No smoking under 21? Age change backed by Queenslanders
MORE than 75 per cent of Queenslanders say they support a push to increase the age of purchase for cigarettes from 18 to 21 as part of a plan to reduce tobacco-related deaths.
Spearheaded by mining billionaire Andrew Forrest and championed by NRL great Johnathan Thurston, the Eliminate Cancer Initiative aims to halt Australia's soaring rate of cancer deaths.
"Right now, half a million Queenslanders smoke every day," Mr Forrest said.
"Half of them will die from their addiction. Imagine if we could have stopped these Queenslanders from smoking until they turned 21, knowing research shows us if we get them to 21 the chances are they will never smoke at all."
The Galaxy polling conducted across four Queensland electorates showed high support for the age law changes, with 75 per cent of people saying they would like to see the change implemented.
"We know from research that 95 per cent of smokers start before they are 21. Research also tells us that if we can stop young people from taking up the habit by that age, they are unlikely to ever smoke," Mr Forrest said.
"The economic and health cost to Queensland was $6.3 billion last year, so economically this should be a no-brainer for the next government."
North Queensland Cowboys captain Thurston is the face of the campaign, which kicked off this week.
Should the legal smoking age be raised to 21?
This poll ended on 30 November 2017.
Yes, it will improve the health of youth.
No, young people will just acquire tobacco illegally.
Smoking should just be banned entirely.
This is not a scientific poll. The results reflect only the opinions of those who chose to participate.
"The driving force behind me being in this campaign is I've got three young daughters and I want the state governments to take the initiative and raise the age for buying cigarettes from 18 to 21," Mr Thurston said.
"I'm hopeful that my kids, when they grow older, will never have to be around smoking."
Mr Thurston said smoking was prolific in the indigenous population.
"I'm alarmed that for my culture, indigenous Australians, it's nearly double the national average out there smoking," he said.
"I want our culture to be around for many years to come and I know that tobacco is a big issue in our communities and it's killing our indigenous Australians."