NT heads anti-tobacco action
The Northern Territory continued to top the nation in anti-tobacco action while Tasmania fell to last place, health experts said.
The Australian Medical Association (AMA) and the Australian Council on Smoking and Health (ACOSH) revealed their annual ranking of states and territories in the "Dirty Ashtray Awards" on the eve of World No Tobacco Day.
AMA president Bill Glasson, who announced the awards at the end of the association's national conference in Brisbane, said initiatives in the NT to control tobacco use had kept it at the top of the tobacco control rankings.
At the same time, Queensland, which won the Dirty Ashtray Award last year as the worst performed state, made a dramatic leap to pass Western Australia, New South Wales and Victoria, leaving Tasmania on the bottom.
Dr Glasson said the Northern Territory's second consecutive win on the AMA/ACOSH National Tobacco Scoreboard was a result of its remarkable leadership in legislating tobacco control measures in 2003-04, particularly in the way tobacco products were displayed for sale.
"Point-of-sale displays is where the Territory has led other States," Dr Glasson said.
"Retailers are only allowed to display one pack of each type with other packs out of sight."
He said the Territory had also done a lot of work to educate retailers as a part of a growing emphasis on enforcement.
"South Australia and the ACT have both shown leadership in relation to smoke-free hotels and clubs, however they are still behind in other areas," Dr Glasson said.
He said South Australia had come second, just ahead of the ACT, followed by Queensland and Western Australia.
Dr Glasson said New South Wales and Victoria both appeared to have lost the momentum in anti-tobacco campaigns to tie for second last, with Tasmania rated as the most disappointing performer despite strong calls in the state for funding for Quit campaigns.
"Tasmania came very close to getting the 'Dirty Ashtray Award' last year," Dr Glasson said.
"It appears there is poor planning in relation to tobacco control in Tasmania with still no finalisation of a Tobacco Action Plan, even though work has been undertaken on it over several years.
"Quit campaigns have not been adequately resourced and the Tasmanian Government has failed to bite the bullet and ban smoking in the hospitality sector."
Dr Glasson said Queensland's improvement was the result of unanimous all-party support in parliament for a ban on smoking in pubs, clubs and the casino.