|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 7, July 1995
Tobacco Tax Rises to 66%
Federal and State tax rises have taken Austrlai's tobacco tax to 66% of retail price. This is still not high by world standards. For example, Denmark is 85%, the UK 77% and France75%, and New Zealnad 68%.
The rise happened in two unrelated events. There was a 10% rise in the Federal budget announced by in May. A 5% rise had been scheduled for August as the last part of the 4 step process that started 2 years ago, but this rise was brought forward and an extra 5% added. This means that the total price of the average packet of cigarettes rose 27 cents. This raised an extra $70 million in revenue The Federal government earmarked $18 million over 3 years for to combat tobacco in a plan is called 'Health Australia'.
The second part of the rise was becasue the Queensland government caused a State tobacco tax rise in NSW and Victoria. Queensland lowered the excise on share transactions from 0.6% to 0.3%. NSW and Victorian governments were forced to follow. This left a revenue shortfall so they raised their taxes to the level of SA and WA. State tax is now 100% of Federal all over Australia except Queensland, which remains at 75%. The NSW and Victorian governments did not even pretend that health had anything to do with it. NSW Premier, Bob Carr apologised profusely for breaking his election promise not to raise taxes, but said it was made necessary by Queensland's irresponsible action on the share tax. NSW Health Minister Dr Andrew Refshauge SDI's not say anything at all. The Victorians also criticised Queensland. No health minister mentioned that it was the best news for kids taking up smoking for some time.
Super League May be Super Cig. Ad.
Dr Simon Chapman pointed out that the Super League which is trying to mount a take-over of Rugby League is driven by Rupert Murdoch, who is on the Board of Philip Morris. Since then they have signed up the administrative bodies of most countries that play league, so that they will be able to run a World Cup. Yet there has been no word about their attitude to tobacco sponsorship. Currently Keating is publicly arguing with media magnate Kerry Packer, and restricting foreign ownership by Canadian Conrad Black of Australian media. His only major media ally in the run up to the election is therefore Rupert himself. Given that the advertising ban can have exemptions for 'major international events, there would be a high probability of tobacco sponsorship again. It is time for an international campaign to stop this possible new tobacco sponsorship. SMH 28/4/95
Write to the Health Minister in your Country to ask for a guarantee of no tobacco sponsorship associated with the planned SuperLeague Rugby League competition.
Research scientist visits Australia
Dr Victor DeNoble, a former research scientist with Philip Morris (PM) visited Australia in May. He set up a laboratory for PM in 1979 with the task of finding a substitute for nicotine which was said to be killing 100,000 peopie annually. His experiments effectively showed that nicotine was addictive. Wistar rats were studied 24 hours a day, 7 days a week for 4 years and self-administered nicotine in the same dose for rats as Marlboro cigarettes gave humans. He was about to publish his work when PM was sued by an addicted smokers. His boss asked him "why should I risk a billion dollars for rats pressing levers'. His lab was closed down and he was effectively fired, with an injunction to stop him revealing anything about his experiments., as the bottom line was that PM knew that nicotine was addictive from 1984. At the US congressional hearings PM was embarrassed into letting him tell of his findings. He told his story in Sydney and Melbourne, but was unable to speak to our Senate inquiry while he was here.
Big Parties Hooked on Tobacco Money
In April the AMA called for political parties to refuse tobacco company donations. ALP President, Dr Barry Jones said that he believed the call should be given serious consideration, but National Secretary Gary Gray said that they would accept money. This was despite NSW Liberal opposition sources pointing out that Mr Charles Wright has been a Labor fund-raiser mentioned in the WA Inc Royal Commission for getting money from tobacco companies. He later joined Philip Morris and compiled strategy documents on lobbying Labor politicians.
