|The Non Smokers' Movement of Australia Inc.|
Protecting the rights of the Non-smoking majority
from tobacco smoke
and from the tobacco industry's propaganda.
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Issue 13, July 1996
NSW Taskforce Discusses Passive Smoking
The NSW government has set up a taskforce to call for submissions on 'Passive Smoking in Places Where Food and Beverages are Served'. The taskforce is chaired by the Director of Disease Prevention and Health Promotion and includes representatives of the Drug and Alcohol Directorate, Legal Branch of the NSW Health Dept, WorkCover Authority, National Health and Medical Research Council, the Australian Hotels Association, the Registered Clubs Association, the NSW Cancer Council, National Heart Foundation, the AMA and ASH. Its terms of reference are to:-
The Non-Smokers' Movement's position is that the inquiry should be on how to introduce smoke-free legislation as rapidly as possible. It is difficult to believe that all these inquiries are not merely time wasting devices. The course of action needed is clear, but there is a lack of political will. It has now been known to any reasonable observer for 46 years that smoking causes lung cancer. The Royal Colleges called for action to lessen smoking in 1962, 34 years ago. A National Policy Statement on Smoking and the Workplace was agreed at Worksafe in November 1990.
An endless series of polls have shown that smoke-free is popular, including the referendum of the North Sydney local government election of 1991 where 71.8% of voters wanted government action to segregate smokers and non-smokers, as self-regulation was not working. There are approximately 17 deaths a day in NSW from tobacco. NSMA submits that governments that prevaricate are guilty of ignoring these deaths. It is clear form the work of Chapman on the Federal Public Service change to a smoke-free environment that this is a major health initiative.
NSMA has been actively calling for Smoke-Free environments since 1977, and has written dozens of submissions and thousands of letters. The sad reality is that individuals, some of whom NSMA have facilitated, have sacrificed their health and their careers to achieve smoke-free workplaces in Australia. Effectively the threat of tort action is the driving force, while politicians of both major parties have sat idly by.
The Federal Public Service went smoke-free only after it lost the Roy Bishop case in the Administrative Appeals Tribunal. The NSW Public Service did not go smoke-free by government directive, but by decisions of individual departments. In other words, the department heads decisions were driven by the tort law, not led by the governments. Even the NSW Health Department did not implement its smoke-free policy and was the defendant in the Scholem case which set the world precedent where a jury decided that passive smoking caused harm to an employee. It is a contemptible record, and it can only be hoped that this inquiry will lead to the action that is 20 years overdue.
Action Point 1
Write to Dr Andrew Penman, Public Health Division, NSW Health, Locked Mail Bag 961, North Sydney 2059 by 12th July. Evan a short submission will help!
Further details: Kate Purcell 02 391-9258.
The Queensland Cancer Fund is trying to get Health Minister, Dr Michael Woolridge to block all tobacco advertising with the Indy Grand Prix. For the last two years, the Grand Prix has been associated with Philip Morris' Marlboro brand. Gold Coast Bulletin 19/6/96.
Action Point 2
Write to the Federal Health Minister, Dr Michael Woolridge., Parliament House Canberra 2600 and ask that he not grant an exemption for tobacco advertising for the Indy Grand Prix in Brisbane.
Two Smoke-Free Bills Proposed in NSW
Two different smoke-free workplace bills have been proposed in NSW, one by Rev. Fred Nile in the Upper House and one by Manly independent Dr Peter Macdonald in the Lower House. Rev. Nile's bill is based on a US model but has the problem that a committee with a majority of hospitality representative is in charge of implementation.
Rev. Nile asked NSMA for our reaction to this, which was that since the controlling cliques of these groups have been the main obstacles to progress in this area for about 20 years, there is no point in passing a bill that they will 'implement'. Dr Macdonald's bill is modeled on the A.C.T. legislation which, despite its faults, gives citizens there the best indoor air in Australia. Ideally the two would bring in similar bills at the same time.
Eagles and Dockers Smoking Ban Works!
On the 14 May 1995, Subiaco Oval, the home ground for the West Coast Eagles and the Fremantle Dockers announced that all indoor and outdoor seated areas would be smoke free. This policy allows smoking only in designated areas. It was supported by a media campaign and distribution of information and signs around the ground. After a year, contrary to Tobacco Industry claims, surveys have shown that people attending the game supported the policy of the Ground. 64% of people surveyed thought that the policy had been successful. 83% agreed with the policy including 69% of smokers. 21% of smokers and 12% of non-smokers disagreed. Restaurateurs, Federal and State politicians take note!! (MJA 17/6/96)
The Sky Goes Smoke Free
The Minister for Transport, Mr Sharp, has finally banned smoking on all Qantas and Ansett international flights from July 1. This move was criticised by the tobacco industry, claiming that the airlines would lose money from passengers who smoked. Mr Sharp brushed off these criticisms, stating that (as we all know) there were many more passengers who would enjoy the smoke free air of Qantas and Ansett than there were disgruntled smoking passengers.
