|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 6, May 1995
NSMA Takes Rothmans to Trade Practices Commission
The Non-Smokers Movement has asked Professor Alan Fels of the Trade Practices Commission to intervene over Rothmans ads in cigarette packets. It was noticed by an NSMA member that inside the flip top of Winfield cigarettes were the words '...anyhow, have a Winfield'. The nett effect of this is that the smoker sees the health warning, for instance 'Smoking during pregnancy will harm your baby', but flips open the top to be told 'anyhow, have a Winfield'. Anne Jones of ASH had protested about the situation, but Rothmans PR man, Peter Alexander indicated that the company had no intention of removing the ad.
It must be noted that the tobacco companies opposed the initial imposition of health warnings, then insisted that the words 'Government Health Warning' be put on. This was presumably so that it was not their warning. Ever since they have done everything possible to undermine the warning, continuing to advertise and sponsor, trying to throw doubt on the medical evidence, and hyping trivial health problems. They opposed and delayed stronger warnings.
Rothmans used the flippant, anti-authoritarian comedian Paul Hogan to make 'anyhow' mean 'don't worry about what the experts say'. We believe that this latest effort with a secret special message to the smoker under the health warning was to undermine the warning, and have written to Professor Alan Fels asking that action be taken to stop the advertisement under section 51AB of the Trade Practices Act, which prohibits 'unconscionable conduct'.
Kelly Betts Starts in NSMA Office
The Non-Smokers Movement office now has a new face, and will be staffed 3 days a week by a cheery young anthropologist, Kelly Betts. Kelly was the most outstanding candidate of an excellent line-up who answered our ad. She has a Bachelor of Economics, and is currently doing her Masters degree in Anthropology. Her real commitment to community groups and development was evidenced by the fact that she has already raised $4,000 to work for a year in the Solomon Islands with Youth Challenge, as well as spending some time in a pharmacy in Calcutta. Kelly will staff the office from 10am-4pm, Mondays, Wednesdays and Fridays. She is keen to co-operate with volunteers to offer the best service possible, so if there is anything you can do to help the Movement, give her a call and make 1995 the year of the great leap forward.
Legal Test Cases
Dr Sarah Hodson, a medical practitioner, realised that she had better quit. But she was addicted to tobacco, so she went to a quit course, and is now suing Wills tobacco in the Consumer Claims Tribunal for $1000 for the cost of the course and the expenses associated with it. But the tobacco company challenged the ability of the Tribunal to hear the claim. NSMA believes that she will win the case, but she is at risk of being caught with a legal bill should she lose.
Leonie Cameron and nine others are suing Qantas for misleading advertising over being offered non-smoking seats, which, according to the plaintiffs were no such thing. Ms Cameron's holiday in Thailand was ruined after she had a reaction to tobacco smoke on her flight. One of the interesting facts to emerge is that there are three types of seats in Qantas- smoking, non-smoking and intermediate. The intermediate is where people who say they 'don't mind' get put. The case continues in Sydney.
Members are asked to offer to indemnify these plaintiffs for their costs. We need cover for $10,000 initially. What this means is that if she wins, it costs you nothing, but you get the warm glow of knowing that this significant precedent was able to be set thanks to you indemnifying the costs of a possible loss. Should she lose, which is obviously possible but we believe unlikely, then the indemnifier is up for the tobacco company's costs, which would add insult to injury. We are looking for people who will risk a bit of money to be part of an important historical process. It might be noted that the Movement raised an indemnity of $50,000 to allow Liesel Scholem to win her passive smoking victory- a win that was heard around the world.
Action Point 1
Offer to guarantee $1,000, or whatever you can afford so that good legal cases can be run on a contingency basis.
Impact of Political Changes
There have been many political changes recently. Here are some speculations as to what difference they will make.
