About 45,000 Australian teenagers will start smoking in 2007 and about half of them will ultimately be killed by smoking-related diseases, the Parliamentary Secretary to the Minister for Health and Ageing, Christopher Pyne, warned yesterday as he launched the Australian Government’s new $25 million National Tobacco Youth Campaign.
Yesterday marked the second stage of a campaign launched in February this year. The first stage (see my post at The Inspiration Room Daily) introduced tobacco product packaging with graphic warnings about gangrene. The second stage is aimed at two audiences. The primary target audience, young people between 12 and 24 years of age, will be encouraged to reject smoking. The secondary audience, parents who smoke, will be encouraged to quit smoking in order to discourage children from smoking.
An excerpt from Christopher Pyne’s press release:
The most recent national figures from the Australian Institute of Health and Welfare show that the rate for Australians aged over 14 years who smoke daily has fallen from 19.5 per cent in 2001 to 17.4 per cent in 2004. This is among the lowest of any country in the world. Significantly, the downward trends correspond with periods of National Tobacco Campaign activity. But despite these excellent results, it is important not to become complacent. Smoking prevalence increases throughout adolescence, with 2.3 per cent of 12- to 15-year-olds smoking daily, compared with 16.9 per cent of 18- to 19-year-olds.