Queensland Tax Hike Mooted
The Queensland government is considering raising tobacco tax to 100%, the level of the other states. The Tobacco Institute rolled out the old argument that the poor would suffer (ho ho) and the government would lose revenue if the bootlegging to the other states stopped, not to mention a broken election promise. Qld. Cancer Society spokesman, Alan Inglis said that the proposed increase would raise $130 million. The average price would rise about 80c to $6.60. The Federal cut in States' grants is the driving force, not any health concerns. Gold Coast Bulletin 19/6/96
Despite a downturn in the number of teenagers taking up smoking in the late 1980s, there has been a steady increase in the last few years. Recent figures have shown that in Australia as many as 100,000 teenagers are taking up smoking each year (more than were smoking before the Quit campaigns began) while a study in England has shown that more than two thirds of teenagers who smoke do not consider the health risks to be very important. Smoking teenagers do not see themselves as smokers, identifying smokers as old, frail people with hacking coughs.
Quit Victoria blames the increase in teen smoking on the recent upsurge in product placement of smoking in films and magazines. However, teenagers will continue to smoke if smoking continues to be an adult habit. While the adult culture of Australia continues to convey smoking as a cool and acceptable practice by allow smoking in public areas such as pubs, clubs and restaurants teenagers will continue to take up the habit. Teenagers will only begin to quit the habit when legislative action is taken to hinder smoking in public areas. If adults don't smoke, then neither will teenagers. (The Mercury 13/6/96, Sun Herald 23/6/96)
Warning of Threat to ACT Legislation.
AMA President, Dr Woollard warned that the A.C.T. Smoke-free indoor air legislation is at risk after the Tobacco Institute commissioned a study by ACIL Economics to show the high cost of the legislation. ACIL Economics was the group that a few years ago claimed that smoking was a $9 billion boon to Australia's economy. ACT Chief Minister. Kate Carnell, receiving an award for the most progressive state on tobacco was unfazed. She said that 'there had been all sort of prophets of doom when the legislation was introduced, but none of this has happened at all'. Canberra Times 3/6/96
Philip Morris Strikes Again!
Philip Morris have been running two extremely different advertising campaigns in Europe and the US. In Europe, they have been claiming that passive smoking is less harmful than drinking milk, and their vice president stated that the harm done by passive smoking was not supported by scientific evidence. The advertisements take figures from various research studies and conclude that passive smoking is as harmful as watching someone eat a biscuit! Professor Gordon McVie of the Cancer Research Campaign was outraged stating "Drawing comparisons between biscuits and cigarettes as Philip Morris's new adverts do is not only totally misleading, it's an insult to our intelligence".
Meanwhile, Philip Morris has taken out full page ads in US newspapers offering to ban: vending machines, brand names and logos on consumer items and sports grounds (except for motor racing and rodeos), tobacco ads in shop windows within 300 metres of schools, tobacco samples, mail order sales, product placement in films and ads in magazines with less than 85% adult readership. But there are two conditions for all this. Firstly that the US government should not take further action to regulate sales to minors, and secondly that these conditions not apply outside the USA. The double standard is outrageous. The company is obviously scared of possible regulation from the FDA and also no longer sees the US as its primary market! South China Morning Post 17/6, Herald Sun 7/6
Tasmania Plays Catch Up
The Tasmanian Government is transferring smoking from the Police Offences Act to the Public Health Act and raising the legal age for purchasing tobacco from 16 years of age to 18. This legislation is expected to be implemented by October or November. The legislation also calls for smoke free public places, but the Tasmanian Health Minister, Peter McKay has taken pains to stress that this aspect of the legislation is only up for discussion and that he agrees with the Australian Hotels Association's proposal of self regulation. McKay argued that the regulation of public smoke free air was unnecessary in today's society because smoking in restaurants was considered to be socially unacceptable. Mr McKay claimed that if anyone lit up in a restaurant today they would be "spat on". Examiner 21/6/96.
McKay is also quoted as saying that 'If he can stop one person from tasking up smoking he will have done his job'. That is about as many people as he will stop. Like all 'bad joke' ministers he will sit around cheering on history rather than do a whit to expedite it.
Tobacco Institute of Australia Loses Wills
Wills Tobacco has withdrawn its support of the Tobacco Institute of Australia (TIA) after making a 5 million dollar loss in the last financial year. Wills have not been impressed with the TIA's inability to curb the rise in tobacco taxes which under the Labor Government were implemented every six months. While the Liberal Government has promised not to increase the tax on tobacco, Wills does not see the TIA as playing a key role in protecting their profits. A cynic might note that Wills is so well connected in the Liberal government that the TIA is superfluous for it.
