Tobacco industry gets AMA Dirty Ashtray Award
THE tobacco industry’s “desperate and deceptive campaign” to oppose plain packaging legislation has earned it the AMA’s 2011 Dirty Ashtray Award, while the Commonwealth and WA Governments have been lauded for their efforts to combat smoking.
Outgoing AMA president Dr Andrew Pesce this morning congratulated Federal Health Minister Nicola Roxon on the Government’s efforts to reduce smoking rates over the past year.
The endorsement will be another blow to Opposition Leader Tony Abbott who has been under sustained pressure to back the Government’s proposal for plain packaging for tobacco products.
Two Liberal MPs and doctors, Andrew Southcott and Mal Washer, have already said they believe the legislation would reduce smoking rates.
The Dirty Ashtray award is normally given to a Government, but Dr Pesce said there had been so much progress around the country in relation to tobacco control that it wasn’t appropriate this year.
“The tobacco industry’s campaign against plain packaging – a measure recommended by international and national health authorities, including the AMA – has been disgraceful even by the industry’s own standards,” Dr Pesce said.
Dr Pesce also revealed the results of the Australian Council on Smoking and Health National Tobacco Scoreboard, which were topped this year by the Commonwealth and WA Governments.
The scoreboard allocates points to each state and territory in various categories, including legislation, to track how effective Governments have been at combating smoking in the previous 12 months.
Dr Pesce congratulated Ms Roxon for displaying national leadership and action on the fight against tobacco.
“The Government has a continuing commitment to tobacco control and world-leading legislation to mandate plain packaging,” he said.
“There can be no doubt that the Government, complemented by action taken by the states and territories, is leading the world in tobacco control.
“The Government of Western Australia should also be congratulated for leading the state/territory fight against tobacco control with their significant public education programs and a commitment to reject tobacco company donations.
“Western Australia has introduced a ban on smoking in cars carrying children, placing tobacco products out of sight at point of sale, smoke-free al fresco dining areas, mandating smoke-free children’s playgrounds and patrolled beaches.”