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Prior, Thomas

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Die Presse - Austria | 05/05/2009

Austria must help young smokers to quit

In no other OECD country are there so many 15-year olds who smoke as in Austria. The daily Die Presse writes that the health minister can't wriggle his way out of responsibility by pointing to lacking funds for smoking prevention: "The remarkable thing about this is that Health Minister Alois Stöger would like to do something about it, as he bravely says, however unfortunately he lacks the money to do so because the budget is too tight. … The economic crisis has put pay even to creative political solutions. It serves as an excuse for everything that the minister in question doesn't feel like doing. In reality it isn't all that difficult: For example, one could start by cutting early pensions, an area in which according to the OECD Austria ranks among the leading countries worldwide. And the money that is saved in this way could be rerouted into smoking prevention. But in a country that boasts smoking laws that enrage non-smokers and smokers alike, that would be too much to ask."

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