|Non Smokers' Update|
NSMA have sent a warning to the Minister for Transport in NSW, The Hon. Carl Scully, that this organisation will try to organise a class action against the State Rail Authority on behalf of long suffering and health damaged passengers. NSMA informed the Minister that it is quite disgraceful and totally unacceptable that passengers are still being subjected to passive smoking damage after 24 years of continuous protest. There are many good legal cases out there where people with asthma and other special health problems are daily subjected to further damage by the sheer negligence of this state government authority. The SRA have moved from its original attitude of supporting smokers and damning non-smoking complainants as the cause of disputes, to their current position of total hypocrisy.
They are hypocrites because officially they say smoking is banned under all covered areas on railway stations, including the stairways and walkways, but in practice their station staff refuse to enforce these regulations. We know that class actions present difficult legal issues but let us make a start on it now. Who would have though you could have a class action against the airlines for not having enough leg-room between their rows of seats and for not warning people of the dangers? Never the less that is what is happening and we should use these examples to pressure the SRA into printing warnings on rail tickets about exposure to passive smoking danger unless they can eliminate the problem. Legal circumstances will turn in our favour and we should be ready to press on with effective action.
The Bad Old Days
Members will remember the bad old days when the NSMA first started in 1977. Railway staff would openly smoke anywhere and everywhere on duty. They would even have a fag in their mouth while selling you a ticket. Any non-smoker who complained would be treated like a fool and fobbed off and frustrated to a point that few had the perseverance to persist with complaints. Off the record, middle management would concede that the real problem was the predominance of smoking staff and the power of the unions who supported their right to smoke. If you can't stop the staff from smoking what hope is there that the staff would stop passengers from smoking? Absolutely none of course, and it was a lost cause for many years. Remember the classic case of a member who put up his own no-smoking signs to try and educate the staff but was then arrested by railway security for defacing railway property!
The Bad Old Days Continue
When Brian McBride took issue with two women who wanted to smoke while sitting beside him under a covered area on Seven Hills Railway station in December 2000 it was like the start of world war three. They insisted there was no such thing as a ban under covered areas and abused him as a "cranky old man who did not know what he was talking about"! He called the stationmaster to spell out the law to the smokers but the stationmaster refused to do this and, instead, started an argument about the greater importance of stopping pollution from car exhaust fumes. The stationmaster then retreated to his bunker in the ticket office and refused to deal with Brian. When Brian took up a position at the one and only ticket window and announced that he was not leaving until he was given a form to lodge a written complaint, about dereliction of duty by the stationmaster, another staff member roundly abused him. He called Brian a "selfish bastard" (presumably for stopping smokers having their pleasures) and said what he would like to do to him in words that can't be repeated here.
Call for Security Police
This, of course, was waving a red rag at a bull. Brian tried to get the names of these cowboys but of course they would not give any. He repeated that he would remain at the ticket window until the stationmaster either called security to arrest him for blocking access or came out of his bunker and dealt with the issue of breach of railway by-laws as originally requested. Eventually, faced with unrest from people who could not buy tickets he reluctantly agreed to come out on the platform to discuss the matter. However, as soon as Brian asked for information about his District Manager, so he could go there and complain, the stationmaster once again retreated to his office without giving any information or assistance.
Battle To Get Names
Brian went directly to the main western line control office at 87 Marsden Street Parramatta and demanded that the District Manager provide an inspector to travel back to Seven Hills station with him to identify the staff who behaved so disgracefully. The Public Relations Manager tried to soothe things over but Brian insisted until finally the District Manager rang Seven Hills and confirmed that he had obtained the names of the staff involved and gave assurances that the complaint would be fully investigated.
Follow Through On Complaint
Letters have now been written to the District Manager advising him that copies of the complaint would be personally presented to the Minister for Transport via local State Member, Mr Wayne Merton. Brian's previous local member, Ms Pam Allen, had made similar representations some years ago. She has also been given copies of this new complaint and asked to take issue with the Minister. Obviously, the assurances given to her have proved to be worthless in the face of anarchy by SRA staff. She had attended high-level meetings with SRA management where promises were made that non-smoker complainants would not be subjected to such unfair treatment in the future. They fully agreed that non-smokers were within their rights to demand that no smoking by-laws be observed.
