To: Tasmanian Department of Health and Human Services
From: Non-Smokers' Movement of Australia Inc (NSMA)
PO Box K860, Haymarket NSW 1240 Email: firstname.lastname@example.org
Per: Margaret Hogge, President
Date: 30 September 2010
Subject: Smoke-free Tasmania - Submission to Public Consultation
Everybody has the Right to breathe Clean Air,
free from the Poisons in Secondhand Tobacco Smoke
On behalf of the Non-Smokers' Movement of Australia Inc (NSMA),
may I congratulate the Tasmanian Government on considering strengthening
of smoke-free policy in the interests of the health of all residents and visitors,
and especially for children, frail-aged people,
and people with disabilities.
Our organisation was formed over 30 years ago, in 1977,
to fight for every body's basic right 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 -
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.
Tobacco kills more Australians than any other single product.
Children continue to take up smoking at an alarming rate, with very few restrictions.
Even worse than that, innocent victims are forced to breathe in the poisons
in secondhand 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 valid than those
of people who claim a right to smoke anywhere
because they are using a so-called legal product.
Chainsaws, cars and guns are also legally available products
but are subject to sensible restrictions.
We call on Tasmania's, and all of Australia's Governments,
to protect all Australians from this totally preventable epidemic.
Right to breathe Clean Air:
The message about everybody's
basic human right to breathe clean air, must be emphasised
in the face of opposition from smokers who are, after all,
in the grip of a highly addictive substance (nicotine).
Opposition comes not only from smokers, but also from Big Tobacco
and its lengthy chain of dealers, from the so-called "Hospitality"
Industry and the Gambling Industry and many who feed off them,
including political parties and governments dependent on sponsorship
and taxation from tobacco -
particularly odious methods of revenue-raising.
We continually remind non-smokers and people who smoke that,
despite the fact that tobacco is currently a restricted
but legally available product,
smokers' rights to use it stop at their own bodies (at their lips).
Smokers have no right to impose the poisons
and stink of tobacco smoke on others,
indoors or outdoors.
Discrimination occurs in all places where smoking is allowed.
Those who cannot, or who will not (to protect themselves) enter premises
or outdoor areas where smoking is allowed are being discriminated
against not only by the smokers
but also by the owners of the premises
and by the governments which allow smoking in those places.
Smokers are not being discriminated against -
they would all be welcome to use such places, simply not to smoke there.
"If the behaviour of one person causes unreasonable
disadvantage to another then that behaviour must be curbed
or some way found to minimise or prevent its impact.
When testing for reasonableness, it seems to me that total exclusion
weighs far more heavily
than the pleasure gained from the smoking of a cigarette."
Judge G. Innes - Disability Discrimination Case,1997 -
Francey & Meeuweissen v. Hilton Hotel.
Smokers may have the right to use a legally available product,
but not where their smoking adversely affects others.
In the words of the President of UK's Royal college of Paediatrics
and Child Health, in 2009, when discussing smoking in cars with children -
"This is legitimate Nanny-State territory".
We remind Tasmania's Government that, with children exposed daily
to the poisons in tobacco smoke, this is legitimate Nanny State territory,
and that all governments have a special responsibility
to protect those who cannot protect themselves.
We don't hear the cry of "Nanny State!"
when vehicle fuel emissions are restricted
or when building workers are told to wear helmets
and hearing protection, and safety vests.
No - it's mostly where deadly drugs of addiction,
such as tobacco and alcohol are involved,
and where those drugs of addiction are peddled legally.
Tasmanian Government has a responsibility to protect those
who cannot protect themselves.
The majority of smoking law reform has been driven by complaints from the loudest and strongest. Governments should look at the pressing need for those reforms in the past, and provide the same or stronger protection for those who cannot help themselves, namely: the unborn, infants and children, physically and intellectually disabled, frail-aged, prisoners, non-English speakers, in all aspects of their lives.
It is difficult to estimate the financial benefits of smokefree policies except to say that such benefits will far outweigh the estimated costs of legislation, signage, monitoring and enforcement, as the impact will be long-term and far-reaching, viz. cleaner air, healthier community, less places for smoking and thus reduced smoking rates, less visibility of smoking, less stink and less cigarette butts and packets in streets, doorways, parks, beaches, waiting areas, and waterways.
Most people don't smoke and they greatly resent that their access to clean air outdoors is currently blatantly denied them by smokers. Smokers have become accustomed to restrictions and should only smoke in designated spaces.