Queensland Tobacco Quota Rises
Queensland tobacco quotas have risen from their estimates and will only fall by 9.32% instead of 14% as planned. This will mean that they will produce just under 5 million kg a year. Interestingly the growers want the price of cigarettes to rise by 1 cent a pack as this would give them an extra 50c a kg and keep them viable. Shows how little tobacco there is in a cigarette!
News in Brief
Yet another smoking champion has changed sides. And for the same old reason. Morton Downer Jnr, who puffed cigarettes aggressively was a US talk show host, and on the Board of the National Smokers Alliance, an industry funded lobby. He will have surgery on his right lung for cancer shortly so he has changed his tune. Announcing he would 'kick this illness', he stated that 'just because I have been foolish in not listening to the health warnings doesn't mean I should not deliver a strong non-smoking message to youth in their own language'. Sth China Morning Post. 19/6/96.
ACOSH's director, Susan Hoare has complained to the Federal Government that 'Australian Style' magazine has a large amount of depiction of people smoking. "It has a low ratio of paid advertising, which leads one to question the financial backing of the magazine", she said. Editor Andrea Horwood denied her magazine promoted smoking, and claimed the magazine merely charged high advertising rates. West Aust. 8/6/96
US Tobacco companies have made more profit than ever with tobacco exports rising to 231 billion smokes worth $US5 billion, and still rising. Philip Morris with Marlboro is world leader with 12% of the world market, up from 8.5% in 1991, and now passing Gauloises to be the biggest seller in France. Bangkok Post 14/6/96
Philip Morris, it might be noted, also owns Kraft which is in trouble with its peanut butter. You just can't trust some people can you?
Aging US Presidential hopeful, Bob Dole, has been criticised for taking huge amounts of tobacco money. President Clinton has done his best to bring in meaningful regulations against a hostile and tobacco-dominated Congress. Research by Prof Stan Glantz has showed that people who receive tobacco money vote with the industry far more than those who do not, and now almost all donations go to the Republicans.
A survey of 633 smokers by the Centre for Behavioural Research in Cancer has found that the top 6 reasons for not quitting were: Danger of weight gain 19%, Makes me irritable 19%, Hard to cope with stress 7%. Cause craving 3%, Social difficulties 2%, and Hard to concentrate 1%. The 4 top reasons for quitting were Feel healthier 57%, Save money 45%, Improve fitness 29% and avoid cancer 3%. Women 25% were much more worried about weight gain than men were 11%.
Smoking-caused disease is rising rapidly in Papua and New Guinea. Women smoking rose 60% between 1989-90 and 1994-5, and under 16 smoking from 16% to 22%. In the period 1979 to 1993 new lung cancer cases increased by157%, heart attacks by 500%, and high blood pressure by 189%.
Papua New Guinea Post-Courier 5/6/96
Office News from Katherine
This month, I was contacted by some patrons of the Austinmer Bowling Club who were concerned with the work practices of the bar staff at the club. The manager refused to give bar staff a cigarette break and was allowing staff to smoke while pouring beer and serving food. I contacted the Illawarra Public Health Unit (IPHU) and Worksafe Australia. The food inspector at the IPHU told me that under the General Food Regulations 1992 beer (and indeed any beverage) is classified as food and therefore smoking while serving/pouring beer was extremely unhygienic. The inspector was concerned with the health risks created from ash falling into the beer and the danger of disease the hand to mouth action of smoking caused.
If you know of any clubs/pubs and so on who are allowing their bar staff to smoke please draw their attention to the contravention of the Food Regulations. Worksafe also told me that the Austinmer Bowling Club was contravening the Occupational Health and Safety Act as it was putting its staff at risk of smoking related diseases. Please note that this is potentially also relevant to club patrons' smoke but has yet to be legally tested.
I also received a complaint about the Lemongrove Food Hall in Chatswood, which is the only one in Chatswood that does not provide smoke free eating areas (Westfield does). Many smokers are aware of this so regularly visit the Lemongrove in their lunch break. Unfortunately, this prevents non-smokers from enjoying a cheap, smoke free lunch. I have written a letter to the management urging them to reconsider their policy. If any members work in Chatswood and/or frequent the Lemongrove Food Hall, please make your dissatisfaction known.
NSMA will soon be on the Internet. We will keep you posted next issue. Anyone who can help make up a home page, please phone Katherine.
Action Point 3.
Have you joined up a new member yet? Why not do it now!
Why not have an input to Update?
Our Address is: Non-Smokers' Movement of Australia, Box K860, Haymarket NSW 1240.
We are active - please be active also!
|The Non-Smokers' Movement of Australia Inc, Box K860, Haymarket NSW 1240.|
|This page was last updated on 7th August, 2012.|
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