Mr PEDERICK (Hammond) (11:07): I rise to support the motion:
That this house—
(a) acknowledges that 31 May is the UN World Tobacco Day;
(b) recognises the thousands of South Australian families impacted by the damage caused by smoking every year;
(c) continues to support measures to reduce the smoking rate, especially those designed to prevent young people from becoming smokers; and
(d) notes the significant policy progress made to reduce South Australian smoking rates over the past decade, including smoke-free outdoor dining areas.
As already stated, the global theme for World No Tobacco Day this year is tobacco and heart disease. Obviously, this highlights the fact that smoking is a major cause of heart disease and smokers are up to four times more likely to die from coronary heart disease than nonsmokers.
Smoking is responsible for an estimated 15,000 deaths in Australia each year, and approximately 1,140 deaths per year in South Australia. As catastrophic as our road toll is, at somewhere around 100 deaths per year in recent times, compared with this figure of 11 times more it shows the impact on the individual directly, obviously, and the loss to their families as well. Close to two in three long-term smokers will die prematurely due to smoking. It is estimated that close to $2.4 billion is lost to the state's economy each year in health costs and lost productivity related to smoking.
The Marshall Liberal government supports and will be implementing policies that encourage and enable individuals and communities to make healthy choices. As part of this, we on this side of the house also support investment in effective prevention strategies to reduce the number of South Australians who smoke or who are at risk of becoming smokers. Despite the decline in smoking in South Australia, evidence shows that driving further reductions, particularly among high-prevalence groups, requires a continuous effort.
Efforts focus on a strong mass media campaign with a strategy encouraging smokers to quit, and robust legislation around the sale, marketing and use of tobacco products. Quite frankly, I am not sure how people can afford to smoke. I think it is about $35 a packet or, as someone calculated recently, about a $1.04 a cigarette. I do not care what salary you are on; it is expensive for a habit. Obviously, there is a legislative framework around the pricing for that very reason. There is quite a high taxation regime around the sale of tobacco and cigarettes. Part of the continuous effort is about having smoking cessation support services such as the Quitline counselling service.
The Marshall Liberal government has a focus on the creation of smoke-free public areas that are designed to protect nonsmokers from passive smoking, reducing the visibility of smoking to children and assisting recent quitters to sustain their efforts. Reducing exposure to tobacco smoking will contribute to reducing rates of tobacco-related disease and reducing health service costs associated with those diseases.
Having grown up in an earlier time, I know it was quite prevalent to have cigarette smoking in bars. I think one of the initial cases was where a barperson took action against their employer about the risk—not just the risk—of contracting cancer in the workplace, so it is significant. For those of us who have been here a little while on this earth, it is how things were in the early days. I can remember when you were out socially there were a lot more people smoking. At work, if you had someone assisting on a farm, they might have been a smoker. Certainly, in the shearing teams I operated in smoking was quite prevalent. As part of the work, we will undertake a review of the effectiveness and scope of current legislation restricting smoking in outdoor dining areas. This review will address any loopholes in the existing legislation.
In regard to prisoners—and I acknowledge that I have Mobilong Prison in my electorate at Murray Bridge—to protect both prisoners and staff from the harms of passive smoking the government will also ensure that all South Australian prisons are smoke free by the end of 2019. So if there are any smokers out there who are keen to break the law, you might want to look at that because you will not be able to have a cigarette when you are inside. Appropriate support will be provided for both prisoners and staff as this important preventative health measure is implemented. I am sure that it will take some work, some counselling and other measures to make sure that gets through.
There will also be robust and consistent enforcement, which will be important to ensure that the effectiveness of tobacco control legislation in South Australia is maintained. This is in combination with strategies at the national level. The Marshall Liberal government does have a strong commitment to initiatives targeting preventative health care, such as tobacco control, which will reduce the pressure on hospitals and health services and will result in better health outcomes for all South Australians. Certainly in my lifetime I have noticed a marked difference in smoking rates wherever you are. In a social setting, we have seen hotels adjust, with more outdoor areas, beer gardens and, even with that, they might have separate smoking areas as well.
Let's face it: smoking is legal, it is highly taxed, but it is a severe health risk, which, as I have indicated, has a massive impost of multiple billions of dollars per year on the South Australian budget. It has to be managed through a health system that—quite frankly, we inherited it—is flat out. It has so much effect on not just the people in South Australia who are directly affected and die from smoking, the over 1,100 who lose their lives, but also the families who are missing out on that loved one who has gone too early.
In some of the advertising campaigns, especially those on television, there is a lady who has to work out how she is going to tell her children that basically she has a death sentence. It is the same for a man who suddenly realises that he has let it go too long and has to tell his wife and family that it is too late and that he should have given it up long before. I think those programs are very effective, as is the advertising on cigarette packets. It is not that I look at cigarette packets very often, but you can see some quite grotesque pictures of what your lungs or heart could look like if you keep up the habit of smoking.
Some people are lucky, but only a few can smoke all their lives. I had a grandfather who died at 86, and he smoked roll-your-own, but I think they are very rare. I do not think it was smoking that killed him in the end. There are a few, but they are very much a minority in that category. As I said in the speech, two out of three people who smoke die prematurely, and that is backed up by statistics. The more we can do to make sure that we do not have those poor outcomes the better, not just for the families, whose lives are significantly impacted, but also for the health system and everyone else who is impacted by the poor choice of smoking cigarettes.
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