Liberal Party president, Andrew Robb said that he saw no reason to change the arrangements for accepting money from cigarette companies. The National Party director, Cecile Ferguson said the same. The Democrats have said that they will not accept tobacco money. SMH 27/4/95
NSMA Asks re Tobacco Funding
It is generally assumed that the major health charities, the Cancer Councils and Heart Foundations do all that they can against smoking. But 45 years after smoking has been shown to cause lung cancer, how much do they actually do? It is generally accepted that smoking causes about a third of all cancer. It might therefore reasonably be expected that a third of the budget would go on smoking-related expenses. It is the opinion of most people who are serious in the tobacco field that the best way to combat smoking is legislative action, and the best way to achieve this is political advocacy. Of course it is not quite that simple. Many programmes are run with money given with as tied grants. For example, the NSW State Cancer Council's income in the 1993-4 budget was $29.8 million. Government contracts were $15.7 million. Bequests and funds raised, which would not seem to be tied were $12.25 million. Yet the budget of ASH is $100,000 of which half is paid by the NSW Cancer Council and half is from the National Heart Foundation. There is some office space and some expenses. But $50,000 is a long way from a third of $12.25 million..
Doctors on health charity boards may be interested in 'research', and businessmen on these Boards may be influenced by this. One researcher for the NSW Cancer Council got $2 million! But what will deliver the most health? People give money to charities because they believe that these charities will do what is best for the population. A political victory is as much good for cancer control as a medical 'breakthrough'. The health charities also get the credit for political victories. So we must ask: Is the donors' money being spent optimally?
The Anti-Cancer Council of Victoria (ACCV) spent 25% of its budget on smoking ads in the 1970s when, prior to any quit campaigns they made and screened some hard hitting TV ads. As far as NSMA is able to ascertain, this is the only time anyone has come close to the one third figure. ACCV also ran a campaign to get the Victorian Tobacco Act through in 1987. This resulted in the first health promotion foundation in the world funded by a hypothecated tobacco tax levy. The foundation replaced tobacco sponsorship, gave money to sport and the arts, promoted quitting and other health initiatives and gave money to medical research. Viewed purely as an investment decision, this lobbying money was good value for ACCV. Why is more not done?
NSMA has now kicked off the debate by asking the Board that the NSW State Cancer Council spend more money on advocacy. We are not the only body that should be asking these questions publically, nor is the NSW Cancer Council the only body of whom the question should be asked. But the process needs to start somewhere.
Rothmans Launches Its 'Freedom'
Rothmans launched its brand of 'Freedom' close to the VE Day (Victory in Europe) celebrations. By 'Freedom' they mean their new cigarette brand . The pack has a quote from Abraham Lincoln (referring to slave traders), 'Those who deny freedom to others deserve it not for themselves'. This seems a thinly veiled attack on those who want smoke-free areas. The launch also involved the lobbyist Richard Farmer who travelled around Australia opening billboards with the words, 'Every Australian has the right to personal liberty'.
How are our politicians going against tobacco? None too well, we are sorry to report.
Federal Health Minister Dr Carmen Lawrence granted an exemption to the Tobacco Advertising Prohibition Act to allow the Indy Grand Prix to sponsor tobacco ads.
In Victoria, Health Minster Marie Tehan said on World No Tobacco Day that 'tobacconists should be more vigilant in ensuring that they not sell tobacco to persons under 18'. (The age has been 18 in Victoria sine 1st Jan 1994). This was in response to new survey that showed that children could buy cigarettes in 54 of 93 outlets. But it is all rhetoric. The VicHealth Foundation has been muzzled by Premier Kennett, who is concentrating on helping the tobacco industry get its Grand Prix and sponsorships. They will be pressuring Dr Lawrence fior exemptions.
The new NSW Health Minister, Dr Andrew Refshauge not granted tobacco sponsorship exemptions to the Bathurst 100 motor race and the cricket until the end of the season. In that the motor racers knew that the livery had to be changed for t his years race it was a pathetic backdown for a man who in opposition was so pro-health. He was roundly criticised by NSW Shadow Health Minister, Jillian Skinner, who cited an SMH article from 18/2/91 when Dr Refshauge had urged a tougher stand on sponsorship. MS Skinner quit smoking when given the portfolio and has criticised Dr Refshauge for not doing so also. She urged action on child access laws. Dr Refshauge criticised the Liberal record and gave a very long list of exemptions that they had granted over the last 4 years. We can conclude that the NSW Pollies are making progress in criticising each others non-action. The question is- 'Can they be encouraged to take any real legislative action?'
