“ Preventive health measures reduce the rate of chronic ill health and improve the health and wellbeing of all Australians, leading to better and healthier lives.
As a nation, we spend woefully too little on preventive health – around two per cent of the overall health budget.
A properly resourced preventive health strategy, including national public education campaigns on issues such as smoking and obesity, is vital to helping Australians improve their lifestyles and quality of life.
The Australian Government must commit adequate resources to its proposed long-term national preventive health strategy, and work with GPs to help improve the health of all Australians.
AMA President, Dr Tony Bartone, who addressed the National Press Club as part of Family Doctor Week, said the AMA is looking forward to working on the strategy, which Health Minister, Greg Hunt, first announced in a video message to the AMA National Conference in May.
Download full speech HERE
” The Northern Territory Government has been judged to have been the worst-performing Australian government on tobacco control measures over the last 12 months, and shamed with the Dirty Ashtray Award for 2019.
This year is the 25th anniversary of the National Tobacco Control Scoreboard – run by the AMA and the Australian Council on Smoking and Health (ACOSH) – and the Northern Territory has managed to collect the dubious Dirty Ashtray Award 13 times.”
SEE Part 2 below NATIONAL TOBACCO CONTROL SCOREBOARD 2019
Part 1 AMA President, Dr Tony Bartone Prevention Press Release
“Family doctors – GPs – are best placed to manage preventive health, and can assist their patients in managing issues such as weight, alcohol consumption, physical activity, stress, substance use, and quitting smoking.
“Managing weight is a vital part of preventive health. Carrying excess weight contributes to cancers, high blood pressure, and musculoskeletal disorders like bad backs and neck pain. It also affects general health and wellbeing.
“Too many Australians drink at harmful levels, and this is dangerous to their health. Drinking in moderation, and within the guidelines, is a message all Australians should be aware of, and if you are worried about alcohol consumption, talk to your GP.
“Tobacco kills. There is no way to sugar coat the dangers of smoking. If you smoke, you increase your risk of coronary heart disease and cancer.
“Smoking can cause cancer of the lung, oesophagus, mouth, throat, kidney, bladder, liver, pancreas, stomach, cervix, colon, and rectum.
“If you want to quit smoking, start by seeing your family doctor.”
Dr Bartone will also announced the recipient of the 2019 Dirty Ashtray Award, which is presented to the government – Federal, State, or Territory – that has done the least over the past year to combat smoking.
AMA Family Doctor Week runs from 21 to 27 July 2019.
- In 2017-18, two-thirds of Australian adults and almost one-quarter of Australian children were overweight or obese.
- Coronary heart disease is the nation’s leading single cause of death.
- It is estimated that more than 1.2 million Australians have diabetes. The majority (85 per cent) have type 2 diabetes, which is largely preventable.
- In 2013, diabetes contributed to 10 per cent of all deaths in Australia.
- Tobacco is the leading cause of cancer in Australia.
- In 2014-15, more than 1.6 million Australian males aged 15 years and over smoked, 90 per cent of whom smoked daily.
- More than 1.2 million Australian females aged 15 years and over smoked, 91 per cent of whom smoked daily.
- About one in 10 mothers smoked in the first 20 weeks of pregnancy.
- In 2016, 57 per cent of daily smokers were aged over 40, and 20 per cent of daily smokers lived in remote and very remote areas of Australia.
- Daily tobacco smoking has been trending downward since 1991, from 24 per cent to 12 per cent in 2016.
- The proportion of people choosing never to take up smoking has increased to 62 per cent in 2016, from 51 per cent in 2001.
- In 2016, almost one in three (31 per cent) current smokers aged 14 and over have used e-cigarettes.
- Of current smokers in secondary school aged 16-17, more than one-quarter (26 per cent) smoked daily.
Sources: Australian Bureau of Statistics’ National Health Survey, Australian Institute of Health and Welfare, Heart Foundation.
Part 2 NATIONAL TOBACCO CONTROL SCOREBOARD 2019
The Northern Territory Government has been judged to have been the worst-performing Australian government on tobacco control measures over the last 12 months, and shamed with the Dirty Ashtray Award for 2019.
This year is the 25th anniversary of the National Tobacco Control Scoreboard – run by the AMA and the Australian Council on Smoking and Health (ACOSH) – and the Northern Territory has managed to collect the dubious Dirty Ashtray Award 13 times.
In contrast, the Queensland Government has achieved a remarkable hat trick by topping the scoring to win the coveted National Tobacco Control Scoreboard Achievement Award for leading the nation in tobacco control measures.
AMA President, Dr Tony Bartone, today released the results of the AMA/Australian Council on Smoking and Health (ACOSH) National Tobacco Control Scoreboard 2019 at the National Press Club in Canberra.
Dr Bartone congratulated Queensland on its strong consistent record in stopping people from smoking, and urged the Northern Territory to build momentum with its efforts on tobacco control, while noting the NT Government had amended and strengthened its tobacco control legislation earlier this year.
“The Queensland Government has continued to protect its community from second-hand smoke in a range of outdoor public areas including public transport, outdoor shopping malls, and sports and recreation facilities,” Dr Bartone said.