Any adverse impact which may occur as a result of smoking bans must be regarded as a community cost of health reforms which will, in the short and long term, save lives, not only through lessened exposure to tobacco smoke but also through reduced smoking rates. No smoke-free reforms should ever be delayed in case of perceived adverse economic impact.
Advice from Big Tobacco about potentially adverse economic effects should certainly be taken into account - they are, quite naturally, gravely concerned about the effect on their profit margins
Duty of Care /Workplace Health and Safety
Proprietors and Governments are reminded that they owe a duty of care to clients, patrons and employees within their jurisdictions and premises. All are aware of the dangers and that there is no safe level of tobacco smoke. Any person/s who suffers due to exposure to the well-known toxins is entitled to sue those proprietors and/or governments for breach of that duty of care as well as for breach of workplace health and safety law which states that known dangers must be removed from the workplace.
Australia is a party to the International Framework Convention on Tobacco Control (FCTC). Australia played a leading role in the negotiations and claims to be a strong supporter of the Convention. The second key obligation under the treaty commits our governments to the following action: Recognising that "scientific evidence has unequivocally established that exposure to tobacco smoke causes death, disease and disability", Governments shall take measures "providing protection from exposure to tobacco smoke in indoor workplaces, public transport, indoor public places, and, as appropriate, other public places."
Legislation and Enforcement:
Policing new regulations is, of course, a matter of community education.
With smoking rates dropping in the community,
and with a heightened sense of our basic right to clean air,
many non-smokers will, with the knowledge that government aims
to protect the community's health, speak up when they see breaches of regulations.
Governments should, of course, provide strong deterrents in the form of fines
in cases of breaches of the regulations.
With the backing of smoking ban and some simple signage,
both children and adults will be able to speak out confidently to defend their right to clean, smokefree air.
Regarding signs, all signage should be clear and unambiguous.
Smokefree Lives, INDOORS and OUTDOORS:
Over the past decade many members of the community, especially children,
have lived, worked and played in smokefree conditions indoors and,
when they approach the "great outdoors" they are immediately assaulted,
at every doorway, every outdoor seating area, outdoor dining, at picnic areas,
at so-called outdoor areas of pubs and clubs,
and even at entrances to kindergartens, schools and medical centres,
by tobacco smoke from people indulging in their killer drug of choice
and then tossing their butts away.
Tobacco products kill and harm not only smokers but also innocent bystanders.
If they were using syringes for delivery of their drug of choice, there would be a huge outcry.
Governments protect other amenities in the environment - they carry out noise abatement, pest control, food hygiene, fight chemical pollution. Governments have the right and the responsibility to protect the community from the effects of tobacco smoke, for the sake of improved public health as well as for improved amenity.
IF YOU CAN SMELL THE TOBACCO SMOKE,
THE POISONS ARE GOING INTO YOUR LUNGS (AND YOUR FAMILY'S LUNGS)
(Thoracic Surgeon, NSW, 2009)
Basic steps towards a truly smokefree and tobacco-free Tasmania
1. Commit to an end date for tobacco sales,
preferably 31 May (World No Tobacco Day) 2017.
By that date, sales must be restricted to prescriptions for licensed users only.
2. Confirm that everybody has the right to breathe clean air,
free from the poisons in tobacco smoke.
3. Declare tobacco smoke a Toxic Air Contaminant.
Government can provide a strong tool for developing far-reaching legislation
and legal rights to gain everybody's right to clean, smokefree air
in all aspects of their lives.
4 Declare all tobacco products unsafe.
5. Protect unborn and babies (especially in indigenous communities)
by doing everything possible to prevent women from smoking while pregnant
and while caring for babies.
6. Smokefree Homes - In the matter of secondhand 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.
"Child abuse doesn't have to mean broken bones and black and blue marks.
Young growing tissues are far more vulnerable to carcinogens than those of adults.
Knowingly subjecting children to respiratory tract diseases is child abuse."
Dr William Cahan, Sloan Kettering Cancer Center, USA, 1993
7. Legislate that children may not enter any smoking-allowed areas,
indoors or outdoors (similar to not being allowed in gambling areas).
Nobody can say how much tobacco smoke will trigger life-threatening asthma,
Sudden Infant Death Syndrome (SIDS) or heart and lung conditions.
The safest option is to keep all smoking well-distanced from every body and at the same time help prevent further uptake of the use of this deadly and highly addictive substance.