In Queensland the idea that the tobacco tax would rise to the level of the other states was ridiculed. They will stay at 75%. WA Health Minister Kierath is showing signs of promise. When Rothmans launched their 'Freedom' campaign, he said that if they wanted a state to start a scrap in they had chosen the right one. There are also hopes that he will introduce legislation on smoke-free indoor air.
Action Point 2.
Write to NSW Health Minister Dr Andrew Refshauge and Shadow Health Minster Jillian Skinner at NSW Parliament House, Macquarie St., Sydney 2000. Ask for bipartisan legislation on tobacco sales to minors and smoke-free indoor air.
Worrying Trends in the US
ASH(US) has identified 3 major areas where the tobacco industry is striking at non-smokers efforts through the Republican-dominated congress. The first has been successful so far.- HR 450 was passed by the lower house to stop regulatory agencies regulating. This stopped the Occupational Safety and Health Administration regulating smoking in the workplace, the Food and drug Administration from regulating nicotine in cigarettes and the Dept. of Health from regulating smoking in schools. It Senate version , S.129 has not yet passed.
The second strategy is to stop regulations that are not 'cost-effective'. This sounds fine by will stop the Environmental Protection Agency working on passive smoking, and inhibit OHSA. There are also 'tort reform' bills, which are ostensibly designed to stop the profusion of lawyers, but also to stop law suits against tobacco companies.
The public interest group 'Common Cause' found that 79% of current US Federal politicians have taken tobacco funds in the last decade.
News In Brief
The Smokers' Rights Party standing for the Upper House in the NSW elections got 0.3% of the vote. This shows how little support they have. They must have been a genuine party and not tobacco industry plants as they were naive enough to give the Democrats their second preference where Dr Chesterfield-Evans was number 2 on the ticket.
Queensland's tobacco tax, which was brought up to the 75% level of NSW before the 1992 elections were used for a Jobs Plan and are claimed to have helped young veterans with post-traumatic stress as well as other young unemployed. The total jobs claimed was 16,000. C-Mail 9/5/95
A group called 'Warnings Proprietary Limited' has made 'funny' stickers to go over the new health warnings, with witty effortsd like 'Warning Hamsters Kill', 'Smoking is Really Cool' and 'REAL People Smoke-Government Warnings Suck'. Retailing art $2.95 for 24, it is a new way to rip off smokers. T-shirts are also available and smokers can call in on a 0055 number to offer their own slogans. Director Shane Yeend said he was not encouraging smoking but allowing smokers to hit back when they feel preached at.
Articles in the journal 'Tobacco Control' looks at evidence from leaked US Tobacco documents which suggest that nicotine levels in snuff have been manipulated and argues that they should be regulated by the Food and Drug Administration as a drug. All smokeless tobacco is banned in Australia as 'unsafe goods' under the customs regulations.
There are now 4 US States trying to sue the tobacco companies to recover the costs of tobacco-caused illness- Florida, Minnesota, Mississippi and West Virginia. They are 4 unrelated class action suits, which could be for a total of $US100 billion. The largest class action by 60 law firms can be contacted at 'Castano Tobacco Litigation Committee, Box 61823, New Orleans 70161-1823. Source ASH (US) There is a 'war chests' of $US6 million for law suits.
14 of Connecticut's 27 prisons are the latest US ones to go Smoke-Free.
Smoking almost doubles the time broken bones take to heal, thus hugely increasing the costs of hospitalisation even of young people.
Canberra ASH has pointed out that the naming of the Winfield Cup and the calendars and tipping sheets associated with it constitute massive exposure for the brand with no less than 56 newspapers that they survey in NSW and Qld carrying stories with the name.
Canberra ASH surveyed all 74 candidates for the ACT elections in February, where the Liberals became a minority government. 65 (88%) replied, some with joint party submissions. There were 4 questions. Should there be a charter of civil rights for non-smokers. Yes was 72% including the Liberals. Should the tobacco licence fee rise? Yes was 45%, but Liberals said it should be the same as NSW. Should the ACT have an independently funded Health Promotion Foundation? Yes 72% including the Liberals. Should cigarette vending machines be banned? Yes 14%, Unsure 80%. These had a variety of answers for alternative enforcement strategies. The Smokers are Voters and Civil Rights party got 2.5% of the vote.