“Queensland Health is well ahead of other health services in recording smoking status, delivering brief intervention, and referring patients to evidence-based smoking cessation support such as Quitline.
“The Making Tracks – toward closing the gap in health outcomes for Indigenous Queenslanders by 2033 – Policy and Accountability Framework indicates a commitment to reducing smoking among Indigenous communities.
“Funding continues for the B.Strong Brief Intervention training program to strengthen primary healthcare services for Indigenous smokers by increasing the brief intervention skills of health professionals, access to culturally effective resources, and referral to Quitline.
“A dedicated smoking cessation website – QuitHQ – has been developed for the Queensland community, which includes quit support, information for health professionals, and smoking laws. Promotion of QuitHQ includes on-line messages and billboards.”
Dr Bartone said that the Northern Territory is showing signs of moving ahead with stronger tobacco control programs, but we are yet to see solid action and proper funding.
“The NT Government has published a new Tobacco Action Plan 2019-2023 stressing the need for media campaigns, smoke-free spaces, sustaining quit attempts and preventing relapse, and identifying priority populations,” Dr Bartone said.
“But these good intentions are yet to be backed with the necessary funding.”
Dr Bartone said the AMA would like to see the Federal Government take on a greater leadership role to drive stronger nationally coordinated tobacco control to stop people smoking and stop people taking up the killer habit.
“The Federal Government has not run a major, national media campaign against smoking since 2012-13, when plain packaging was introduced,” Dr Bartone said.
“Nor has it implemented any further product regulation or constraints on tobacco marketing in that time.
“We would like to see the National Tobacco Campaign reinstated with additional and sustained funding.
“The $20 million announced during the Federal election health debate is a welcome start, but falls well short of the $40 million a year that is needed for a sustained public education program.
“That is a mere 0.24 per cent of the $17 billion the Government expects to reap from tobacco taxes in 2019-20.
“The Government should also implement a systemic approach to providing support for all smokers to quit when they come into contact with health services.
“These key ingredients should be part of the Minister’s commitment, first announced at the AMA National Conference in May, to develop a National Preventive Health Strategy in consultation with the AMA and other health and medical bodies.
“Smoking remains the leading cause of preventable death and disease in Australia, causing 19,000 premature deaths each year.
“Two-thirds of all current Australian smokers are likely to be killed by their smoking. That is a staggering 1.8 million people.
“While Australia is a world leader in tobacco control, more needs to be done to help people quit smoking, or not take it up in the first place.
“Big Tobacco is attempting to distract attention from evidence-based measures that will reduce smoking, while promoting itself as being concerned about health.
“This is particularly outrageous from an industry whose products kill more than seven million people each year.
“It is crucial that Australia maintains its strong evidence-based policies and avoids being diverted by Big Tobacco’s new distraction strategies, particularly following disturbing evidence from the US and Canada about the epidemic of youth e-cigarette use.
“We must remain vigilant against any attempts to normalise smoking, or make it appealing to young people.
“This includes following the advice of the National Health and Medical Research Council and the Therapeutic Goods Administration in regulating e-cigarettes, and not allowing them to be marketed as quit smoking aids until such time as there is scientific evidence that they are safe and effective.”
The AMA/ACOSH National Tobacco Control Scoreboard is compiled annually to measure performance in combating smoking.
Judges from the Australian Council on Smoking and Health (ACOSH), the Cancer Councils, and the National Heart Foundation allocate points to the State, Territory, and Australian Governments in various categories, including legislation, to track how effective each has been at combating smoking in the previous 12 months.
No jurisdiction received an A or B rating this year or last year.
AMA/ACOSH Award – Judges’ Comments
This year is the Silver Anniversary of the AMA/ACOSH National Tobacco Control Scoreboard.
Since the introduction of the Award in 1994, daily smoking in Australia has halved from 26.1% in 1993 to 12.8% in 2016.
Importantly, the proportion of 12 to 17-year-old school students who have never smoked in their life has increased significantly from 33% in 1984 to 82% in 2017.
Australia has led the world in its implementation of a comprehensive approach to reduce smoking.
Since the early 1990s, Australia has implemented the following strategies to reduce smoking, many of which have been duplicated in other countries around the globe:
We call on the Australian, State and Territory Governments to implement the following recommendations:
- allocate adequate funding from tobacco revenue (predicted to be $17 billion in 2019/2020) to ensure strong media campaigns at evidence-based levels;
- ban all remaining forms of tobacco marketing and promotion and legislate to keep up with innovative tobacco industry strategies;
- implement tobacco product regulation to decrease the palatability and appeal of tobacco products;
- implement comprehensive action, including legislation, in line with Article 5.3 of the Framework Convention on Tobacco Control (FCTC) to protect public health policy from direct and indirect tobacco industry interference, and ban tobacco industry political donations;
- implement positive retail licensing schemes for all jurisdictions;
- implement best practice support for smoking cessation across all health care settings;
- ensure consistent funding for programs that will decrease smoking among Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islanders and other groups with a high prevalence of smoking; and
- ensure further protection for the community from the harms of second-hand smoke.