More Signs Needed
The continuing problem with the public is that they do not really know the laws and presume that smoking is allowed if there are no signs to the contrary. We have decided to drive this message home by putting up our own special signs saying "NO SMOKING UNDER COVERED AREAS". We will send copies of these photos of NSMA members placing their own signs on railway platforms to the Minister with a challenge to prosecute them if he dares.
Open Air Test Case
The covered areas under awnings are semi open-air situations and they represent something of a test case on whether we can achieve and enforce smoking bans against the sloppy logic of those who say "If it's outside, it's OK". The NSMA makes no apology for pressing on with campaigns to ban smoking in all public areas, whether they are indoors or outdoors. This is one reason why we must step up the fight on railway stations and not, for one minute, condone the authorities' de-facto attitude that it does not really matter and the public are not really concerned about it. If the Minister cannot give the non-smoking majority at least some smoke-free space we have no option but to demand totally smoke-free railway stations. We can foresee violence on railway stations unless the Minister acts quickly to remove the hostility that is developing towards smokers.
Action Point 1. Write to the NSW Minister for Transport, The Hon. Carl Scully, Parliament House, Macquarie Street, Sydney, 2000. Complain about his failure to implement or enforce By-laws banning smoking under covered areas on all suburban railway stations. Challenge him to change the laws if he is really not going to enforce them.
Action Point 2. If you are a reasonably fit person and not likely to have a heart attack in confrontations with smokers, write in and register you name with us. We have some plans in mind but we need numbers of willing supporters to give effect to them.
CELEBRATION OF SMOKE-FREE RESTAURANTS
A very successful dinner was held at a Chinese restaurant in the heart of Sydney's China Town on 13 December 2000. It was wonderful for our organisers not to have the usual restraint of having to select a restaurant which was enlightened enough to have a smoke-free area, but was not situated in a geographical region which disadvantaged some of our membership. We were able to choose any one of many close to our offices, and central to members coming from any part of Sydney. This is the way a civilised world should be!
INTERESTING GUEST SPEAKERS
We were honoured to have two excellent speakers who have done great work in fighting the tobacco menace for many years. Ms Anne Jones, Chief Executive Officer of Action on Smoking and Health (ASH), gave us the inside view of working for the new "Smoke-free Environment Bill", which became law on 6 September 2000. Dr. Arthur Chesterfield-Evans MLA, gave us warm encouragement for the contribution that the NSMA had made following through from the foundations he had laid before going into Parliament.
ANNUAL GENERAL MEETING
This was combined with the celebration dinner on 13 December. President of NSMA, Brian McBride, spoke briefly to a tabled report listing the main activities for the year including the new restaurant legislation, railway platforms, bus services, shopping centres, coffee shops, tennis courts and sporting complexes, street smoking and litter issues. We also did some preparation work for action on Flats & Units, to be progressed in 2001.
PROGRESS WITH SMOKEFREE LEGISLATION
We receive many complaints about smoke drift from outdoor alfresco dining areas into the indoor eating areas where non-smokers are forced to sit. (See letters to Ed.). We will keep working for improved legislation, which will ban smoking in any area where food is served, whether it is indoor or outdoor. Meanwhile our complaints to the Dept. of Health are answered with the advice that Section 10 of the legislation will eventually make owners responsible to ensure there is no smoke-drift from smoking to non-smoking areas. However there is a delay provision on Section 10 operating and they will not move on these complaints until twelve months are up on 6 September 2001. The Queensland situation is in limbo with the new state election campaign now under way. There is no real progress to report in Tasmania but we will try to update the information in more detail for the next newsletter.
UNIVERSITY QUIT/INFORMATION DAY
Our hard working volunteers gave up their time to man an information stall at the University of NSW in October 2000. The Dean of the faculty of Arts, addressed the students about the benefits of avoiding addictive drugs and the destructive social behaviour that inevitably follows. NSMA President, Brian McBride, also spoke about the importance of supporting agencies like NSMA who were not government funded but worked long and hard to combat the damage done by the tobacco industry in this country. He offered support to any students trying to quit and free information to be given to friends and relatives to help them decide to quit.
