Victorian Government takes home Dirty Ashtray for second year in a row

Friday 24 May, 2013

The Victorian Government has been awarded the Dirty Ashtray award for the worst-performing government in tobacco control in 2012.

The award, which is presented by the Australian Medical Association and Australian Council on Smoking and Health, was announced this morning at the AMA national conference.

"It's a disappointing, but not surprising result," Cancer Council Chief Executive Todd Harper  said.

"Victoria is trailing behind other states in tobacco control, but we can turn that around. Right now, the Government could create smokefree outdoor dining and drinking areas and invest the funds that are needed to support successful anti-smoking campaigns.

"As part of the Keep Fresh Air Fresh campaign, almost 7000 Victorians recently wrote to the government asking it to extend its proposed ban on smoking at playgrounds, pools, skate parks and children's sporting events to include outdoor dining and drinking areas.

Heart Foundation Victoria CEO Diana Heggie said the keen interest in the Keep Fresh Air Fresh campaign was proof that Victorians wanted to see strong action to reduce the devastating harms of tobacco on the community.

"Just four years ago, Victoria was rated the number one state for tobacco control activity and now we've been at the bottom for two years in a row," she said.

Quit Victoria Executive Director Fiona Sharkie said winning the award a second time represented a significant fall from grace for Victoria, once considered a leader in tobacco control.

"We hope the State Government will take this dubious honour as a wake-up call. History tells us that when progress in tobacco control stagnates, smoking rates increase and that is the last thing we want for Victoria," she said.

‘With almost 4000 Victorians dying each year from smoking-caused disease, there is no room for complacency.

"The State Government should act immediately to show it is serious about addressing the harms caused by tobacco in our community by introducing a statewide ban on smoking in outdoor dining and drinking areas."