,” – Dr Karapetis
The Medical Oncology Group of Australia and the Private Cancer Physicians of Australia want the legal age in Australia raised from the current 18.
“We know from research that 95 per cent of all adults start smoking before they turn 21”
“We also know if you can prevent young people from taking up the deadly habit by the time they turn 21, the chances of them ever smoking at all is very low” – MOGA chair Chris Karapetis
President of the Private Cancer Physicians of Australia, Dr Christopher Steer, who is based in regional NSW, said the smoking rate among disadvantaged youth was alarmingly high across Australia and rates of smoking in regional Australia were significantly higher than in the cities.
“As oncologists, we see, too often, the horrible and deadly impact of what happens when young people become addicted to nicotine,”
“We know all governments are fighting very hard to warn them against the harms of smoking but, sometimes, we simply need to take the ability to form the habit out of their hands.” – Dr Christopher Steer
Mining magnate Andrew ‘Twiggy’ Forrest previously called for the same legislation and said last year he believes that peer pressure plays a big role in whether young people take up smoking cigarettes. He said raising the smoking age means people will be able to make more mature and informed decisions.
“Nearly 90 per cent of adult smokers start as children. By the time they reach 21, they are hooked and become lifelong customers of big tobacco,” – Andrew Forrest
“When tobacco causes many times more cost to the nation that it ever brings in revenue, and creates extreme suffering before palliative care and death, there is something seriously wrong with any government in the world, particularly ours, tolerating it.”