Wa doubles fines for selling smokes to kids under 16 in WA Read more
The fine was introduced by the Victorian government as part of an anti-smoking push to tackle a rise in rates of teenage smoking over the past decade.
“The use of smoking amongst young people continues to increase. We need to stop encouraging the use of youth smoking for cigarettes and encourage the safe use of alternative products,” Justice Minister Michael Keenan told reporters.
He said the government was committed to supporting the most vulnerable in the community through evidence-based policy development.
The fine could lead to up to six weeks in prison, $3,000 in fines and a $1,000 per day fine.
Keenan called the “vulnerable” in the community the “hardest to reach”.
“What is the minimum level of smoking you are going to tolerate that is a lot less than what we are talking about today?” he asked. “Are you going to expect a large group to stay at home?”
“That’s not how we are doing it. We’re asking our vulnerable children to do this – to be honest. And we are doing it by allowing them to smoke.”
The new bill, which was introduced by deputy premier and Victorian deputy prime minister Andrew Barr, includes a measure to allow young users to give up smoking “at all times, in public, for any reasonable purpose other than smoking, provided that the person continues to comply with the conditions of the licence”.
The bill will be debated by both houses of parliament next week.