A campaign to raise the legal age of purchasing tobacco in Queensland, Australia, to 21 has gained the support of one of the region’s main health chiefs.
Chief Executive of Central Queensland Health, Steve Williamson, has backed the plans whilst attending an event to publicise the board’s ‘10,000 Lives’ initiative - aimed at getting as many smokers as possible to quite in the New Year, by offering them a 12 week programme of help, advice and support.
Williamson said: “Smoking is one of the main factors in many chronic health conditions, and as the major hospital and healthcare provider in Central Queensland we've decided we can no longer sit back and do nothing; we're trying to get the community behind a push to butt out.
“Last month we launched our 10,000 Lives project, and that’s already having a major impact with almost 300 smokers registered and receiving free support to quit. Lifting the legal smoking age from 18 to 21 would make it more difficult for young people to pick up the habit, and would help reduce the consistently rising rate of tobacco-related illnesses and deaths.
"We're really trying to get the community behind those who want to quit smoking, to stop lifetime habits forming.”
CQ Health Projects Officer, Caron Williams, echoed Williamson’s comments, and hopes that new initiatives will help to convince people to kick the habit.
She said: “With the New Year fast approaching it's a really great time to start afresh, and for all those smokers who have been thinking about quitting, we can provide free tools to get you over the line.
"It's very rewarding to support these people as they tackle their addiction to make a big difference to their lives for a healthier future."
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