Smartcard Licence Scheme Proposed for Smokers in Australia

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Australian health and legal academics say that in Australia smokers should have smartcard licence to buy cigarettes which will allow health authorities track their behavoir and send q1uit messages to them.

Medical Journal of Australia published an article in which Professor David Currow,  chief executive of the Cancer Institute NSW, and  Roger Magnusson,  Professor from University of Sydney Law School’s said that introduction of this license will make it harder for teenagers to buy cigarettes.

The idea with the license was first proposed last year  by Professor Simon Chapman, the severe anti-smoking fighter. The experts say that smokers may be obliged to purchase a licence to buy cigarettes. It will help verify the identity and age of cigarettes buyer. Vendors would then be required to join all stock bought from wholesalers against a digital record of retail sales to licensed smokers. These novelties would help to make a data base of smokers and their cigarette purchases and besides this, creating a motivations for retailers to obey to new laws that prohibit tobacco sales to teenagers and kids.

Last year Professor Chapman proposed a scheme where smokers sit a pre-licence test on the risks of smoking and restrictions on how many cigarettes they purchase, but professors Currow and Magnusson said a simple scheme is needed.

They said smartcard licence without these features would still help health authorities identify variations in smokers’ behaviour and to develop more complex and individualised communications to help smokers to quit. Besides this, it will enable accurate evaluation of quitting smoking programs, ensuring that money for public health are focused on evidence-based strategies that give best results.

Those who oppose the new initiative say the scheme could aggravate stigma through the creation of ”registered addicts”, but the professors said the benefits of a scheme outweighed this concern.

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