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Legislative Assembly for the ACT: 2003 Week 7 Hansard (26 June) . . Page.. 2699 ..

Youth smoking

(Question No 774)

Mrs Burke asked the Minister for Health, upon notice:

In relation to youth smoking:

(1) What are the current statistics regarding the number of youths that smoke in the ACT, please provide a breakdown in gender;

(2) How will the Government monitor the success of its new Youth Smoking Prevention Project;

(3) How will this project, in theory and practice, break the cycle of smoking among ACT youths;

(4) Will this campaign be linked or combined with a health and fitness campaign, if so, please provide details, if not, why not.

Mr Corbell

: The answers to the member's questions are:

(1) The 1999 ACT Secondary Student Alcohol and Drug Survey showed that over 20% of ACT students aged 12 to 17 years reported having smoked in the last week. Twenty-three per cent of females had smoked in the last week, compared with 18 per cent of males.

Preliminary results from the 2002 Secondary Student Alcohol and Drug Survey, currently in preparation for release, indicate that there has been a decline in the prevalence of recent smoking, particularly in females aged 12 to 17 years.

(2) A management committee with membership from ACT Health and The Cancer Council ACT will closely monitor the project.

In addition The Cancer Council ACT will arrange an independent evaluation of the process, impact and outcomes of the project. The management committee will supply progress reports to the ACT Chief Health Officer on a regular basis.

(3) The project is based on the successful 'Smarter than Smoking' program developed in Western Australia more than 5 years ago.

In that state, the program was shown to have reduced smoking rates in the target group from 27% in 1996, to 21% in 1999. WA had the lowest smoking prevalence of all Australian States amongst 12 to 17 year olds in 1999.

The ACT project will emulate and improve on the Western Australia success through the use of multi-faceted approaches and direct youth input to project planning, implementation and evaluation.

The project will enhance our anti-smoking strategy which already provides strong anti-smoking legislation, QUIT programs, Health Promoting Schools programs and continual efforts by non-government organisations such as The Cancer Council ACT, National Heart Foundation and others to help support healthy lifestyles.

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