BAN ON STREET SMOKING
A petition to ban smoking in city streets was presented to the Lord Mayor of Sydney, Frank Sartor, in October 2000. The Petition said in essence: "We call on you to establish the 25 metre rule: that is to stop people smoking just outside doorways to offices and restaurants and to make other areas available for smokers to congregate".
His reply said: "I do not consider appropriate the suggestion to prohibit smoking outdoors within a radius of 25 metres to every city building entrance. It would be impossible to enforce and the extensive signage would itself be a form of visual pollution. It would not solve the problem; it would simply shift it from areas adjacent to entrances to locations 25 metres away from the entrances to city buildings. The Deputy Lord Mayor, Lucy Turnbull, and I, are concerned about cigarette butt litter in the city. We have approached many building owners and tenants, requesting them to provide appropriate ashtray facilities and regular cleaning regimes at the entrances to their buildings. I consider this more appropriate than seeking to shift the problem elsewhere. That would only absolve building owners and tenants for taking responsibility for the cigarette litter generated by their employees and visitors. Nonetheless, I will table your petition at the next meeting of Council and I have forwarded a copy to the Director of City Development for his consideration".
We regard this as the expected fob-off to our first approach. It is now up to us to carry the issue a stage further by presenting him with clear evidence of smokers breaching his anti-litter laws with impunity. There are practically nil prosecutions and the Lord mayor knows he is only paying lip service to the problem. We will offer to be free smoking police for him if he will allow us to keep the fines revenue. We may even start issuing our own "on-the-spot" fines to turn up the heat on the issue. It will be interesting to see how credible he looks as he condemns our well intentioned efforts while continuing to do nothing effective himself.
Action Point 3. Write to Cr. Frank Sartor, Lord Mayor of Sydney, Town Hall House, 456 Kent Street, Sydney 2000, and complain about his lack of logic. Extensive signage would be far less visually polluting than the smokers themselves lounging around doorways. Moving smokers 25 metres does solve the problem of clearing the entrances for non-smokers to use in safety. The problem he is afraid to tackle is where to allow smokers to congregate and we demand that he address that problem and not fob us off with sloppy logic. Pin him down on facts by asking for the precise numbers of prosecutions, for $60 littering fines, the Council has imposed in the last twelve months. Copy your letter to Lucy Turnbull and ask whether she supports the Councils soft attitude towards smokers and pollution in the city.
FLATS AND UNITS
We continue to receive complaints and give advice to people suffering smoke pollution from their neighbours. We are planning to make a definite move on this problem in 2001. We will have our solicitors write threatening letters to the offenders in a number of selected cases. We expect to firm up on the best case to take to court for action under common law for damages due to nuisance, negligence and health damage. At the same time we hope to find more housing commission tenants so that we can shape up a class action against the common landlord, which is the government. Our objective will be to have all blocks of units declared either smoking or non-smoking and thus end the present lottery that non-smokers face every time there is a change in their neighbours.
COLES AND WOOLWORTHS
There was no response to our call for members who hold shares to contact us. Hence we now request members to consider buying the minimum parcel of shares in either company so they can help with planned agitation to stop large supermarkets from selling and promoting sales of cigarettes.
Action Point 4. Contact a stockbroker or use the internet to buy a minimum parcel of shares in either Woolworths or Coles Meyer. Then register your name with us.
SMOKING IN BUSES
There is a loophole in the law that only prohibits smoking in these public vehicles while they are actually carrying passengers. This allows smoking drivers to sit in the vehicle and smoke their heads off between journeys or while waiting between shifts. The problem is bad on Westbus services in the Castle Hill area as reported in the last Update. Recently, one of our members was abused by another (smoker) passenger when he had the hide to complain to the driver about the stink of cigarette smoke when he got into the bus. NSMA is supporting all complaints and has asked Dr. Arthur Chesterfield-Evans to sponsor an amendment to the laws to eliminate this loophole.
