Labor knows implementing sound preventative health policies will ensure a healthier community, and reduce the demand on Tasmania’s public health system.
That is why a Labor Government will close the loophole that allows the sale of e-cigarettes to children and reduce access to sugar drinks.
Reducing Access To Sugar Drinks
It is a priority for Labor to prevent children becoming overweight so that they don’t face the lifetime of health risks associated with obesity.
In Government Labor will phase out the sale of soft drinks in public school canteens and the provision of soft drink in vending machines in schools. We will work with school canteen managers as well as existing programs such as Move Well Eat Well and the School Canteen Association to ensure this policy can be successfully implemented.
It is widely acknowledged that excessive consumption of sugar leads to a range of health issues including tooth decay, weight gain and obesity which can cause diabetes, cardiovascular disease and some cancers. Alarmingly the 2013 State of Public Health report found that Tasmania had the second highest rate of overweight and obese children in the country.
Labor will use the approach developed by the Cancer Council, Diabetes Australia and Heart Foundation’s ‘rethink sugary drink’ campaign. This will provide realistic guidelines on healthier alternatives for stocking vending machines and other retail outlets in some public buildings, including hospitals.
We understand that food and drink retail outlets in hospitals are staffed with volunteers from our hard working hospital auxiliaries. We will work with these groups over the first term of government to phase in new products to replace the existing sugar sweetened drinks that are currently sold.
Closing The Loophole For Electronic Cigarettes
A core part of Labor’s preventative health strategy will be to close the loophole that allows the sale of e-cigarettes to children.
In Government in 2018 Labor will immediately introduce amendments to the Public Health Act 1997 to regulate the sale and use of electronic cigarettes (also called e-cigarettes, e-cigars or vape pens).
Evidence from overseas tells us that e-cigarettes are being aggressively marketed to young people and that many teenagers have tried, or regularly use, e-cigarettes. There is considerable risk that e-cigarettes normalise smoking behaviour and will lead to younger Tasmanians taking up tobacco products.
E-cigarette cartridges come in an extensive range of flavourings, which are targeted at young people. With Tasmania’s youth smoking rates already the highest in the country, regulating e-cigarettes is a practical step to reduce harm.
Regulation would ensure that e-cigarettes are treated in the same way as tobacco products, which means that they would not be able to be: sold to young people under the age of 18; used in existing no-smoking indoor and outdoor places; and advertised, promoted or displayed at retail outlets.