Time to Raise the Minimum Purchasing Age for Tobacco in Australia
Medical Journal of Australia, Vol. 204, No. 6, pp. 220-221, 2016
12 Pages Posted: 25 Mar 2016 Last revised: 28 Apr 2016
Date Written: March 23, 2016
In 2014, a member of the Tasmanian Parliament introduced the Public Health Amendment (Tobacco-Free Generation) Bill 2014, which would have created an offence for selling tobacco to a member of the Tobacco-Free Generation, defined as a person born after 1 January 2000. The idea that today’s children should have no expectation that they will be able to lawfully purchase tobacco as adults is one of a number of “end-game” scenarios promoted by some tobacco control advocates. The Tasmanian government has indicated that it does not support the Tobacco-Free Generation Bill, but has recently released a five year strategic health plan that includes raising the minimum legal smoking age to 21 or 25 years as an option for consideration. This paper briefly reviews the Tobacco-Free Generation Bill and argues that the time has come for Australian state governments to seriously consider raising the minimum purchasing age for tobacco. A higher minimum purchasing age in Tasmania could reinforce efforts to reduce smoking initiation and help to address the significant health inequalities that Tasmanians experience relative to the mainland States. Something more clearly needs to be done when, for example, more than 33% of pregnant Tasmanian teenage women remain smokers.
Keywords: Public health law, tobacco control, smoking, regulation, health inequalities
JEL Classification: K10, K30
Suggested Citation: Suggested Citation