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Ban tobacco and vape political donations: RACGP


Jolyon Attwooll


18/07/2023 1:01:07 PM

It is among the college suggestions for proposed laws aimed at ensuring Australia remains a ‘world leader’ in tobacco control.

Cigarettes and cash
The Government says legislation will restore Australia's place as a 'world leader' in tobacco control.

No tobacco or vaping industry company should be allowed to donate to any political party, the RACGP has said.
 
The call was made in a submission to the Department of Health and Aged Care (DoH) about draft tobacco legislation, which the RACGP President Dr Nicole Higgins has broadly welcomed, saying the college is ‘a strong advocate’ for smoking cessation.
 
As well as reiterating the college’s support for a clampdown on vaping advertising, she suggested strengthening existing donation laws.
 
‘In addition to advertising and sponsorship prohibitions, the RACGP recommends stronger provision to stop tobacco and/or vaping industry donations to political parties or individual politicians,’ Dr Higgins wrote.
 
‘These provisions need to apply to entities that might be acting on behalf of the tobacco and/or vaping industry.’
 
The Labor Party and the Liberal Party do not accept donations from tobacco industry players, but other parties do. In 2021–22 for example, Philip Morris Limited donated $110,000 to political parties, split between Liberal Democratic party and the National Party.
 
The RACGP said more funding will be needed to keep tabs on stricter sponsorship and advertising regulation, noting in particular the challenges of product placement on social media sites such as TikTok.
 
‘Further clarity is sought around which Commonwealth body [or] agency will have the role of monitoring and enforcement,’ Dr Higgins wrote.
 
The college is also recommending expanding the scope of the proposed laws to include heated tobacco, as well as adapting legislation to cover the possibility of further emerging tobacco products.
 
‘In general, the package is a good step forward and will provide improved consistency in the regulatory control of tobacco and e-cigarettes at the Commonwealth level,’ the RACGP President said.
 
Further recommendations include ensuring that heated tobacco products are covered by plain packaging legislation, and scrapping an exception that would allow the export of banned products such as chewing tobacco and snuffs.
 
‘The RACGP strongly supports all of the proposed packaging and product requirements, including standardisation of sizing,’ the submission states.
 
‘In particular, the exclusion of any terminology that may imply a less harmful product, such as a “lighter” tobacco product, or promotion of properties of filters that imply improved safety, is essential.’
 
The laws are likely to cut down on tobacco use further, according to the RACGP, which also acknowledged the ‘great strides’ that have already occurred on that front in Australia.
 
It noted, however, cohorts that continue to have higher rates of tobacco use, including those with a mental illness, Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people, and those experiencing addiction issues.
 
‘Services and resources supporting smoking cessation need to be more easily accessible to these harder-to-reach groups,’ Dr Higgins wrote.
 
The submission is part of a consultation to suggested law changes designed to strengthen tobacco control legislation, with the Federal Health and Aged Care Minister Mark Butler flagging the Government’s intent to tighten regulation of vaping and tobacco products last year.
 
Under the plans, the Government is looking to consolidate all of Australia’s current tobacco measures into one act, as well as adding extra measures including further deterrents and improved graphic warnings, a standardised size, and a ban on flavours such as menthol.
 
The Government released its National Tobacco Strategy 2023–2030 in May, with an aim to reduce smoking prevalence to less than 10% by 2025 and to less than 5% by 2030, as well as cut daily smoking rates among Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people to 27% by the latter date.
 
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newsGP weekly poll Which of the below incentive amounts (paid annually) would be sufficient to encourage you to provide eight consultations and two care plans to a residential aged care patient per year?
 
0%
 
1%
 
3%
 
4%
 
34%
 
54%
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newsGP weekly poll Which of the below incentive amounts (paid annually) would be sufficient to encourage you to provide eight consultations and two care plans to a residential aged care patient per year?

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