24 March 2015

Cancer Council Tasmania today celebrated the 20th Anniversary of the establishment of Quit Tasmania.

“It is fitting that in Cancer Council’s Tasmania’s 20th Year, we are also able to celebrate the 20th Anniversary of Quit Tasmania,” Cancer Council Tasmania CEO Penny Egan said.

“While Tasmania’s smoking rates remain alarmingly high – the second highest in the nation behind the Northern Territory – the State as a whole has made significant contribution to this national and international challenge: to help smokers Quit for Good.

“Quit Tasmania’s main functions include: social marketing campaigns to educate people on the dangers of smoking and encourage quitting and providing information and support to those who want to quit smoking through the Quitline telephone support service.

“Tasmania still 21.7% of the population smoking. In 2015, this statistic remains horrifying. But we also know that 90% of smokers want to Quit for Good. “Cancer Council Tasmania and Quit Tasmania will continue to help those people and to encourage young people not to take up smoking.”

Mrs Egan was joined at the Anniversary by former Liberal Minister for Health Roger Groom, who launched Quit Tasmania in March, 1995, and current Health Minister Michael Ferguson.

“Successive Tasmanian Governments of all persuasions have seen the absolute necessity to protect the community from the danger of smoking.

“Tasmania has led the nation to reduce smoking rates. State and Federal measures have included:

· legislation to protect people from second-hand smoke

· phasing out tobacco advertising

· banning smoking in restaurants, pubs and clubs

· banning of smoking in workplaces

· exposing tobacco industry practices

· introducing plain packaging

· a national 12.5% recurrent increase in tobacco excise that commenced 1 December 2013.

“Quit Tasmania also provides information and resources to the wider community so that they may help promote a smoke-free lifestyle to all Tasmanians.”

Mrs Egan said when Quit Tasmania was launched, funding allowed for two weeks of media campaign activity annually – today, Quit is funded for 32 weeks of media campaigns a year.

Quit Tasmania showed the first media campaign aired in 1995 – “Sponge” – and last year’s Real Stories campaign, designed in Tasmania. A revised version of “Sponge” is now currently on air.

The smoking rate in Tasmania that was available when Quit was launched reported that 28.8% of Tasmanian’s smoked (1989/90 ABS National Health Survey).

Tasmanian smoking rates:

1989-90 2 8 . 8 %

1995 2 5 . 5 %

2001 2 4 . 4 %

2004/05 2 5 . 4 %

2007/08 2 4 . 9 %

2011/12 2 1 . 7 %

Media contact: A.Mark Thomas, M&M Communications, 0422 006 732