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CAMPAIGN: Smokers endorse bid to raise age to 21

A CAMPAIGN to raise the minimum age people will be allowed to buy tobacco products is gaining momentum across the country.
A CAMPAIGN to raise the minimum age people will be allowed to buy tobacco products is gaining momentum across the country. Contributed

WARWICK smokers and non-smokers alike think a push to raise the legal cigarette buying age is a good move.

The Don't Smoke 21 campaign, which is being fronted by rugby league superstar Johnathan Thurston, is all about increasing the minimum legal age to purchase tobacco products to 21, in an attempt to reduce tobacco use among young people, save lives and help make the next generation tobacco-free.

Carbal Medical Centre Tackle Indigenous Smoking co-ordinator Melissa Chalmers said she thought it was a great idea.

"We are all about getting people to quit smoking," she said.

"And our target is mainly young people, we don't want them to take up smoking at all so raising the age that people can legally tobacco products would be a very good start."

Miss Chalmers said the stopping people from starting in the first place was key.

"It's mostly about awareness," she said.

"To really get the point of the harms of smoking across, and it's true that most people do start smoking young.

"To me it's sort of similar to the rising cost of cigarettes - lots of people who come here for help with quitting, they don't come due to their health, it's because of the continually rising cost of cigarettes.

"So these little changes do make a difference eventually and this campaign may have that effect too."

Research shows 18 and 19 years old smokers are a major supplier of cigarettes for younger kids, who rely on friends and classmates to buy them and that 19 out of 20 adult smokers become daily smokers before the age of 21.

Warwick smoker Tiayla Carr said the campaign was on the right track.

"I started at 15 and wish I hadn't," she said.

"Making this change might stop other young people from making the same mistake I did."

Every year tobacco kills 15,000 Australians, which is more than drug and alcohol deaths and road fatalities combined.

Tobacco is the single greatest preventable cause of death and disease in the world and campaign mission statement saysprevention and cessation must be addressed.

The campaign is being run by the Eliminate Cancer Initiative Tobacco program, which is a global tobacco control effort that integrates policy, education and services to eliminate tobacco use for the next generation.

Research shows 18 and 19 years old smokers are a major supplier of cigarettes for younger kids, who rely on friends and classmates to buy them and that 19 out of 20 adult smokers become daily smokers before the age of 21.

The campaign hopes increasing the minimum legal age to purchase tobacco products to 21 will help reduce tobacco use among young people leading to a decrease in tobacco use by 12 percent and deaths by percent.

More information can be found at www.stopsmokingbeforeitstarts.org.au

Topics:  don't smoke 21



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