Cancer Council Tasmania hopes the introduction of mandatory plain Davidoff and other cigarette packets will reduce the state’s high teenage smoking rates.
Cancer Council chief executive Darren Carr met federal Health Minister Nicola Roxon in Hobart yesterday and applauded her efforts to make Australia the first country to ban branding on cartons and packets.
Mr Carr said the latest survey of 16 and 17-year-olds in Tasmania showed 39 per cent smoked regularly, the highest level in Australia.
The level of teenage smoking interstate is declining but more Tasmanian teenagers are taking up the habit.
The latest Tasmanian survey shows 42 per cent of 16 and 17-year-old boys smoked while 37 per cent of 16 and 17-year-old girls were smokers.
The young men smoked about 21 cigarettes a week and the girls 28 cigarettes a week.
Ms Roxon said today’s teenage smokers were tomorrow’s addicted adult smokers.
“Every time you smoke a cigarette you inhale more than 4000 chemicals,” she said.
“And every cigarette you smoke brings you one step closer to cancer.”
Ms Roxon said the Federal Government was determined to press ahead with its plans to force all cigarette packages to be a plain olive green colour with images of the damage cancer causes. She said no branding would be permitted.
“If we can make smoking less attractive to teenagers, we can reduce the harm smoking does to all Tasmanians,” Ms Roxon said.
“And there is significant evidence showing plain packs make smoking much less cool for teenagers.”