Labor committed to better health outcomes
Labor will make preventative health a central part of its policy platform ahead of the next election.
Shadow Health Minister Rebecca White said a healthier community will reduce the pressure on Tasmania’s public hospital system.
Two initiatives included in Labor’s broader preventative health policy focus on sugary drinks in schools and the regulation of e-cigarettes & vaporises.
At the heart of both initiatives is a desire to help Tasmania’s young people make the best decisions for their health.
When it comes to soft drinks, Labor will adopt the approach developed by the Cancer Council, Diabetes Australia and the Heart Foundation.
“The ‘Rethink Sugary Drink’ campaign provides realistic guidelines on healthier alternatives for stocking vending machines and other retail outlets in public buildings, including schools and hospitals,” Ms White said.
“In schools we will work with existing programs such as Move Well Eat Well, the School Canteen Association and with canteen managers to ensure this policy can be successfully implemented.
“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.
“This is about setting the right example, not banning products from public buildings altogether.
“It’s about making healthy choices and encouraging children and adults to choose water more regularly as their drink of choice.
“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.
Ms White said Labor would immediately move to close the loop hole that allows e-cigarettes to be legally sold to people under the age of 18.
“It is completely unacceptable that e-cigarettes can currently be legally marketed and sold to young people,” Ms White said.
“Labor strongly opposes the normalisation of smoking.
“There is a danger that the use of e-cigarettes by children will lead to tobacco use later in life.
Ms White said there was a need for further research into the health effects and possible harms stemming from the use of e-cigarettes, including the passive inhalation of vapour.
“Regulation is a sensible precautionary measure that will bring e-cigarettes into line with other tobacco products. This means that e-cigarettes would not be able to be sold to young people under the age of 18, used in existing no-smoking indoor and outdoor places or advertised, promoted or displayed at retail outlets.”