As a new television advertising campaign rolls out promoting lifting the age of cigarette sales to Tasmanians aged over 21, the Menzies Centre is researching what drives young people to smoke.
The advertising campaign is being funded by the Minderoo Foundation which wants Tasmania to be the first state in Australia to ban sales of tobacco products to people under 21.
The Legislative Council has voted down a motion to form a select committee into Windermere independent MLC Ivan Dean's proposed legislation for the legal age for Tasmanians to buy tobacco products to be lifted from 18 to 21`incrementally over three years.
Minderoo spokesman Bruce Mansfield said Tasmania had the second highest smoking rate in Australia and a recent poll showed 78 per cent of Tasmanians supported Tobacco21.
"Our new campaign aims to keep tobacco control on the government and community's agenda, as a reminder that we need to do more to protect our kids from addiction," Mr Mansfield said.
Mr Dean is hopeful his legislation will pass in 2020.
"Tasmania's smoking rates are shameful, and it is our responsibility to take action to prevent youth smoking," Mr Dean said.
"It's frustrating that Tasmania continues to have a lack of action on Tobacco21, despite bipartisan recognition that we need to do more to protect young people from nicotine addiction, and the existing body of evidence supporting the effectiveness of this proposal."
Associate Professor Seana Gall from the Menzies Institute for Medical Research said the year-long research, which began in September, would provide "some fundamental understanding of the drivers of smoking in younger people that are important for the current tobacco 21 debate".
"We are doing some grassroots research to understand the drivers of smoking among young people in Tasmania," Associate Professor Gall said.
"We'll do this using some existing data on smoking from local and national surveys, as well as by doing interviews with young people directly.
"In these interviews we will be directly asking the young people of Tasmania about their opinion of the proposed increase the minimum legal purchase age to 21.
"Uptake among young people is quite influenced by peers and parents smoking, while people struggling to quit is heavily influenced by their addiction to nicotine."
Associate Professor Gall that by taking directly to young Tasmanians about the proposed law change it could lead help implementation and" provide a baseline against which we can compare if the legislation is passed".
"We should recognise that there has been a reduction in smoking prevalence in Tasmania over time, which is a credit to successive governments as well as non-government organisations committing to address this problem," she said.
"However, we know from previous experience that when it comes to tackling smoking we need to continually innovate.
"For example, plain packaging legislation, which was really an unknown, had a substantial effect on smoking in Australia.
"So, I'd like to encourage the community, business sector and elected members to consider the potential benefits of Tobacco21 as one part of the suite of measures that we can use to bring down smoking in Tasmania."
The television advertising campaign will run for two weeks.