An analysis of smoking rates released today by health analyst Martyn Goddard indicates that while smoking is decreasing overall in Tasmania, there is an alarming increase in smoking among younger Tasmanians, aged under 24.

Reducing the uptake of young smokers is a priority for the Hodgman Liberal Government as part of our Healthy Tasmania Plan. That is why the Government has put forward a proposal to raise the legal smoking age to 21 or 25.

Research and practical evidence from overseas supports raising the minimum legal smoking age as an effective way to target the most at-risk age category for smoking uptake and the key problem of secondary supply to teens.

Mr Goddard concludes “Raising the smoking age to 21 or 25 is a logical next step, and should avoid the hazards of outright prohibition inherent in the smoke-free generation proposal.”

Increasing the legal smoking age would simply be an extension of existing laws, which are understood and work well.

Retailers would be subject to the same monitoring and compliance checks as at present, and would simply be required to check a different number on a person’s identification card in compliance with a new law.

Any change to the legal smoking age would be phased in over time. And as we’ve made clear, any move to raise the minimum legal smoking age would be part of a range of continuing measures aimed at reducing smoking uptake and encouraging smokers to quit.

This will continue to de-normalise smoking and the idea that smoking is ever safe.

Reducing the uptake of smoking by young people while encouraging existing smokers to quit remain priorities for the Tasmanian Government as part of our goal for Tasmania to be the healthiest state by 2025.

We are pleased at the interest and supportive comments we have received from public health stakeholders on this proposal as part of our consultation process on preventative health measures.

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