The Non Smokers' Movement of Australia Inc.
Protecting the rights of the Non-smoking majority from tobacco smoke and the tobacco industry's propaganda.

ACT Alcohol, Tobacco and Other Drug Strategy 2010-2014

NSMA Submission - March 2010
To: ACT Health Policy Division, GPO Box 825, Canberra ACT 2601

From: The Non-Smokers' Movement of Australia Inc. (NSMA)

PO Box K860 Haymarket NSW 1240 Ph: 0419 257 605

Thank you for inviting comment on this extremely important issue.


The Non-Smokers' Movement of Australia Inc. (NSMA) has fought for over thirty years for every body's rights to breathe clean air, free from the poisons in tobacco smoke.

Clean water, clean air - every body's inalienable rights. Our Governments protect our right to clean water in our taps for drinking and washing - we have every right expect our Governments to protect our right to breathe clean air.

Some may say that the battles for clean air rights are almost over but we must point out that, due to greed, ignorance, addiction and complacency, there are still more than 3 million Australians who smoke and expel the poisons in tobacco smoke. Children continue to take up smoking at an alarming rate, with very few restrictions.

Worse still, innocent victims are forced to breathe in the poisons in tobacco smoke from those 3 million smokers - children, disabled people and the frail-aged are the silent and helpless victims and their rights are far more important and valid than those of smokers who claim a right to smoke anywhere because they are using a so-called legal product. The same argument applies to the estimated 47,000 people who smoke in ACT. Smokers should only be allowed to use their drug of addiction where they do not affect others. Smokers' rights stop at their own lips.

Tobacco smoke is toxic.

There is no safe level of secondhand tobacco smoke.

If you can smell the tobacco smoke, the poisons are going into your and your family's lungs.

Despite stating that the ACT Government has developed and implemented strategies to promote respect for human rights, the draft strategy makes no mention of every body's right to clean air, free from the well-documented poisons in tobacco smoke. It mentions smoking bans only in the context of reducing smoking rates. It does mention that alcohol and other drugs can affect others through violence so, to be consistent, should include strategies to protect non-smokers from assault from tobacco smoke. We especially need strategies to protect children, disabled and frail-aged people in vehicles, indoors at home, and in institutions.

International Obligation - Framework Convention on Tobacco Control Australia is signatory to the International Framework Convention on Tobacco Control and has committed to "take measures 'providing protection from exposure to tobacco smoke in indoor workplaces, public transport, indoor public places, and, as appropriate, other public places'. All Australian governments are obliged to take strong, urgent measures to protect non-smokers. This must extend, as we have pointed out, to protection in vehicles, homes and institutions.

Smoke Assault in the Home: In the matter of tobacco smoke in the home, nobody should smoke at home where children, frail aged or disabled people are present. In any instance of smoking where children are present, a smoker should be prosecuted for child abuse. Spanking a child is regarded as child abuse. Smoking near a child, with the possibility of triggering life-threatening conditions such as Sudden Infant Death Syndrome and asthma, must also be designated as child abuse.

Smoke assault from Neighbours Additionally, nobody should be forced to barricade their family into their home in order to protect them from smoke assault from neighbours. Smoke travels throughout home unit buildings and through open windows and doorways. Governments must support everyone who wishes to gain smokefree living conditions for their family. Support Strata Corporations in introducing no-smoking by-laws to prevent smoke-drift within apartment buildings. Support home owners if neighbours allow their secondhand smoke to drift into their property.

Prisons and detention centres Alcohol is not allowed in prisons and other institutions, despite the fact that it is a legally available drug. Similarly, tobacco should not be allowed, especially as it immediately affects others when used, due to the poisons in tobacco smoke. Smoking should only be allowed at a limited number of designated outdoor smoking areas/spaces, in order to contain both the toxic smoke and the butts.

Basic steps towards a truly tobacco-free and smokefree Australia

  • 1. Commit to an end date for tobacco sales in Australia, preferably 31 May (World No Tobacco Day) 2017. By that date, sales must be restricted to prescriptions for licensed users only.

