Australia

Australia's Tasmania may raise smoking age to 25

Shelves of cigarette packs in a shop in Australia, all in olive-brown packets with graphic health warnings on them Image copyright AFP
Image caption Called 'plain' packaging, Australian cigarette packs are covered in graphic health warnings

The Australian state of Tasmania is considering raising the legal age for buying cigarettes to at least 21 and potentially as high as 25.

If the plan goes ahead it will give Tasmania some of the toughest tobacco laws in the world.

The current legal age to purchase, possess or smoke cigarettes in all Australian states is 18.

Critics have complained the proposed restrictions would be a violation of civil liberties.

Australia already has some of the world's toughest anti-smoking policies.

It introduced so-called plain packaging in 2012, where packs are coloured an identical olive brown and are covered in graphic health warnings.

The country is also one of the most expensive places in the world to buy cigarettes - from around A$20 a pack ($15; £10).

Parts of the world already ban cigarette sales to those under 21, including Kuwait and, from next year, Hawaii.

Image copyright PA
Image caption The proposal is aimed at preventing young people picking up the habit

Around one-in-five Tasmanians smoke, with the vast majority taking up the habit before the age of 25.

The Tasmanian government proposals are part of a five-year plan to make the state Australia's healthiest by 2025.

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