Time to Raise the Minimum Purchasing Age for Tobacco in Australia

Medical Journal of Australia, Vol. 204, No. 6, pp. 220-221, 2016

Sydney Law School Research Paper No. 16/24

12 Pages Posted: 25 Mar 2016 Last revised: 28 Apr 2016

See all articles by Roger Magnusson

Roger Magnusson

The University of Sydney Law School

Date Written: March 23, 2016

Abstract

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

Magnusson, Roger, Time to Raise the Minimum Purchasing Age for Tobacco in Australia (March 23, 2016). Medical Journal of Australia, Vol. 204, No. 6, pp. 220-221, 2016, Sydney Law School Research Paper No. 16/24, Available at SSRN: https://ssrn.com/abstract=2753939

Roger Magnusson (Contact Author)

The University of Sydney Law School ( email )

New Law Building, F10
The University of Sydney
Sydney, NSW 2006
Australia

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