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Australia: Tasmania mulls smoking ban for entire generation

The Australian state of Tasmania has floated the idea of banning an entire generation from buying cigarettes.
australia cigarettes 2012 5 17Enlarge
A handout image provided by the Australian Government shows a proposed "plain-packaged" cigarette packet. (Getty/AFP/Getty Images)

The Australian state of Tasmania has floated the idea of banning an entire generation from buying cigarettes.

A proposal to outlaw anyone born after the year 2000 from buying cigarettes, if passed by the Tasmanian parliament, would take effect in December and constitute a world first.

Similar bans were reportedly being considered in Singapore and Finland, according to the London Telegraph.

The push comes a week after the Australian High Court ruled in favor of the country's move to introduce plain packaging for cigarettes.

More from GlobalPost: Big tobacco loses appeal against cigarette plain-packaging laws in Australia

Ivan Dean, the Tasmanian independent lawmaker who proposed the ban, was quoted by the Australian Associated Press as saying:

"This would mean that we would have a generation of people not exposed to tobacco products.

"As the generation reaches 18 years, there will be fewer of them smoking and while some of those first turning 18 might smoke, as time goes on fewer and fewer will."

However, Australia's ABC News reported Thursday that any law to phase out tobacco sales might face defeat in Tasmania's legislative assembly.

Health Minister Michelle O'Byrne said she was willing to explore the idea.

O'Byrne told the ABC that her office had sent notice to the Commissioner for Children to seriously look into the matter.

The Cancer Council also backed the idea, calling on Tasmania "to explore radical new ideas that might set the pace for the rest of the country."

However, the Green party — which shares power in the island state — opposed it.

The party said prohibition was not effective, a stance backed by other politicians, including Independent Jim Wilkinson.

"Prohibition just doesn't work," Wilkinson reportedly said.

"Look at children now under the age of 18. You've got to go outside into any area where they are and you can see a number of them are smoking.

"The law doesn't stop them from smoking. What will stop them from smoking is if they can see what it does to their health in later years."

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