A.C.T: The Liberals under Kate Carnell have formed a minority government. Kate Carnell is a pharmacist and in favour of the Smoke-Free Indoor Air Act, which gives smoke-free restaurants from November 1995 and pubs and clubs must go smoke-free from 1996. She is thus not required to do anything, it is more a case of keeping existing legislation. Restaurateurs are not unhappy with the bans as there has been such public support that it would be regarded as a retrograde step to reintroduce smoking. However, the Australian Hotels Association is expected to try to reverse the their bans, so get ready for a fast response to their campaign at some time before the implementation.
NSW: There is a new Labor government. Non-Smokers want to change the status quo and get child access laws, tax rises to the levels of WA., Tasmania and South Australia. The new Premier, Bob Carr has a sense of history and wants to do good. He is also a non-smoking, clean living bookish sort of man. His Deputy Premier and Health Minister, Dr Andrew Refshauge is a medical doctor and a founder of the Doctors' Reform Society, so should be reform and preventive-health minded. But Refshauge is a badly addicted smoker, and it remains to be seen whether he can be persuaded to introduce smoke-free indoor air legislation. The Labor party, heavily in debt, was given *$25,000 by Philip Morris. (The NSW Liberals were not, though the Victorian Liberals had been). We can only hope that there was not a deal like 'since we have given you $25,000, perhaps there would only be noise but no legislation in the first term...'. The composition of the upper house may make a difference, but there is real hope from the opposition Liberal Leader, Peter Collins.
As Health Minister, Collins was frustrated by Nick Greiner when he wanted to do more about tobacco. His Deputy, Ron Phillips was also a reasonable Health Minister who was frustrated by John Fahey. So there is hope at this level, though the new shadow health minister, Jillian Skinner is an unknown and inexperienced quantity, from the geographical area close to Bronwyn Bishop. Let us hope she asks advice from her senior colleagues. Dr Peter Macdonald, the Manly Independent who tried to do so much on tobacco, was returned despite a personal campaign against him by the Australian Hotels Association and Nick Greiner, who is on the Board of Wills tobacco. He will try to 'keep the bastards honest'. *SMHerald 21/4/95 p8.
Federally: The problems of Dr Carmen Lawrence are a problem for the non-smoking cause. She is a person who makes the right noises in a legislative sense, but she needs to be kept under pressure, as she allowed sponsorship at the Brisbane Grand Prix, and may weaken on the Melboune one.
Western Australia: The effects of the submission to get smoke-free eating areas is not yet clear. We can only hope that there were more submissions from non-smokers than the Industry could organise, as Minister Graham Kierath seemed to be influenced by this.
News In Brief
Newt Gingrich Takes Tobacco Money, Changes Tune
Some years ago Newt Gingrich, who is now Republican Leader in US Congress, wrote to the Coalition on Smoking or Health and endorsed Food and Drug Administration (FDA) regulation of tobacco in the US. His political group received money from RJReynolds and he has recently denounced FDA Chairman, Dr David Kessler as 'a bully and a brute' for trying to regulate tobacco
Philip Morris Challenges Laws
Philip Morris (PM) is pursuing its constitutional challenge of the Tobacco Advertising Prohibition Act in the High Court, despite the changes that the Federal government has made to it. It is listed for September.
In the US PM is challenging the constitutional validity of the Florida Act that allows the government to sue them for the cost of tobacco-caused illness. This will have implications for four other US states that are suing to recover the costs of tobacco caused illnesses.
ACOSH Asks for National Tobacco Control Council
The Australian Council on Smoking and Health has asked the Federal Government to create a National Tobacco Control Council to co-ordinate activities on tobacco and health. This was the original function of ASH, but it has never had the resources to do more than scratch the surface of the problem.
French Ask Lawrence not to Allow Tobacco Sponsorship
Philippe Boucher, Director of the French Comite National Contre Tabagisme has written to Health Minister Carmen Lawrence asking that the Australian Grand Prix in Melbourne not carry tobacco sponsorship. He says that Australian actions are undermining European bans.
Marlboro ranked 10th in a survey of Top Ten Recall of brands on Hong Kong TV. Not bad for a country where there has been no advertising for 5 years. Naturally there is sponsorship. It seems they look the same. No surprise!
