Cancer Council Australia

Annual Review 2015-2016

Tobacco control

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Tobacco smoking is the single largest preventable cause of cancer deaths in Australia and the world. Two in three Australian smokers die prematurely of smoking-causes disease, with cancer being the leading cause of death.

Cancer Council develops and advocates for improved tobacco control policy and measures to reduce smoking-related deaths and illness in Australia and globally.

Priorities and actions are guided by our Tobacco Issues Committee, a joint committee of Cancer Council Australia and the National Heart Foundation of Australia.

Excise increase welcomed

In May 2016 Cancer Council applauded the Australian Government’s decision to increase tax on tobacco, a measure that will significantly reduce cancer deaths in Australia.

On Cancer Council analysis, around 320,000 adult Australian smokers would quit and 40,000 teenagers would be deterred from taking up smoking because of the excise increase announced in the 2016-17 federal budget and supported by both government and opposition.

Evidence shows increasing the cost of tobacco products through tax increases is effective in reducing smoking rates, particularly for people on lower incomes, who bear much of the burden of smoking-caused disease in Australia, and young people.

Dealing with smoke drift

It is well known that second-hand smoke is a health hazard, especially for children, and that there is no safe level of exposure.

While fewer people are smoking inside their homes, home-based exposure to second-hand smoke is still a major problem. People who live in multi-unit housing are more likely to be exposed to second-hand smoke compared to those living in separate housing. This is largely due to “smoke drift”, because smoke from cigarettes can’t be easily contained within a smoker’s unit or smoking areas.

In June 2016 Cancer Council published a position statement on addressing smoke infiltration in multi-unit housing. Our statement summarised the evidence for the hazards of second-hand smoke drift and recommended actions by state and territory governments to address it, including strata regulatory frameworks, a model by-law for owners corporations and prohibiting smoking in specific common areas and building entrances.

This page was last updated on: Friday, October 21, 2016