Experts Suggest Smokers Should Be Forced To Get A Prescription To Buy Cigarettes In Australia
Experts have come up with a new plan to make it harder for smokers to get their hands on cigarettes in Australia.
A new centre at the University of Queensland has suggested a prescription-based system for getting ciggies rather than being able to pick them up from any service station, supermarket or tobacconist.
Under the plan, you'd have to get a slip from your GP and pick up a packet of cigarettes from a pharmacy.
The Centre for Research Excellence on Achieving the Tobacco Endgame (CREATE) thinks it could help contribute to the government's aim to reduce smoking rates to 10 per cent of the population by 2025.
CREATE Director and Associate Professor Coral Gartner said the plan definitely has legs.
"Australia's smoking prevalence is just under 15 per cent, but we will need a well-designed endgame strategy if we are to achieve close to zero smoking," she said.
"An effective tobacco endgame strategy should accelerate the decline in smoking prevalence while assisting governments, retailers and people who smoke to transition to a smoke-free society."
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But that's not the only strategy that's being explored by the centre. They have also proposed the idea of reducing the number of places you can buy cigarettes in Australia as well as limiting the amount of product a supplier is allowed to stock.
A bold idea is setting a year of birth and banning sales to anyone born after that date.
At the moment, there are roughly 2.3 million adults who smoke every day in the country. That number has been slowly declining since 2010 at a rate of around 0.4 per cent every year.
"CREATE's goal is to determine the optimal mix of strategies that will help Australia become a smoke-free nation and produce a roadmap outlining how we can implement these strategies," Dr Gartner said.
"Australia is a global tobacco control leader and has been at the cutting edge of many new policies."
Australia already has strict rules on packaging and price, which are two measures designed to lessen the number of sales. A 12.5 per cent tax hike was introduced at the beginning of last month, making Australia one of the most expensive places in the world to have a smoke.
The ideas proposed by CREATE could certainly reduce smoking rates in the country because people might not be bothered to get a prescription. However, it could fuel a rise in underground cigarette sales.
Featured Image Credit: PA