  • 2. Declare secondhand tobacco smoke a Toxic Air Contaminant.

  • 3. Reject donations/sponsorship from the tobacco industry.

  • 4. Declare all tobacco products unsafe.

  • 5. Confirm that everybody has the right to breathe clean air, free from the poisons in tobacco smoke.

  • 6. Protect unborn children and babies (especially in indigenous communities) by doing everything possible to prevent women from smoking while pregnant and while caring for babies.

  • 7. Ban smoking in vehicles, especially those carrying children, disabled people, and frail-aged. Preferably ban smoking in all vehicles, to help prevent bushfires lit by tossed butts.

  • 8. Support all families' rights for clean, smoke-free air at home, not subject to smoke assault from neighbours, either in single dwellings or in multi-unit housing. No family should be forced to barricade one's home to protect themselves from the poisons in secondhand smoke.

  • 9. Declare that all indoor public places must be smokefree, including prisons and other residential institutions. Residents of institutions should only be allowed to smoke in a limited number of Designated Outdoor Smoking Areas, strategically placed to prevent secondhand smoke from drifting inside buildings.

  • 10. Legislate that smokers may only smoke outdoors in a limited number of Designated Outdoor Smoking Areas, well-distanced from building openings, or in an area where they can prove that their smoke does not affect others. (Non-smokers should not be forced to find smokefree spaces. Smokers should search out a space where their secondhand smoke does not affect others.)

  • 11. Legislate that children may not enter any smoking-allowed areas (similar to not being allowed in gambling areas).

  • 12. Remove duty-free status from all tobacco products.

  • 13. Introduce tobacco-purchaser's (adults only) licence scheme to replace tax revenues. Suppliers to minors (including supply by parents and friends) to be heavily prosecuted.

  • 14. Tobacco Sales only from licensed retailers - minors prohibited from selling or handling tobacco products. No tobacco vending machines.

  • 15. All tobacco products out of sight, wherever they are sold.

  • 16. Allow only plain-paper packaging for all tobacco products.

  • 17. All approved, effective Quitting therapies, including non-drug therapies, to be subsidised and closely monitored, with follow-up assistance included.

  • 18. Media News coverage of all tobacco-related stories to be accompanied by graphic warnings.

  • 19. Films/Television shows depicting smoking - to be accompanied by adult rating, and prefaced with warnings.

  • 20. No smoking on stage. No fellow actor, and no member of the audience should be forced to breathe secondhand tobacco smoke for the sake of "authenticity".

  • 21. All internet sales to be banned, and potential blackmarket/smuggling activities to be heavily attacked. Funding to be supplied from tax/licensing revenues.

  • 22 Any perceived economic disadvantage occurring as a result of the above actions must be regarded as a necessary cost of ridding the Australian community of its deadliest and most expensive killer. Annual Australian tobacco revenue is approximately $7 billion, whereas the health costs to the Australian community add up to approximately $31 billion. Do the sums.

Aims of the 2010 - 2014 Drug Strategy:
  • improve the health and social well-being of individuals, consumers, families and carers, and the community in the ACT

  • minimise the harm in our community from alcohol, tobacco and other drugs while recognising the individual needs of all citizens in the ACT

  • develop evidence-based policies and initiatives to ensure that issues associated with harmful alcohol, tobacco and other drug use are addressed in an effective way, and

  • implement the Strategy Action Plan in a manner that respects, protects and promotes human rights

NSMA Inc. is convinced that ACT Health will fulfil the aims of the 2010 -2014 Strategy, in regard to tobacco, if it takes the above measures into consideration.

Margaret Hogge
President, NSMA Inc.
PO Box K860 Haymarket NSW 1240
Phone: 0419 257 605

The Non-Smokers' Movement of Australia Inc. Box K860, Haymarket NSW 1240.
This page was last updated on Friday, 19th December 2014