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Australian State Tasmania may Increase Smoking Age to up to 25 years

Update Date: Dec 24, 2015 02:48 PM EST

Tasmania, an Australian state, is planning to raise the legal age of smoking up from 21 to 25. Recommended by the government as a proposal to make Tasmania healthy, they are hoping that this new imposition will reduce the smoking rate of the state, which is currently second only to Northern Territory that has the highest smoking rate. Tasmania has a high rate of smoking population even though its population is far less. The draft has been proposed by the State's health minister, Michael Ferguson. It is included in the 5-year preventive plan to make Tasmania the healthiest state by 2025, reported Independent.

According to the National Drug Strategy Household Survey of 2013, 19.3% adults in Tasmania smoked everyday, even though the country's average is 13.3%. If the proposed move is approved, it will be the first Australian state to increase legal smoking age. In a statement followed by a report, Mr. Furgeson said: "We have unacceptably high rates of smoking." There have been several international studies that propose raising minimum age for legal smoking as a way to target the riskiest age when people take up the habit. Ferguson added, "Studies show that most smokers take up the habit before the age of 25," The Guardian.

This move targeting the high smoking rate of the state is the cornerstone of the healthy Tasmania paper released by the state government on Sunday. He said, "International evidence supports raising the minimum legal smoking age as a means of targeting the most at-risk age category for smoking uptake." Mike Daube, a health policy professor at Curtin University, said that the proposal is very promising because it highlights that the public health risk posed due to smoking is being taken very seriously by the government. "Tasmania may well need some specific measures because smoking rates there are significantly higher than most of the country," Daube said, as per BBC News

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