RESTRICTING ACCESS TO TOBACCO PRODUCTS

Mrs ARMITAGE ( Launceston ) - I will only make a short contribution. I support the intent and the sentiment of this. Obviously smoking is bad for you, but what can we do to help people, not just smokers, but non-smokers too? I agree with the member for Rosevears that the addiction must be so hard to give up. I had a girlfriend who had not smoked for 20 years, her marriage broke up and the next thing she is visiting me and she is out on the deck with a cigarette. I said to her, 'You do not smoke.' She said, 'I did not smoke, but the stress has made me take up smoking again.' I think it is a trigger sometimes, that something makes you smoke.

Mr Finch - That little nicotine addiction in there that is lurking inside waiting to grab you again.

Mrs ARMITAGE - For people who are in dire straits, for people with a lot of stress and for people with financial worries, I guess that as the member for Rosevears said, it is something they can do and for those few minutes while they are smoking, they feel okay. But we know that that is not the case and that is not the way it should be, so it is education and prevention and that is the way you should go. Out of my four sons I had one that used to smoke when he had a drink and I got a phone call at one stage to say, 'Mum, I have this new girlfriend and she does not think I smoke, and I only smoke when I drink, so if you are talking to her do not let her know that I smoke because I am giving it up.' It was one of these things that was depending on who you are with at the time. One of the things I have noticed with having a husband who owns a hotel is that people do smoke when they drink. It is interesting when you see the number of people who are out in the smoking area. You might not see them in the city and you might not see them in a lot of places, but if you go to a hotel you see ashtrays. They have ashtrays out in the smoking areas and that is really where people seem to smoke.

We talk about discrimination, but one of the discriminations that I see is against non-smokers in the workplace because smokers in the workplace will go out maybe every 20 minutes, every half an hour and they will have a cigarette, but the person who does not smoke cannot go out and sit and read a book for 10 or 15 minutes. That is a real issue that we sometimes forget. We say, okay, people need to go out and have a cigarette and I know the member for Windermere will feel much the same. You get in the lift at Henty House and you know someone has been out for a cigarette because in the lift it is very obvious; if you are not using the stairs, you can tell. I know with my husband's business you will see staff are out having a cigarette. I often say to him, 'How about the staff who do not smoke, do they get the same privileges? Do they get to go out as often?' He says, 'Well, no, they don't'. They just cannot go out. They might take a toilet break but they cannot be going outside all the time and having a cigarette so I think really discrimination works both ways. It is not just discrimination against the smokers; it is discrimination against those who do not smoke.

You talk about acting grown-up and looking cool and I really believe that is one of the issues for the young people. I saw something really awful just last week outside Henty House out the back. We have a little ashtray on the wall and there were these two boys, probably about 11 and 13, and they were going through the ashtray trying to find cigarettes and they were like the monkeys at the park when you see them picking at each other. They were picking things out and seeing that they had a little bit of cigarette to smoke. It was not worth saying anything to them, I knew what they would have said back so there was nothing I could do.

Education really needs to be telling people it is not fashionable. I really believe that was the one word that came from the member for Rosevears. I thought that is what it is - people think it is cool; they think it is fashionable; they think I look grown-up if I start to smoke. We all know that once you get addicted then it is really hard to give up. It does not matter what you are addicted to. It is one of those things. I support the member for Windermere in doing whatever we can. Of course things have actually happened already to do with smoking.

I wonder about the cost. I too have been at the supermarket and I have seen people buy cartons. I think how could you buy a carton of cigarettes? It is quite amazing that people can put so much money into something like that when you hear the complaints about food and how expensive it is to eat and how expensive it is to live and yet being at the supermarket behind someone buying a carton of cigarettes it almost floors you when you look and you think, my gosh, that is as much as I am actually spending today on my groceries, so really it is an interesting thing.

It is a fact that people die from smoking. My mother smoked for 30 years and she gave it up probably 40 years ago and has not touched it since. My father was an on-and-off-again smoker who did die of cancer - not lung cancer but then you wonder whether having smoked causes other sorts of cancer because he did have a stroke when he was about 50. You look at these things and you really think that we need to let people know the cause and effect. We need to educate but we need somehow - and I do not know how we do it - to let the young people know that it is not cool, it is not fashionable, you do not look grown-up and you do not look wonderful and it is going to cost you a fortune and at the end of the day you do not smell very nice either.

As the member for Nelson said, you have to wash your walls if you are smoking inside and you have to do all of these nasty things when you see what it actually does to your walls or to wherever you happen to be and your fingers. You used to see people with yellow fingers, not that we see it a lot anymore.

One interesting thing I noticed at weekends - I have been doing my ironing at weekends and I notice when turning the TV on and watching the old movies, that everyone smokes; it does not matter who they are. We do not allow people to smoke in movies now but if any young people are watching movies at weekends, it does not matter what it is, they are all there smoking.

Mr Finch - That was a strategy by the cigarette companies, I am sure. I reckon if you worked on a film set you would not pay for a cigarette because they would make sure that truckloads of cigarettes came onto the set and that they were there for everybody to use and everybody would smoke and it is the easiest prop in the world, in an acting sense, to have a cigarette in your hand.

Mrs ARMITAGE - But you have to wonder now that we do not allow smoking advertisements on television that we actually allow these old movies to come up where people are smoking.

Mr Finch - Yes.

Mrs ARMITAGE - It may be something that the member for Windermere might like to take his smoking further and look at these old movies that are coming up that are promoting smoking. I will not go on. I think everything has been said and I agree with most of the comments that have been made. I support the motion.

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