Education And Debate

Progress on smoking control in Western Australia

BMJ 1994; 308 doi: (Published 05 February 1994) Cite this as: BMJ 1994;308:395
  1. A W Musk,
  2. R Shean,
  3. N Walker,
  4. M Swanson
  1. Australian Council on Smoking and Health, Subiaco, Western Australia, 6008.
  1. Correspondence to: Ms Walker.
  • Accepted 6 January 1994

In 1990, 20 years of compaigning by the Western Australian branch of the Australian Council on Smoking and Health succeeded in getting tobacco advertising banned in Western Australia and a fund set up to replace the sponsorship of sport by tobacco companies. The council coordinated the activities of the mainly professional medical organisations that formed its members, ensuring that messages about the dangers of tobacco were consistently presented from different angles. The campaigners also ensured that medical data were reworked for presentation to decision makers and public, invaded the corporate world, and minimised opposition by enlisting the support of sportspeople opposed to tobacco sponsorship. The council hopes now that elimination of advertising will reduce the prevalence of smoking.

In 1990 the parliament of Western Australia passed a law to ban tobacco advertising. This legislation came after two failed attempts in the early 1980s and after 20 years of campaigning by the Australian Council on Smoking and Health. Thus the David and Goliath contest between tobacco and health ended in victory for David - as we predicted in 1985.1 The battle was not easy, however, and lessons learned during our conflict in Western Australia may be useful to groups in other countries trying to achieve similar victories.

* Reworking research into new forms is a fundamental task of all compaigners: ‘People behind the Statistics' was written by the council and published by the health department of Western Australia

(Fig Omitted)


The first Western Australian statute applied to tobacco was a 1911 law which prohibited smoking in cinemas and theatres. Six years later the Tobacco Act of 1917 made the sale or supply of cigarettes to children under 18 years illegal. There were then no new controls on tobacco in Western Australia for another 55 years.

Following the increasing awareness about …

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