A New Bill in the US will stop Progress on Tobacco
Bill HR 450 proposes to halt all regulatory processes in the US till July 1st, with the object of stopping the FDA's efforts to have tobacco regulated as a drug, and to stop the Occupational Health and Safety Administration (OHSA) banning smoking in workplaces. The tobacco lobby is then expected to have more detailed plans to stop progress.
4th Asia-Pacific Conference on Tobacco in November
Details from: Dr Chanpen Choprapawon, Secretary-General, 4th Asia-Pacific Conference on Tobacco or Health, Thailand Research Institute, 1168 So Phaholyothin 22, Ladyao, Jatujak, Bangkok 10900, Thailand
10th World Conf. on Tobacco and Health- August 1997
In Beijing with the theme: Tobacco: The Growing Epidemic.
A Use Found for Cigarettes
Police used cigarettes to trap a 33 year old man who was keeping police at bay in a farmhouse siege in Queensland. A robot took the cigarettes to the man, and the police managed to cut him off before he could return to the house.
Janie Weir has resigned. Janie, the dynamic head of ASH New Zealand has resigned after being head-hunted to take another post. Her talents and energy will be missed.
US Tobacco Companies Expand Globally
RJReynolds (RJR), Philip Morris (PM) and Rothmans have expanded into Vietnam. PM has also opened a factory in Malaysia, while RJR has opened new factories in Poland, Russia and Finland. Overseas sales are now 57% of PM and RJR's combined sales and 43% of combined profits- a huge rise. Source- The Economist 11/3/95
US Price Cuts Increase Smoking
Tobacco companies are jubilant that the price war in which premium brands dropped their prices to compete with generics, has stopped the decline in cigarette sales in the US. In 1994 after the price war, Philip Morris profit rose 18% .
Zimbabwe Tobacco Farmers Switch to Cut Flowers
Tobacco farmers in Zimbabwe have found that they can grow flowers for the Dutch market more profitably than tobacco. Greenhouses are used, and the gross revenues from flowers are 50 times higher per acre. The Economist 11/3/95
Philip Morris Challenge Sinks as New Zealand Wins
Philip Morris was the sponsor of the oneAustralia yacht which broke in half and sank in the America's Cup. The challengers wanted to advertise a cigarette, but were not allowed to by the San Diego yacht club, so they advertised Kraft instead. They certainly got their come downance!
Smokers Unaware of the Risks They Take
Data from the Centre for Behavioural Research on Cancer, (which is associated with the Anti-Cancer Council of Victoria) has shown that smokers have only the haziest idea of the risks of smoking. When asked about illness caused by smoking, only 53% could name lung cancer, 43% emphysema and 37% heart disease.
Tricks Tobacco Marketers are Using
The tobacco industry is getting around the advertising bans as much as possible. Some of the latest tricks include:
· Display cases so that the packets can act as ads. In Philip Morris' case this has gone one step further with 5 cartons together forming one picture.
· Increased use of sponsorship advertising. Wills ads for the cricket match of January 24, featuring a cricket ground with a huge Benson and Hedges sign and no health warning is still there at the time of writing- April 25th. Rothmans has now got its huge red Winfield Cup ads, again with no health warning.
· Rothmans is also undermining the Health warnings on the flip top. When the top is flipped the slogan on the inside says 'anyhow, have a Winfield'. There are also 'deep philosophical statements' inside Drum roll-your owns' such as 'Man thinks because he has fingers,
· The new health warnings applied to packs manufactured after 1st January 1995- so as could have been predicted, by the end of March most stock had the old health warnings- 'old stock' had been stored so the health warnings would come in much later. (This seems to have been done most by Philip Morris and least by Wills).
· The rule about ads not being visible from outside the premises seems to be totally ignored.
Action Point 2: Review of NSW Tobacco Advertising Prohibition Act 1991
A review of the NSW Advertising Prohibition Act 1991 and the 1993 Regulations is taking place (as per section 27 of the Act). Comments can be divided into two sections:
Broad comments in relation to the purpose and intent of the Act and Regulation and
Comments in relation to specific sections of the Act and regulation.
