Federal Health Minister Greg Hunt used part of this week’s National Press Club address to announce the Morrison Government would spend $20 million cutting Australia’s smoking rate to under 10 per cent by 2025.
However, conjoint associate professor Colin Mendelsohn, from UNSW’s School of Public Health and Community Medicine, said that target was first set after COAG signed off on it in 2008.
It later formed part of the 2012-2018 National Tobacco Strategy.
“Of course we came nowhere near that target,” Associate Professor Mendelsohn said.
“I was very surprised the Health Minister re-announced the same target for a date six years in the future, with no mention of the fact that we’d actually failed to come close to achieving it over the last six years.
“Nothing was actually offered and I can’t see any reason why things will change.
“The flatline of smoking will probably continue unless we actually introduce more new and effective measures.”
Australia’s smoking rate currently sits at about 14 per cent, and has remained there since 2013.