Not content with merely educating people as to the health risks associated with tobacco, anti-smoking campaigners and politicians in Australia are considering a ban on under-25s being able to smoke, and even a rolling blanket ban.
The latest front in the war on tobacco and smokers is being considered by an alliance of anti-smoking campaigners and politicians in the Australian state of Tasmania, reports The Australian.
Across the whole of Australia the legal age for buying, smoking or possessing cigarettes is the same as it is in the United Kindom, 18 years old. Tasmania, however, has a particular problem with tobacco and some say raising the minimum age would be worthwhile.
Young adults in the state of Tasmania smoke at double the rate of those living in mainland states. A fifth of its 520,000 residents — and a third of aged from 18 to 24 — smoke, although that is far from their only health problem. The island state 150 miles south of mainland Australia also suffers from statistically high rates of obesity and illiteracy, with half the population being unable to read or write properly.
The suggested hike to 25 years old forms just one plank in the state health minster’s five-year plan to reverse the unhealthy trend in Tasmania in order to make it Australia’s healthiest state by 2025. Michael Ferguson said:
“We’ve got to own up to this and be willing to have a genuine community debate.”
Calmer minds have been pointing out flaws in Mr. Ferguson’s planned ban. From a business perspective, Robert Mallett — executive director of the Tasmanian Small Business Council — has called the plan unworkable. He points out that the burden of enforcing the plan will fall on the shoulders of shop workers, many of whom would be younger than the customers they would have to refuse:
“The likelihood that a 22-year-old will intimidate a young 18-year-old standing at the counter of a country grocery store is high.
“What would that person do? You’d supply the product, wouldn’t you, rather than be intimidated by a much older person when you’re saying, ‘Can I have a look at your ID?’”
In fact, one idea mooted by the Tasmanian parliament is even more unworkable and complicated. Some nanny state anti-smoking campaigners are in favour of outlawing smoking by anyone born in 2000 or later.
The possibility of introducing the most draconian tobacco law in the world will now be be put to a public consultation.