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I have to add at this point that I am not leaping on the bandwagon with Ciba-Geigy, who market these patches. Obviously, they have an interest in marketing them. It is not always in the interest of the community; there is a profit motive as well. Anybody who leapt in to support their campaign without first questioning it very closely would be very brave. I can see why Carmen Lawrence, the Federal Health Minister, has not immediately agreed to what has been proposed by them. In any event, I support the provision, under the pharmaceutical benefits scheme, of nicotine alternatives, particularly for low income earners. I think that is an appropriate course for the Federal Government to take and it is something that we should be supporting in this place.
I would like to go back to the tobacco companies. Their cause will be a relentless one. They will keep it up. While ever others join with them, we have an obligation to point out to the community that what they are promoting is an early death, early pain and extremely high cost to the community. While ever it is considered to be honourable to be associated with those sorts of campaigns, they will continue to go on. So, it is important that this Assembly expresses a view about it; otherwise, the honourable promotion of tobacco will be allowed to continue, and it will make an impression on the community.
The tobacco companies’ argument for trying to recruit more people on the issue of tobacco has been under the guise of ensuring personal freedoms. From my point of view, there are a lot more people out there concerned about clear air than concerned about what have been described by tobacco companies as personal freedoms. I think that, these days, most, if not all, smokers would rather not smoke. But it is not as easy as that. The addiction was peddled for years as if it were a trendy thing to do. Most of the reason why young people take it up today is peer group pressure, demonstrating to the youngsters that it is a reasonable thing to do and that it is fashionable. For some of us, the memory of our own teenage years is starting to dim - - -
Mr Osborne: Speak for yourself, Wayne.
MR BERRY: For some of us. At the same time, we have to acknowledge that peer group pressure amongst teenagers is a matter of considerable concern and it is something that is easily manipulated by people as powerful as those major multinational companies. Mr Speaker, I think it is important that this motion be supported. We have to recognise that the effort has to be a continuing one in order to deal with the pain and suffering in the community caused by tobacco consumption. This Assembly itself will be voting on appropriation Bills, the funds from which will be going to the treatment of illnesses caused by tobacco consumption. We have to applaud the efforts of those activists and other governments throughout Australia, as well as our own government here in the Territory, towards the reduction of tobacco consumption.
There are a lot of people, such as members of Canberra ASH, who work very hard on this issue and who will continue to work very hard. They know that, while they have won a few battles, the war still goes on. We also have to continue to recognise the efforts of tobacco companies to recruit new consumers. But, mostly, we have to condemn people like the Rothmans Corporation and their agents for their efforts to maintain and increase tobacco consumption. That is the real enemy. While ever we sit idly by and allow those campaigns to continue, we will have to live with the knowledge that those campaigns are