Intended for healthcare professionals

Research Article

Health of nations: lessons from Victoria, Australia.

British Medical Journal 1993; 306 doi: (Published 09 January 1993) Cite this as: British Medical Journal 1993;306:125
  1. J W Powles,
  2. S Gifford
  1. Department of Community Medicine, University of Cambridge Forvie Site.


    In its white paper The Health of the Nation the government has announced its intention to give more priority to preventive health care. Two examples from Victoria, Australia, show how coordinated legislative and voluntary sector action can have a substantial impact on public behaviour. The introduction and enforcement of strict drink-driving laws and speed limits backed up by forceful television advertisements produced a large reduction in deaths from road traffic accidents, the death rate in relation to the number of vehicles in 1991 being among the lowest in the world. Smoking has also declined in parallel with a phased ban on advertising and use of taxes from tobacco sales to replace tobacco sponsorship of sports and arts and fund health promotion.