A move to ban the sale of cigarettes to Tasmanians aged under 21 has been put on hold.
Independent member for Windermere Ivan Dean was expected to introduce the legislation – a first in Australia – to the Upper House on Wednesday.
However, a “bitterly disappointed” Mr Dean said had decided to postpone the legislation until September.
“”It won’t be called on now because there’s a lot of information to consider and I want to give members more time to look at it,” he said.
Mr Dean also wants to get Labor and the government on board.
The government has said it will not support the legislation.
One MLC said they believed Mr Dean “didn’t have the numbers” but he said he was unsure whether the legislation would have been supported by his colleagues.
“I had support but it’s not known whether I had enough support to get it through,” Mr Dean said.
“I am bitterly disappointed because I want to get this through.
“How can I, as a politician,seeing the impact of smoking in low socio-economic areas sit back and do nothing?”
Mr Dean said his electorate was the “poorest in the state” and smoking needed to be stopped to prevent deaths and illness.
“I would be derelict in my responsibility if i do not pursue this,” he said.
Under Mr Dean’s proposed legislation, the legal age for Tasmanians to buy tobacco products would be lifted from 18 to 21`incrementally over three years.
It would be an offence for a retailer to sell tobacco products to people aged under 21 and for a person to provide false proof of age.
Mr Dean had been working with Andrew Forrest’s Minderoo Foundation to get support for his bill.
Respiratory physicians also supported the bill saying evidence showed 95 per cent of smokers took up the habit before they turned 21.
The Australasian Association of Convenience Stores welcomed the legislation being put on hold.
AACS chief executive Jeff Rogut said the legislation would exacerbate the problem of illegal trade in cigarettes.
“This is a common sense outcome,” he said.
“Raising the age from which Tasmanians can purchase legal tobacco would cost jobs in the convenience industry and drive more people to the black market.”
Extracted from The Advocate