Vale former premier John Cain

Monday 23 December, 2019

Cancer Council Victoria has paid tribute to the enormous public health legacy of the former premier of Victoria, the Honourable John Cain.

As Victoria’s 41st premier, he was instrumental in delivering tobacco control measures, which began the decline in smoking rates and curbed the influence of the tobacco industry.

Cancer Council Victoria CEO Todd Harper said the Cain Government worked with Cancer Council Victoria to establish Quit Victoria, the early activities of which included sponsorship of the Fitzroy Football Club.

Mr Cain oversaw the passage of the Tobacco Act 1987 and many other cancer control initiatives throughout the late 1980s and early 1990s.

The Tobacco Act created a health promotion levy on sales of tobacco products, restricted tobacco advertising and established the Victorian Health Promotion Foundation – now known as VicHealth. 

VicHealth was set up with bipartisan support to manage the increased funds from the health promotion levy on tobacco products and buy out existing tobacco sponsorships of sport and the arts.

VicHealth went on to increase funding to the Cancer Council’s Quit program.

Mr Harper said Mr Cain maintained a lifelong interest in tobacco control and the ongoing work of Quit, Cancer Council Victoria and VicHealth to promote the health of Victorians.

“He was very proud of the work of these organisations, and the legacy they continue to create,” Mr Harper said.

Cancer Council Victoria offers its sincere condolences to Mr Cain’s family.

Read the original media release from the Victorian Government after the Tobacco Bill was passed in 1987.