What a disgrace to see Nick Greiner honoured as one of the VIPS on the Federation Day float in the Parade. How the tobacco barons in boardrooms around the world must laugh at the gullibility of governments, who continue to fete the very people who are using all their considerable talents to undo every move those governments make against their industry. People like Greiner have been hunting with the hounds while running with the fox for so long now it is just second nature to them. When the float passed Park Street, this Chairman of British American Tobacco was smiling broadly and acknowledging the crowd's applause. Yes Nick, we think you have made a real impact on the welfare of some Australians, particularly, those 108,000 which you have put in an early grave since you joined the enemies of this country in return for 30 pieces of silver.
OHSA IS STILL RELEVANT
The 1983 Occupational Health and Safety Act in NSW still applies to every workplace whether it is private or public. We had to advise the proprietor of a wedding reception centre that if staff are employed at any function they have to be provided with a smoke-free workplace. This proprietor had been asked by the bride-to-be to specify that her wedding reception would be a "smoking" function because she said it was a private function and thus not covered by the new Smoke-Free Environment laws. Even when it was pointed out that she had four-year-old flower girls in the bridal party she still insisted that there be no restrictions on smoking at the function. We assured the proprietor her duty was to obey the OHSA laws and insist on smoke-free working conditions.
GOOD WORK ARTHUR
On 12 October 2000 our past President, Dr. Arthur Chesterfield-Evans, spoke in NSW Parliament about the hypocrisy of the tobacco industry in trying to lobby politicians to save then from financial losses due to the growing market for illegal or "chop-chop" tobacco. Here is an abbreviated version of his statement to the Parliament:
"Today I was the only member of this house who did not get a kit from British American Tobacco (BAT). The kit with a sample of chop-chop, which is raw tobacco, has the message, Illegal tobacco like this costs the community hundreds of millions of dollars a year. Legal tobacco kills people at a far greater profit. The line taken by BAT which is represented by Nick Greiner, the sponsor of a great number of deaths is that half a kilogram of chop-chop costs about $40 whereas roll-your-own tobacco costs up to $180. BAT claims that chop-chop has about 7 per cent of the so-called legitimate I like that word legitimate - tobacco market. They claim that the excise loss is $600 million and the retailers' loss is $70 million. BAT does not mention that it would mean a loss to them of about $180 million. The black market for chop-chop is growing exponentially.
The credibility of the industry is extremely low and they have been involved in appalling incidences of smuggling tobacco around the world and on which no excise is paid. They use smuggling across the USA/Canadian border to lower taxes by totally undermining the tax structure in Canada. The solution for NSW is to have a meaningful licensing system not a negative system as was suggested by the Minister and then withdrawn where tobacconists pay a realistic fee. That money can be used for enforcement of sales to minors and against illegal sales.
This system of licensing would restrict the number of outlets and stop the sale of cigarettes to minors and illegal sales of chop-chop, because it would have a well-funded enforcement system. I will be asking the Minister for Health to look at such a licensing system for tobacconists with a reasonable fee to create enforcement funding. Hopefully this will be another way to lessen the harm from tobacco. We must be careful not to follow the industry's precepts because it seeks profit maximisation, no matter how many people die."
CLOSING QUIT AT ROZELLE
NSMA were invited to the function to mark the closure of the QUIT headquarters at Rozelle in December 2000 where it was part of CEIDA. The function will now be incorporated into the Health Promotion unit of the NSW Dept. of Health, located at North Sydney. Brian McBride was pleased to go along to hear the various managers over the last 18 years talk of the problems involved and the changing priorities they were given. Brian was also glad to finally meet up with the elusive Dr Virginia Gray (see photo). Readers will recall our frustration at replies from the Minister referring matters to her about twelve months ago. She explained that our correspondence went to another section of the Department. We will watch with interest to see if the Minister is going to scale up, or scale down, the services of QUIT in its new headquarters.
