Labor strongly believes in grass roots preventative health programs that actively engage communities in their own health and wellbeing. In keeping with this belief, Labor has announced two new preventative health policies focussing on providing healthy alternatives to sugary drinks and regulating electronic cigarettes.
It is widely recognised that excessive consumption of sugar can lead to a range of health problems including tooth decay, weight gain and obesity which can cause diabetes, cardiovascular disease and some cancers.
We plan to work within the realistic guidelines provided by the Cancer Council, Diabetes Australia and the Heart Foundation’s ‘rethink sugary drink’ campaign to ensure healthier alternatives are stocked in school canteens and in vending machines and outlets in some public buildings, including hospitals.
Labor has also proposed amendments to the Public Health Act 1997 to regulate the sale and use of electronic cigarettes (also called e-cigarettes, e-cigars or vape pens).
Evidence from overseas tells us that e-cigarettes are being aggressively marketed to young people and a recent report indicated that in NSW, alarmingly, they are being sold in shops next to lollies.
With Tasmania’s youth smoking rates already the highest in the country, regulating e-cigarettes is a practical step to reduce the risk of normalising smoking behaviour amongst young people.
If we are really going to address the health challenges facing Tasmanians we need to have the courage to provide leadership and detail how government can help tackle the burden of preventable disease.
Labor is committed to preventative health and we would like to work with Government to achieve positive results for the Tasmanian community. These policies aren’t about politics, they are about improving the health of all Tasmanians and surely that is something we can all support.