Public health experts in NSW have issued a call for the next NSW Government to sideline industry interests and tackle gambling, e-cigarettes and junk food advertising to protect the state’s health. The Public Health Association of Australia’s (PHAA) NSW Branch has released its new campaign “Vote for Public Health” ahead of the March state election highlighting five priorities that will relieve pressure on the state’s system by keeping people healthy and out of hospital beds. “The gambling, vaping, and unhealthy food and beverage industries continue to profit from destroying the health and livelihoods of adults and children in New South Wales, but the incoming government can stop these harms with targeted measures,” PHAA NSW Branch President, Assoc. Professor Kate McBride, says. “New South Wales is the gambling capital of Australia; it’s ruining families’ lives. The next government should implement a universal pre-commitment cashless card system with upper limits, a one button self-exclusion mechanism, and enforce prohibitions on inducements and advertising.” Assoc. Prof. McBride also urged action on vaping among young people, and the burden of preventable disease. “Vaping uptake among 15-24-years-olds has more than doubled in the past two years. We need to act now and make it an offence to supply or sell non-nicotine e-cigarette products to protect children and young people from the risk of smoking uptake. “The next NSW Government should also follow the lead of London, Amsterdam and the ACT by banning junk food advertising on state owned assets – starting with NSW public transport. “The more gambling, vaping, and junk food-related issues we prevent, the less we’ll need to rely on our already strained hospital services. “Because over a third of illness, disease, and early deaths in Australia are preventable, we need to invest significantly in preventive health interventions to ease the immense pressure on the NSW health system. “With every $1 invested in public health initiatives returning $14, these preventive health interventions will save lives and strengthen the wider economy,” said Assoc. Prof. McBride. The five public health priorities of the Vote For Public Health NSW election campaign are: 1. Protect young people from the harm of vaping 2. Promote healthy weight among children by removing junk food advertising on state-owned assets, starting with public transport 3. Minimise harms of gambling, including including blocking any pre-election agreements with the gaming industry 4. Act boldly on climate change by banning new coal and gas mines, including expansions 5. Make prevention a health system priority
A full copy of the Vote for Public Health NSW document can be found here.