A taxpayer-funded multi-million dollar anti-smoking campaign remains firmly on the agenda of the national anti-cancer lobby in the wake of the Coalition's election success.
Of the two major parties, Labor had made the strongest pre-election pledge on curbing tobacco smoking, revealing a huge $63.4 million plan to drive down the current smoking rate in Australia of 12.2 per cent to below 10 per cent.
Labor also offered to reboot the 1997 "every cigarette is doing you damage" national TV campaign and create a specific lung cancer awareness program, while adding additional funding for specialised lung cancer nurses.
At the time, Cancer Council Australia described it as the country's most significant investment in anti-smoking measures.
The council was to directly receive $40 million to fund the campaign.
A further $17.4 million was to go to Lung Foundation Australia to fund more nurses and address the stigma for patients diagnosed with lung cancer.
Although the big-spending Labor plan is now shelved, the chief executive officer of Cancer Council Australia, Professor Sanchia Aranda, remains hopeful the Coalition will jump aboard on a mass-media campaign.
"Lung cancer continues to be the leading cause of cancer-related deaths in Australia with 5179 men and 3855 women expected to die of the disease this year," Prof Aranda said.
"Smoking continues to be the leading preventable cause of the overall cancer burden."
She said that there was proof positive that mass media campaigns work.
"Hard-hitting mass media campaigns, coupled with tobacco excise and smoke free environments, remain the most important things governments can do to reduce this burden," she said.
Labor had planned to fund its campaign via steep, progressive increases in tobacco taxes.
Tobacco excise on manufactured cigarettes would have risen four times a year under Labor compared with twice a year (March 1 and September 1) under the current tax guidelines.
The Australian Council on Smoking and Health supported the call for a national anti-tobacco campaign, describing it as "the missing ingredient" in Australia's approach to reduce smoking.
"The reintroduction of a TV-led public education campaign will complement other measures such as regular increases in price, plain packaging, product regulation, expansion of smoke-free areas, and a coordinated approach across the health system," the council's chief executive Maurice Swanson said.
The Liberals committed $20 million to "invest" in an anti-smoking campaign in its pre-election pledge but provided no detail about how or when this would be delivered.
To specifically assist cancer sufferers, it shifted focus to adding more listed drugs to the Pharmaceutical Benefits Scheme, including new immunotherapy drugs for cancer.
Included among these drugs is Tagrisso, a common treatment for non-small cell lung cancer approved by the EU and the US Food and Drug Administration. It slows or stops the growth of cancer cells by binding to particular proteins in some tumours.
Without a PBS listing, Tagrisso would cost $88,000 per course.