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  • Critical action on smoking will save lives

    21 May 2014

    Cancer Council SA has welcomed the State Government’s action on smoking in alfresco dining areas and reinstating funding for critical advertising to encourage South Australians to quit smoking.

    The two measures are a fundamental part of addressing tobacco related illness in South Australia and Cancer Council SA has remained committed to addressing the need for action on both issues.

    Last year, Cancer Council SA launched a major smoke-free alfresco drinking and dining push with a postcard and online campaign demanding decisive action.

    Cancer Council SA, Chief Executive, Professor Brenda Wilson, said the public response to the campaign, combined with the evidence, showed the Government it was time for action on smoke-free alfresco dining.

    “We were delighted with the response we received from people right across the State and we welcome this action from the Government in response to people’s concerns,” Professor Wilson said.

    “No amount of exposure to cigarette smoke is safe and this measure will protect workers, drinkers and diners outside of pubs and clubs, as well as those inside.

    “South Australia was one of only two states yet to do something about banning smoking in alfresco settings, confirming the time had come for action to be taken.

    “Studies have shown that smoke-free policies cause a decline in major illnesses including cancer, increase quitting among smokers and reduce tobacco use among youth.

    “In addition, evidence disproves the line often used as a scare tactic that this measure will cost jobs, with evidence showing that the introduction of smoke free policies actually results in a net increase in patronage.

    “South Australians should be able to enjoy alfresco areas without putting their health at risk from second hand smoke.”

    Cancer Council SA also welcomed the State Government’s decision to reinstate the funding for anti-tobacco media campaigns.

    “The evidence is clear that media campaigns have played a significant role in reducing the State’s smoking rate over the past decade and it is very important for this funding to continue,” Professor Wilson added.

    “It is vital for smokers, and the wider public, to be reminded regularly of the deadly consequences of tobacco use as well as inhaling second smoke. In addition, to couple this with support and assistance for people wanting and trying to quit.

    “In the absence of advertising, the Quitline had seen a dramatic decrease in the number of people seeking assistance and we have no doubt this drop would have been reflected in other measures people take to give up smoking.

    “The evidence tells us that anti-smoking mass media has the lowest cost per quitter and also encourages recent quitters to remain quit and discourages the uptake of smoking.

    “Tobacco control media campaigns have been a key driver in reducing smoking rates across the State from 23.6% in 2003 to 16.7% last year, and it is no coincidence that rates have increased since advertising ceased.

    “Tobacco kills around 20 South Australians every week, outweighing total deaths from alcohol and other drugs combined, and tobacco use is estimated to cost South Australia 57,275 hospital bed days annually with a cost to the health system of $24 million. 

    “These are both significant decisions, and as we approach World No Tobacco Day on 31 May, we look forward to both measures having an immediate positive impact on the health of the community once implemented.”

    Anyone wanting advice on how to quit smoking should call the Quitline on 13 78 48 or visit www.quitsa.org.au.

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