Rather than designating that areas such as children's playground equipment
should have a smokefree zone around them, the government should
turn the concept around to recognise our basic rights to smokefree air,
and should designate all areas to be smoke-free
with the exception of a limited number of designated outdoor smoking areas/ spaces.
Dr. Andrew Penman, CEO of Cancer Council says,
"We are recommending to the government that outdoor smoking needs to move...
to the assumption that smoking is prohibited from all outdoor areas
unless otherwise stated."
8. Public Transport Waiting Areas - Bus, Boat, Airport, Ferry, Train, Tram and Taxi waiting areas and Vehicle and bicycle Parking Areas should all be declared smokefree, within at least a 10 metre zone. There should be at least 10metre buffer zones around all areas.
Public transport users often wait long periods for their smokefree and environmentally-friendly transport. They are "doing the right thing" by using public transport.
People who wish to smoke should find an area well-distanced from all others.
Governments should not feel the need to provide butt-bins at every waiting area - smokers should dispose of their butts safely and thoughtfully, in personal ashtrays.
9. Smokefree zones around Schools, Hospitals and Children's Care Centres.
Schools, play-centres and child-care centres carry high concentrations of children,
for at least thirty hours each week.
All such centres should have a 10 metre smokefree zone around their borders,
not only to protect from the smoke but also
to de-normalise smoking in children's eyes.
Similarly, hospitals and medical centres should also have
10 metre smokefree zones completely surrounding their borders.
10. Smokefree Alfresco Dining and Drinking in cafes and restaurants, pubs and clubs
These areas are used for long periods,
with people of all ages sitting in close proximity to each other.
The impact from tobacco smoke in such circumstances can be as bad as indoors.
Children and employees should not be allowed near such spaces.
Smoking should only be allowed in Designated Outdoor Smoking Areas/Spaces,
well-distanced from building openings.
11 Smokefree Parks, Sporting Fields, and all spectator Areas.
Sport, active play and smoking simply do not mix.
No child should see smoking as a normal part of sport or play.
There is nothing normal about smoking.
12 Smokefree Publicly-sponsored Events held on Public Land
All should be declared smokefree, with a simple clause included in contracts.
Short announcements, combined with the usual sun-safe messages are sufficient
- "This is a smoke-free event" There is no reason to apologise for an "inconvenience" -tobacco smoke has caused an "inconvenience" for years.
13. Smokefree Beaches, Waterways and Jetties
Smoking along all waterways and at jetties (within 10 metres)
should be totally banned.
The ban should not be limited to patrolled areas.
Poisonous cigarette butts cause untold damage to our marine life.
14 Designated Outdoor Smoking Areas/Spaces .
All potentially crowded public spaces, such as shopping areas,
markets, concerts, festivals, and sporting arenas,
should have a limited number of Designated Outdoor Smoking Areas/spaces.
Designating such spaces should not be regarded as condoning smoking,
but as a means to restrict and contain both the tobacco smoke
and cigarette butts.
When placed at a distance from thoroughfares and building openings
they also serve to take smoking out of sight of children,
therefore de-normalising smoking in their eyes. There is nothing normal about smoking.
Non-smokers should not be forced to find smokefree spaces.
Smokers should search out a space where their secondhand smoke
does not affect others.
15. Ban smoking in all vehicles,
especially those carrying children, disabled people,
frail-aged, and other dependants,
and to help prevent smoking distractions. Drivers must fully concentrate on driving, not be distracted by the multiple actions of opening a packet, lighting a cigarette, ashing, stubbing out, and carefully disposing of it. Prevent bushfires (lit by tossed butts).
16. Smoke invasion and smoke seepage from neighbours
is a growing health and social problem,
which calls for strong and positive support,
assistance and legislation from Government.
"Tobacco smoke travels from its point of generation in a building
to all other areas of the building.
It has been shown to move through light fixtures,
through ceiling crawl spaces, and into and out of doorways.
Once exposed, building occupants are at risk for the irritant,
allergic and acute and chronic cardiopulmonary and carcinogenic
adverse health effects which are known to be associated with
environmental tobacco smoke (ETS) exposure",
California Chief of Occupational Health and Safety, 1993.
Government should assist home-dwellers in protecting themselves
and their families from secondhand smoke invasion from neighbours.
Nobody should be forced to barricade themselves into their homes to protect themselves from neighbours' smoke. They have every right to expect clean water to flow from their taps -similarly they have every right to breathe clean, smokefree air in their homes.
