The multi-media campaign, to raise the age for buying cigarettes to 21 years, is gaining strong momentum in Queensland, with a powerful 81 per cent of voters backing the adoption of this life-saving policy.
The fresh polling, commissioned by the Minderoo Foundation on behalf of the Eliminating Cancer Initiative (ECI), shows an overwhelming desire, among Queenslanders, for the re-elected State ALP Government to act swiftly on lifting the age young people can buy cigarettes, from 18 to 21.
The Galaxy Research poll, taken across four marginal Queensland seats in early December, found support for the policy had swelled to 81 per cent, from 75 per cent just one month earlier.
A wide cross section of support was revealed across the 718 voters polled: women (82%), men (79%) and, crucially, 18-21 age group (69%).
Three-quarters of all smokers support the plan, with non-smokers 82 per cent in favour.
The research comes after leading Australian rugby player and Queensland’s Australian of the Year, Mr Johnathan Thurston, fronted a television, radio, print and social media campaign, in the lead up to the November state election.
ECI, co-founded by Australia’s leading philanthropists Andrew and Nicola Forrest, is calling on state and territory governments to back this policy step change to prevent young people from becoming hooked on cigarettes for life.
95 percent of adult smokers start before they turn 21. If vulnerable young Australians can be prevented from smoking before that age, they are unlikely to ever form the habit.
“About 450,000 Queenslanders smoke every day,” Mr Forrest said. “Up to two-thirds of them will die from their habit. But we can change these horrific outcomes, if we work together to stop lifetime smoking habits from forming.
This polling provides the Queensland government, and all others, with the definitive evidence that action is not only needed but that it has the tremendous backing of Australians; young and old, smoker or not.” Mr Thurston said he was thrilled with the research results that showed the ‘Stop Smoking Before It Starts’ campaign was positively received and attracted support from the vast majority of Queenslanders.
“I have three beautiful, young daughters and I don’t want them growing up, with peer pressure, to smoke,” Mr Thurston said. “I have no doubt the returned Queensland Government, and all state governments, will adopt this important health initiative.”