Smokers could be made to buy cigarettes with a prescription or at a pharmacy, in a bold new anti-smoking plan aiming to phase out smoking in Australia.
The ambitious plan to stub out cigarettes for good is being explored by a new centre at the University of Queensland.
The Director for the Centre for Research Excellence on Achieving the Tobacco Endgame (CREATE), Associate Professor Coral Gartner, said the centre’s goal would help Australia become a smoke-free nation.
“Australia’s smoking prevalence is just under 15 per cent, but we will need a well-designed endgame strategy if we are to achieve close to zero smoking,” she said.
Strategies that will be explored include reducing the number of tobacco retailers and restricting sales to particular suppliers.
Other endgame strategies include ending sales to everyone born after a certain year and phasing out commercial cigarette sales.
Gartner says the centre will focus on working out what an appropriate endgame target and timeframe should be.
“An effective tobacco endgame strategy should accelerate the decline in smoking prevalence while assisting governments, retailers and people who smoke to transition to a smoke-free society,” she said.
The Australian government currently has a goal of reducing smoking prevalence to 10 per cent by 2025.
Currently, about 2.3 million people smoke tobacco daily in Australia – less than 15 per cent of the adult population.
Smoking prevalence has been decreasing at a slow average rate of about 0.4 per cent per year since 2010.
It causes almost one in seven deaths.
The UQ centre will involve researchers from Australia, New Zealand and Canada.