It is suggested that two things be requested:
1. A Health Promotion Foundation funded by tobacco tax and
2. Generic packaging to stop the effects of advertising .
Please put in a submission by 12/5/95 to: Muriel Schultz, Policy Development Section, Drug and Alcohol Directorate, Locked Bag 961, Nth. Sydney 2059. ph (02) 391-9101
Child Sales: $1000 fine in NSW
NSW Police have achieved a $1,000 fine with $46 in costs for a man who sold cigarettes to a person under 18. Colin Hend of the Railway Station newsagency was convicted in Gosford Court on March 10. The newsagent said that he felt he had been 'victimised' as he never expected much penalty.
The child smoking rates in the Central Coast area was higher than the state average with 1 in 10 12 year olds smoking daily. There was no difference between 12 year olds and 18 year olds in the number of kids who said that they bought their own smokes, and there was no change between 1993 and 1994, despite programmes educating retailers about the law. Compliance surveys of 133 retailers continued to show that over 30% of retailers sold to kids. A co-operative project between the Health Promotion Unit, Parents and Citizens groups and Police was set up and the police brought the successful prosecution. There are another 8 prosecutions in train. Details: Doug Tutt (043) 20-4510
Prostate Cancer Dinner
A much-hyped dinner for cigar smokers was held in a flash hotel in Sydney on March 21st. According to organisers cigar sales are up 30% and naturally there was an attempt to recruit younger smokers and women. Non-Smokers have scoffed at their attempt to provide role models to keep their geriatric end up. Appropriately, proceeds of the dinner went to prostate cancer research as smoking increases the incidence of this. Perhaps they could give some money to dental research too as smokers are 3-4x more likely to lose their teeth, especially old smokers.
NSW Growers Out: Vic. in Trouble
The drought and the lessening of government protection will mean the end of tobacco growing in NSW. The last 22 growers have quit the industry, helped by a $10.8 million package. This includes compensation of $2 per kilo of quota from the manufacturers and the same amount from the government. Mr Tino Gaias, Chairman of the NSW Tobacco Marketing Board said that while the 'anti-smokers' were having some effect, 'the worst is the fact that growers receive just 6 cents from a $5 packet of cigarettes. 20 years ago there were 216 NSW growers'. The problem with other crops is that the farms are too small- only about 50 hectares. Adjacent properties are thousands of hectares and run sheep, (It shows how lucrative subsidies were).
In Myrtleford, Victoria there is a different problem. Frosts have damaged tobacco crops and the Victorian government is giving aid.
The present health warning on cigarette packets are commendable but still smoking attracts new recruits and retains the die-hards. Therefore a bit of lateral thinking is called for.
Instead of aiming at a person's capacity to determine logic, warnings on packets should be directed at their vanity because, after all, that is how the tobacco companies sell their product. Forget the common-sense wordings of "Smoking causes lung cancer" etc and have all packets read "People who Smoke are Stupid".
At first glance, this may seem childish and not befitting the seriousness of the situation. Quite the contrary. When you walk past a bus stop with half a dozen schoolchildren smoking or observe a table full of young women having lunch, image is of extreme importance. Even if the smokers remove the cigarettes from the packet, the statement of stupidity is firmly tied to the practice.
The tobacco industry and corrupt governments will strongly resist this wording because they know how effective it would be., The case for "stupidity" is self-evident because anyone who would ignore such clear health warnings as the packets have had to date can be nothing but stupid.
To win any battle, first "know thine enemy". Don't appeal to common-sense because it's not very common. Attack vanity and you'll find a much bigger target.
John Wilson, North Rocks
Why not have an input to Update?
Our Address is: Non-Smokers' Movement of Australia,
Box K860, Haymarket NSW 1240.
Action Point 3
Why not give Kelly Betts a call and offer to help with what you can! Volunteers in the Office are appreciated, but letter writers, phone helpers and others are also very helpful. Make a suggestion!
|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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