Funding boost for Quit advertising

The Tasmanian Government and Tasmania Medicare Local today announced a major funding boost for Cancer Council Tasmania to significantly increase its anti-smoking advertising.

The State Government will provide $420,000 over two years for extra advertising through the Quit campaign and Tasmania Medicare Local (TML) will provide $900,000 over three years towards advertising plus a range of other quit smoking activities.

Today’s announcement coincides with the unveiling of the latest anti-smoking advertisement, the Last Dance.

The Minister for Health, Michelle O’Byrne, said the funding injection would ensure TV advertising at a level shown to successfully reduce smoking rates.

“This extra funding will boost on-air quit smoking advertising time from the existing 19 to 32 weeks a year, a level of advertising we know will have an impact on smoking rates” Ms O’Byrne said.

“Smoking is the largest preventable cause of death, disease, illness and disability in Australia and, unfortunately, far too many Tasmanians continue to smoke.”

Ms O’Byrne said while one in five adult Tasmanians still smoked, past initiatives had seen the 18 to 24-year-old smoking rate fall from 37.3 to 23.1 per cent between 2007 and 2012.

“Another encouraging decline is in the number of women smoking during pregnancy, down from 23.1 per cent in 2010 to 17.1 per cent in 2011,” she said.

“Teenage women smoking during pregnancy also fell from 46.8 per cent in 2010 to 35.7 per cent in 2011 thanks to the intervention of public hospital midwives and social marketing campaigns.”

Both the Tasmanian Government and TML support the Council of Australia Governments (COAG) target of reducing the national smoking rate to 10 per cent by 2018.

TML Acting CEO Elvie Hales said TML’s contribution would see Cancer Council Tasmania carry out a range of quit smoking activities as part of TML’s Social Determinants of Health and Health Risk Factors Project, funded through the Australian Government’s Tasmanian Health Assistance Package.

“Smoking is responsible for the greatest burden on health of all Australians – it can lead to a range of diseases and conditions including heart disease, stroke and cancer,” Ms Hales said.

“While the smoking rates have come down over time, they’re still high compared with most other parts of Australia and we need them to keep dropping to save lives and healthcare costs.

“Tasmania Medicare Local is proud to be involved in a project we think will go a long way towards keeping people well and out of hospital, which is what we’re all about.”

As well as strengthening the Quit anti-smoking media and social marketing campaign, the Tasmania Medicare Local funds will be used to help socially disadvantaged groups of Tasmanians quit smoking and to collect data on Tasmanian smoking rates on an annual basis.

“It’s important we have the means to make sure the work we’re doing to help Tasmanians quit smoking is working and to track our progress against our ‘quit smoking’ target,” Ms Hales said.

Cancer Council Tasmania director of Cancer Control Dr Kathryn Terry welcomed the funding announcement and said the latest advertisement reflected the fact that one in two long term smokers would die of a smoking related disease.

“We all know the power of advertising and we hope this advertisement can convince Tasmanians to quit and spare families the grief of losing a loved one to smoking,” Dr Terry said.

“Smoking kills and we must do all we can to stop young Tasmanians taking up this deadly addiction.

“For some, it may take a few attempts to quit for good, so we need to encourage smokers to never give up giving up.

“There are many positive things about quitting smoking – a reduced risk of smoking-related cancers, the money saved from not buying cigarettes, and the feeling of personal achievement.”

Dr Terry said Quit Tasmania was working on its own campaign, Real People, Real Stories, to encourage Tasmanians to quit smoking.

“We want to hear from anyone who has quit smoking and who would like to be part of this campaign to share their story,” she said.

For information and support to quit smoking, call Quitline on 13 7848 or visit www.quittas.org.au

Contact:

Tasmanian Government: Ben Wild, Media Advisor, 0459 801 969

Tasmania Medicare Local: Karen Gower Bradley, Communications Officer, 0408 611 047

Cancer Council Tasmania: Sue Bailey, Communications Officer, 0417 550 279