People should only be allowed to smoke where their smoke does not affect others, indoors and outdoors.
Governments should support anyone who brings a complaint of invasion/assault from tobacco smoke from neighbours.
We already have protection from invasion/assault from excessive noise.
The same should apply to the poisons in tobacco smoke.
Researchers Winickoff, Gottlieb and Mello in a recent article
in New England Journal of Medicine (NEJM) dated 17 June 2010,
have advised the USA government that, due to the nature of smoke seepage,
and also, in order to protect the most vulnerable members of the community,
multi-unit Public Housing should be declared smokefree.
17. Smokefree Indoors, including Residential Institutions, no exceptions.
With the knowledge that there is no safe level of tobacco smoke,
all governments must ensure that exemptions in so-called "special circumstances"
Residential institutions, such as psychiatric centres, hostels and prisons,
if they continue to allow smoking indoors,
continue to breach basic workplace safety regulations
and their basic duty of care, towards smoking and non-smoking residents,
as well as to all smoking and non-smoking employees and visitors.
All other workplaces are designated smokefree, for health and safety reasons.
Even smokers are entitled to smokefree indoors at their place of residence.
We are advised that, following the promotion of the message
"Car and home, smokefree zone" the majority of smokers in general
don't smoke indoors at home, for the health and comfort of others.
The wide range of alternative nicotine therapies should be accessed if designated outdoor smoking area/spaces cannot be used, due to physical disability or sensitive security concerns.
Residents of such institutions should only be allowed to smoke in a limited number of Designated Outdoor Smoking Areas/spaces, strategically placed to prevent tobacco smoke from drifting inside buildings.
18. Criminal Prosecution for Suppliers of Tobacco to Minors.
Vigorous criminal prosecution of suppliers of tobacco products to minors
(including parents and friends).
Such measures are under consideration in several countries, in efforts to stop early take-up by children and potential long-term addiction.
The message "Every cigarette is doing you harm" is especially important where young people experience peer pressure to use abundantly available tobacco and alcohol.
Suppliers (including friends and family) of these otherwise legally available drugs
must be forced to recognise the seriousness of their actions
in supplying to minors and must face the legal consequences,
with heavy criminal penalties and full publicity.
19. Rigorous testing of all quitting therapies, including non-drug therapies. Subsidies and effective follow-up assistance.
20. Licence to purchase tobacco -
An adults only, fee-paying photo-licence scheme, replacing tax revenues and providing frequent opt-out with possible refunds for proven quitting attempts.
Such a scheme, provided by a Government fully committed to reducing take-up and reducing smoking rates, is well worth immediate consideration. Full public consultation, (national and international), should generate a successful scheme.
21. Call on Australia's Federal Government to
remove duty-free status from all tobacco products.
22. Support significant and relatively frequent price increases on tobacco products.
23. Ban tobacco industry donations/sponsorship of political parties.
24. Tobacco Sales only from licensed retailers - minors prohibited from selling or handling tobacco products. No tobacco vending machines.
25. All tobacco products out of sight, wherever they are sold, to de-normalise smoking in children's eyes, as well as to reduce the visual impact of tobacco products on those attempting to quit. .
26. Allow only plain-paper packaging for all tobacco products. Brand Packaging is another form of advertising, appealing mostly to young people.
27. Media News coverage of all tobacco-related stories should be accompanied
by graphic warnings depicting dangers of smoking.
The majority of news items about tobacco continue to depict people "enjoying" tobacco
products, thereby constituting a form of unpaid advertising
- children see these images often and must regard smoking as a "normal'
28. Film/Television depicting smoking - to be accompanied by adult rating,
and prefaced with warnings.
29. All internet sales to be banned,
and potential blackmarket/smuggling activities to be heavily attacked.
Funding to be supplied from tax/licensing revenues.
30. Reducing financial support of Big Tobacco.
Ban government and quasi- government
investment (eg superannuation funds) in all aspects of the tobacco industry -
all tobacco investment to be separated from other industries.
Tobacco's financial links should be completely and openly exhibited
to allow public scrutiny and deliberate withdrawal from unintentional funding
of the production,
packaging and marketing of its deadly products.
We are convinced that, with commitment to an end-date, and with co-ordinated, tough measures, you can, we can, truly achieve a Smokefree Tasmania by 31 May 2017, with smoking damage reduced to very minimal and manageable levels.
We are happy to discuss these points further, especially in public forum.
(Mrs) Margaret Hogge, Pres. NSMA. 0419 257 605