Survey reports smoking decline

DAILY smoking rates have fallen by 4 per cent as tobacco use across the state  reaches a new low, a Tasmanian Population Health Survey details.

More than 6000 people were quizzed about their smoking habits during the survey in December, which found that the number of Tasmanian adults smoking has fallen to about one in seven from about one in five in 2009.

On World No Tobacco Day yesterday, Health Minister Michael Ferguson said daily smoking rates had dropped about 12 per cent during same five year-period.

``The greatest reduction in smoking was recorded in the 35 to 54 age group,'' Mr Ferguson said.

``It is important to note that the survey was conducted using landline phones, and may under represent young smokers, but this certainly points to a very pleasing decline in smoking rates.

``The state government is committed to making it easier to quit, and easier to stay smoke-free.''

Both Tasmania and the ACT government's topped the Australian Medical Association and Australian Council on Smoking and Health's 2014 national tobacco scoreboard last month for their proactive approach towards discouraging smoking.

Tasmanian Greens heath spokesperson Cassy O'Connor said the Liberals need to guarantee continued funding for the state's anti-smoking media campaign in August's budget.

``It is critical that these successful programs continue as Tasmania still has among the nation's highest smoking rates, especially among  pregnant women and teenagers,'' Ms O'Connor said.

``The National Tobacco Scoreboard highlights the need for continued reforms including divesting superannuation investments from tobacco, banning big tobacco political donations, and introducing smoke-free prisons.

``Tackling tobacco addiction is a key public health policy issue for current and future generations.''


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