SURGEON GENERALS REPORT FOR 2000
This comprehensive review of all the latest medical research evidence condemning smoking has now been issued by the USA Surgeon General's office. This report is the first to offer a composite review of the various methods used to reduce and prevent tobacco use. It evaluates each of the five major approaches: educational, clinical, regulatory, economic, and comprehensive. Further, the report attempts to place these approaches in the larger context of tobacco control, providing a vision for the future of tobacco use prevention and control based on these available tools. The report concludes that although our knowledge about tobacco control remains imperfect, we know more than enough to act now. The report is available on line at the USA Office on Smoking and Health Web site at www.cdc.gov/tobacco.
THE STAGGERING STATISTIC
Of all the statistics bandied around about death and disease from tobacco the most staggering one is put out by the World Health Organisation which says: "250 million children alive today will die from smoking tobacco". Should we need any more motivation to go all-out to close down the tobacco industry?
SMOKE RINGS AROUND OLYMPICS
Dr. Raoul Walsh of the Cancer Research program in Newcastle and Dr. Andrew Penman of NSW Cancer Council, have published some interesting survey results in the Australian & New Zealand Journal of Public Health. The survey showed only 29% of people agreed with the proposition, "Representatives of the tobacco industry should be able to serve on the Sydney organising Committee for the Olympic Games (SOCOG)". The question was deliberately worded in a positive way to eliminate the possible accusation of encouraging an anti-tobacco industry opinion. Even so a clear 54% disagreed with the proposal with a large 11% unsure of their position and the usual 6% of don't knows. The NSMA is pleased to note that this investigation was prompted by our public protest against Nick Greiner's membership of the SOCOG Board. The article said:
"The Board membership of the Chairman of WD & HO Wills, now BAT Australia, Mr Nick Greiner, seems totally inconsistent with the Olympic ideals and has been the subject to strong criticism and protest by the Non-Smokers' Movement of Australia."
The article concluded: "We call on SOCOG to recognise that Mr. Greiner's membership of the Board is at variance with the Australian public's commitment to Olympic ideals and to reflect public opinion by terminating his appointment immediately. Furthermore, we urge the International Olympic Committee to make it a condition of future host cities that the tobacco industry has no role in the organisation or sponsorship of future Olympic Games."
Footnote: NSMA would like to thank Drs Walsh and Penman for adding their weight to the cause. Unfortunately Nick was still there with his seat in the VIP Box and his snout in the champagne right up to the closing ceremony. SOCOG has disbanded now but we will send a copy of the article to all ex members of the Board to see if anyone has the decency to say sorry for accepting him as one of their colleagues. We might even try to get Michael Knight to make a comment now that he has left the political area. That is, unless he also turns up working for the tobacco industry which will no doubt try to recruit him as another high-profile ex-politician!
SMUGGLER OF DEATH
Anne Jones of ASH has drawn media attention to the fact that the British American Tobacco (BAT), the tobacco multinational with a controlling interest in the Australian tobacco company BAT (Australasia), has been named as one of the top ten worst corporations in the world for their involvement in smuggling cigarettes on a global scale. The Top Ten List of socially irresponsible corporations is released annually by Multinational Monitor Magazine founded by Ralph Nader. BAT(A) holds 45% of the Australian tobacco market and produces a range of tobacco products including Benson & Hedges and Horizon cigarettes. The World Health Organisation estimates that tobacco kills 4 million people a year and BAT is a major contributor to this growing tobacco epidemic.
Anne said we think the conduct of BATA's controlling shareholder warrants comment from Mr Nick Greiner (BATA Chairman). It's time he ended his silence over the smuggling scandal and its implications for Australia. The full story, "The Ten Worst Corporations of the Year," can be seen on the web at www.multinationalmonitor.org/mm2000/00december/enemies.html.
TOBACCO STILL VERY PROFITABLE
Despite bad press and increasing litigation, tobacco stocks were among the best performers on the stock markets in 2000. Most listed companies doubled share prices last year, with Philip Morris shares rising from $US 22 in Feb 2000 to US$45 this week, and BAT shares rising from AU$ 9:30 in March to about $14 currently. The strong performance of tobacco stocks should continue this year, the experts say.
