The Heart Foundation is calling for the next Victorian Government to adopt policies that will keep Victorians healthy and out of hospital, including actions to protect children from vaping and e-cigarettes, as well as a ban on junk food advertising on public transport and near schools.
In its election statement released today, the Heart Foundation is specifically calling on all parties to commit to supporting:
Stricter regulation – and enforcement – of the sales of vapes and e-cigarettes
- Immediately intensify compliance and enforcement measures, including product seizures, in relation to both non-pharmacy retailers that sell nicotine e-cigarette
- products as well as storage facilities housing illegal products.
- Set a date to ban the retail sale and supply of all non-prescription e-cigarette products, components, and liquids; and
- Introduce and enforce tough penalties for non-pharmacy retailers selling e-cigarette products, components and liquids after the ban and inform retailers that strong enforcement measures will be in place.
Banning the advertising of unhealthy foods in public spaces and public transport
- The Heart Foundation is calling on the next Victorian Government to remove unhealthy food and drink advertising within 500m of schools, and on public transport and public transport infrastructure such as stations, platforms, stops and shelters.
Heart Foundation Chief Medical Adviser, Professor Garry Jennings AO, said these two measures would help to save future generations of Victorians from a lifetime of chronic disease.
“Nearly 5,000 Victorians die every year due to heart disease, making it our leading single cause of death in this state,” Prof. Jennings said.
“The impact on our hospital system is immense: more than 36,000 Victorians are hospitalised each year due to heart disease.
“Smoking and obesity – which we could cut down dramatically with these measures in place - are both significant risk factors for heart disease.”
Prof. Jennings said these risk factors were affecting too many Victorians, making change necessary.
“More than two thirds (68.4%) of Victorians are either overweight or obese, and 15% of Victorians are still smoking. Increasingly, more Victorians need help and guidance to overcome these challenges,” he said.
“This election, we’ve seen plenty of commitments to make room for people in hospital – but we need to see actions that will help keep them out of there in the first place.
“It is critical for the next Victorian Government to do more in this space through strong policy and increased investment in preventative health.”