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Tasmania won't raise smoking age

AAP logoAAP 28/07/2016

Tasmania's government has backflipped on a proposal to ban people from smoking until they are 25.

The government ambitiously planned to lift the smoking age to at least 21 last year, making it the only state to have the legal age above 18, but on Thursday it dumped the proposal altogether.

"We have consulted widely on the concept after having included it in the Healthy Tasmania Consultation Draft and have come to the view that it is not an appropriate response at this time," Health Minister Michael Ferguson said in a statement.

Shadow Health Minister Rebecca White said the government's choice would increase the burden on Tasmanian hospitals.

"Mr Ferguson has abandoned any attempt to introduce meaningful measures to help ensure our future generation are healthy," Ms White said.

"A commitment to action on preventative health is critical to not only improve health outcomes but in decreasing the burden on our hospitals."

Tasmania's smoking rate was 21.7 per cent in 2011, compared to 18.2 per cent nationally.

Tasmania also has the highest rate of women who smoke during pregnancy in Australia.

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