SMOKING PLACEMENT IN FILMS
Further coverage of the study published in the lancet about the portrayal of smoking in films by researchers from the Dartmouth Medical School in England has stirred some action in Australia. A feature interview with Australian actor Mel Gibson about his latest film "What Women Want" calls Gibson a cigarette-smoking icon for the politically incorrect. It says smoke trails after him when he enters the room for his interview. Ron Edwards, ACOSH W.A., is doing a good job pressing for a special classification for these films. He says he has written to the Federal Attorney General about films that have received tobacco sponsorship requesting that they carry a ticket that says so. He says people are noticing more smoking in movies these days. Tobacco use is falling in the community and yet it is increasing in movies. People want to know if something is going on behind the scenes. He says that will enable the public to make informed choices.
PACKS TO LIST INGREDIENTS?
Research being undertaken by the Federal Government on current warnings on cigarette packets has found that general warnings like "Smoking Kills" have little effect on smokers, but the warning "Smoking when pregnant harms your baby" has shocked pregnant women smokers into cutting back. Health Minister Michael Wooldridge's office said the Minister will decide in the next few months on whether or not he will force tobacco companies to print cigarette ingredients on packs. Anti smoking campaigner Simon Chapman has called for the introduction of graphic pictures of the effects of smoking to deter smokers and the ingredients to be listed on inserts, while Quit Victoria Executive Director Todd Harper has called for the Quit line number to be printed on cigarette packs. The Minister also claims the National Tobacco Campaign launched in June 1997 has reduced adult smoking by 1.7% which represents 235,000 fewer smokers in Australia.
Action Point 5. Write to The Hon. Michael Wooldridge, Minister for Health, Parliament House, Canberra, ACT 2600. Urge him to force cigarette companies to fully reveal contents on the packet.
BAR WORKERS STILL NEGLECTED
These workers are in a no win situation. If they don't object to smoke in their workplace they will lose their good health. If they do object they will lose their jobs. We find some of them will not give honest answers to our questions and revert to "it does not bother me" mentality. Australia is actually ahead of the USA in protecting workers. The Surgeon General estimated that 53,000 Americans die each year from exposure to tobacco smoke from others. However ASH USA has now filed a law suit against the Occupational Safety and Health Administration seeking to force the agency to ban smoking in all work places. We already have the laws but our workers are equally unprotected because of apathy by workers, bluffing by employers and the negligence of government authorities.
THE GLOBAL TOBACCO WAR
The objectives of fighting the tobacco "war" are similar to those of most general wars: to protect countries from being invaded and overpowered, to save people from being disabled and killed, to return land to growing food, to improve the economy, and to protect the environment. Rob Cunningham. (INGAT)
ALP WIN IN W.A. WILL ATTACK TOBACCO
The Labor Party in Western Australia has pledged an extra $32 million to community health projects, including an extra $8 million for QUIT, plus a crack down on cigarette advertising. It's amazing how some politicians only get serious about tobacco when it is election time again.
TELL YOUR FRIENDS ABOUT SMOKENDERS
NSMA would like to acknowledge that Phillip Feinstien of the Smokenders program has been a strong member and supporter for some years now. If you know someone trying to QUIT please pass on these contact details where you feel it will be helpful to them. Telephone 02 9387 5755, Web site www.smokenders.com.au.
ASH HELPS WORLDWIDE WAR ON SMOKING
The World Health Organisation (WHO) has initiated the Framework Convention on Tobacco Control (FCTC). They will be an international legal instrument that will restrict the global spread of tobacco. This will be the world's first set of multilaterally negotiated rules devoted entirely to a major health issue. The new legal instrument is expected to address issues as diverse as tobacco advertising and promotion, agricultural diversification, regulation, smuggling, excise tax levels, treatment of tobacco dependence and smoke-free areas. Non Government Organisations (NGOs) are expected to be fully involved in this new alliance.
The next intergovernmental negotiation body session is scheduled to start on 29 April 2001. NSMA will watch the outcomes with great interest and will participate wherever resources permit.
ASH USA has warned that we should be concerned about the so-called "smokeless cigarettes" such as Eclipse selling overseas. Problems include:
* They give off as much if not more carbon monoxide and other deadly gases than ordinary cigarettes.
* Smokers may switch to Eclipse rather than quitting and wind up increasing the $130 billion annual costs paid by non-smokers in taxes, etc.
