When it comes to how the anti-smokers’ bill is affecting Australians, the government is putting a huge squeeze on the industry.
The government has imposed strict restrictions on the number of products that can be sold, and has effectively prohibited retailers from offering products that contain nicotine or other substances that can cause addiction.
A ban on online purchases of tobacco products has also been imposed, meaning that it is virtually impossible for consumers to access the industry’s products online.
This is the first year in history that the government has not made changes to the anti‑smoking legislation, but it has left a significant gap in the industry, which relies on overseas imports of cigarettes and cigars, and other products to generate a steady income.
For more than a decade, the tobacco industry has been working to get the legislation changed.
The legislation was introduced in 2015 by the then prime minister, Malcolm Turnbull, and was meant to prevent a spike in the number who become addicted to smoking.
Under the law, any product that contains nicotine or any other substance that can lead to addiction would be classified as a tobacco product and would be prohibited from being sold in Australia.
In 2015, the Australian Medical Association and the Australian Council of Medical Research (ACMHRC) released the first report into the tobacco market, which highlighted the health risks of nicotine addiction.
The ACMHRC found that the current state of the Australian tobacco market was a “significant risk to public health”, and warned that the industry could be in “danger of collapsing”.
The Government’s anti‑smokers bill, passed in October last year, aims to help to minimise the risk of a spike.
It also makes it harder for those who are already addicted to using tobacco products to access it.
With the changes to laws, the price of tobacco is expected to increase, and the tobacco companies that are already heavily dependent on overseas cigarettes could face a significant loss of revenue.
While the new laws are likely to help the tobacco sector, they will not help smokers quit, which has long been a key part of the industry and has long had a detrimental impact on their health.
The Government has argued that the changes will help the industry by reducing the supply of tobacco, and help it to compete with other products.
“The government is confident that the laws will be a significant deterrent to those who would seek to access a potentially harmful product,” the Department of Health said in a statement on Tuesday.
“It is important to note that this is a temporary measure, and it will be reviewed once the regulations are in place.”
But the Australian Institute of Health and Welfare (AIHW) has warned that “the introduction of restrictions on access to nicotine-containing products is likely to have a significant negative impact on the tobacco-use behaviours of many smokers”.
AIHWs director of public health Dr Sarah Williams said that “this is an extremely disappointing outcome for smokers who want to quit”.
“This will hurt the industry in the long term, and not only because of the huge cost of implementing these restrictions but also because the regulations will also have a severe impact on our health.”
Smokers who are currently using tobacco for non-medical purposes may struggle to access products that are less harmful than those that they would have previously used.
“[They] may struggle for time and time again to find products that match their personal preferences.”
Dr Williams added that the restrictions “have the potential to undermine the industry” and make it difficult for smokers to quit.
She said that the introduction of the restrictions was a significant step backwards, and that the measures could “lead to greater harm” in the future.
As a result, the AIHW is urging the government to reconsider the regulations and “work with the industry to achieve a lower price for smokers and to support the availability of tobacco-free products in Australia”.
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