The Hodgman Liberal Government is developing a bold new strategy to improve the way we manage and invest in preventative health. With the Budget back on track we are able to commit an additional $2.6 million to support priorities in our Healthy Tasmania Five Year Strategic Plan, which will be finalised for release by the end of June.

This funding will help tackle the major health risks of smoking and obesity.

The Healthy Tasmania Five Year Strategic Plan is a key element of our One Health system reforms and is about supporting people to remain healthy and out of hospital.

The Strategic Plan will:

o Look at the best ways of evaluating the effectiveness, reach and value of preventative health programs.

o Provide further detail on preventative health models which encourage collaboration between organisations and sectors, and empower people to better manage their own health and wellbeing.

o Reflect evidence and consultation on issues such as our proposal to increase the legal smoking age to 21 or 25.

A recent analysis of smoking rates in Tasmania suggests an alarming increase in smoking among under 24 year olds of more than six percent. *

Raising the smoking age would target the most at risk age group for smoking uptake and also deal with the key issue of secondary supply to teenagers.

Between 2008 and 2012, 2512 Tasmanians died from smoking-related diseases – almost four times more than the next biggest cause of death.

Tackling smoking rates and obesity are of critical importance as the Government strives to make Tasmania the healthiest state in the country by 2025.

Encouraging healthy habits early will also help us achieve this goal, which is why the 2016-17 Budget also includes $2 million to support Tasmanian Government schools to promote student health.

*Martyn Goddard, ABS data analysis, May 2016.

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