* Pregnant women who switch to Eclipse may finish up with more babies with expensive birth defects and other complications.
* Other companies may begin marketing even more dangerous but unregulated nicotine delivery devices.
NON-SMOKER KILLED BY SMOKE
A USA Federal court ruled that second-hand tobacco smoke killed an airline passenger seated in the non-smoking section. They ordered a Greek airline to pay $700,000 to his estate. The judge said, "Had Olympic Airways flight crew responded appropriately to repeated requests to move him away from the smoking section he might be alive today".
MENTAL ILLNESS AND SMOKING
Nearly half of all cigarettes (44.3%) purchased in the United States are smoked by people who suffer from mental illness. They are roughly twice as likely to smoke than healthy adults according to Harvard Medical School research. This could effect cessation efforts because what works on ordinary healthy adults may not work when dealing with mental problems, said John Banzhaf, Executive Director of ASH USA.
LETTERS TO THE EDITOR
(Abbreviated as necessary)
(In reply to October Update question) I agree smoking should be banned in the streets because walking behind a person smoking is very unpleasant. Also smokers don't care where they put their dirty polluting butts. Some councils provide containers at bus stops but I had an experience at Mosman where the burning and smoking butt was thrown under the seat. I had to try to reach it with my foot to extinguish it. A nearby restaurant has tables on the footpath where people are allowed to smoke. When I pass by I have to breathe in their cigarette smoke. I really don't think this is right. This restaurant also allows pupils from Mosman High School to sit at these tables and smoke. Norma. Daisley.
The new bans may help in formal restaurants but we eat more frequently in smaller cafes or places with nice outdoor facilities. Smokers dominate the balmy courtyard, or the pleasant sunny sidewalk, while non-smokers cluster like swarming bees in the dark interior. We are deafened by the clatter and scream of the espresso machine, while still choking from the smoke that drifts through the doorway. What the Bill should have required is a ban on smoking in any area where food or drink is served. The concept of "enclosed area" simply invites arguments over definition, and any area, which is not a completely closed box, is considered fair game for smokers. The idea of banning smoking in the street or the 25 metre rule would help. Meanwhile, I think non-smokers have actually been disadvantaged by being segregated like a new underclass to dine in crowded, polluted places. We still have a long way to go!
(Dr.) Margaret Lorang.
My family and I recently travelled to The Netherlands, Germany, Switzerland and Belgium for a two-month holiday. I was appalled at the level of smoking and lack of satisfactory facilities for non-smokers. Cigarette advertising is widespread and children have easy access to vending machines. This experience has made me appreciate the conditions we enjoy in Australia even more. I am even more indebted to the work of Non-smokers' lobby groups especially NSMA for the effective, ongoing, hard work they have put into looking after non-smokers' rights. I advise anyone travelling to Europe to enquire specifically about non-smoking facilities with their travel agent and with the tourist authorities of the countries to which they intend to travel.
(Dr.) Tracie Hendriks.
Ed Note: Tracie was so pleased with our work that she enclosed a second $500 donation. Thank you Tracie and we will, indeed, keep up the good work on behalf of all our members.
Dear Mr. McBride,
I am writing on behalf of The University of New South Wales Counselling Services to thank you and your team of volunteers for coming along to our launch day on 31 October and for the very substantial contribution you made with the attractive display, the talk you gave, and your friendly availability to interested parties. We felt the day went well and your contribution was greatly appreciated.
Jeanne Abelson, Student Counselling UNSW
DONATIONS - THANK YOU
Please accept this as a general thank you to all those members who included some level of donation in addition to their renewal of subscriptions during the last twelve months. To acknowledge them individually would add to the administrative load that we are already struggling to cope with. We are sure you know that your generosity is a great help in keeping the organisation afloat. The recent successes with smokefree restaurants will cause some members to think they have done enough. However it is vitally important to keep the momentum going and strive for more and more restrictions on public smoking until we achieve the final goal of a tobacco smokefree Australia. PLEASE KEEP THOSE DONATIONS COMING IN AND WE WILL KEEP DOING THE JOB THAT NEEDS TO BE DONE.