At a recent debate at University of Sydney Kara Greiner, argued the case against cigarettes and impressed a number of non-smokers there with her extensive knowledge of the industry and its sponsorship. After the debate she lit up a cigarette. She is the daughter of ex-Premier Nick Greiner, who is on the Board of Wills tobacco and is widely tipped to be Chairman on the retirement ofd Bob McComas.
Philip Morris was funded $90,000 by the Dept of Industrial Relations to develop an industrial agreement at its Morabbin plant in Victoria. Sen. Eric Abetz, Liberal, Tas. 16/1/95
Duty Free concessions on alcohol and tobacco cost $42 million in lost government revenue according to Collins and Lapsley in the Economic Society's journal. CT 8/3/95.
There is a regional centre in Warsaw to counteract tobacco's marketing thrust into Eastern Europe.
Admission of new member sates to the EU will still require a 'qualified majority' (such as. 62 out of 87) for votes for action on public health. This means that the UK, Germany, Denmark and the Netherlands will still be able to block action on tobacco advertising there. BASP
A bill to toughen tobacco packaging labelling in the UK to that similar to Canada's was introduced by Labour MP Terry Lewis but opposed by the Conservative Health Minister as 'far beyond what is sensibly required', and was 'talked out' so no vote was taken. However a class action suit with 200 smokers has been granted legal aid. ASH (UK)
Asian countries are all starting to try to export more cigarettes and their tobacco companies are rating highly in surveys of companies. Asia-Pacific Tob. Control News
In New Zealand Health Minister Jenny Shipley is suggesting amendments to the Smoke-Free Environments Act 1990 which would: raise the age of purchase from 16 to 18, ban single cigarette sales and set minimum packet sizes, increase the size of health warnings, and restrict 'price notices' which have been used to evade the point of sale advertising restrictions. Health groups have asked for Australian style warnings, but restrictions on packet sizes so they do not get the Australian 50 mega-packs.
The tobacco business is a conspiracy against womanhood and manhood. It owes its origins to that scoundrel, Sir Walter Raleigh, who was likewise the founder of American slavery. Dr Harvey John Kellogg. Tobacco.
The decision of the lawsuit by Leonie Cameron and 9 others against Qantas over smoking in planes was to have been handed down on 9th June, but has been postponed.
Pierce J, Lora Lee MA, Gilpin EA, 'Smoking Initiation by Adolescent Girls, 1944-88. JAMA 271,8,608. Feb 1994
Barnum H. 'The Economic Burden of the Global Trade in Tobacco' Presented at 9th World Conference. Available from Michelle Scollo, Quit Victoria PO Box 888 Carlton South Vic. 3053, ph (03) 663-7777, fax (03) 663-7761.
The Asia Pacific Tobacco Control News from Globalink is available from Quit Victoria who have also produced a discussion paper 'Enforcing Legislation Prohibiting the Sales of Tobacco to Minors in Victoria'.
'Tobacco Control' is a good quarterly journal. BMJ Journals, PO Box 299, Tavistock Sq. London WC1H 9JP UK, or fax 44-171 383-6402 with credit card details.
Letters to the Editor
I continue to be outraged by the ubiquitous use by the tobacco companies of PR men upfront, such as Peter Alexander of Rothmans! Does the public ever get to know who are the members of their Boards? Was anyone told before the NSW elections that Nick Greiner was on the Board of Wills Tobacco? Does anyone know that Rupert Murdoch is on Philip Morris board overseas?
The public have the right and, what's more, the need to know the membership of the Boards of our tobacco companies. Is it possible for them to be listed so that instead of cowardly hiding behind their smooth-talking paid mouths, we can see who are raking the cash in hand over fist at the expense of the nicotine-poisoned?
As the son of parents who each died of smoking-caused diseases, I await with bated breath to see these callous plutocrats hunted down by Four Corners, the Investigators, and other investigative media programmes to explain why they do not want to be upfront to admit to profiting from the addiction of our next generation. Can we watch this space for the lurid details?
Can I have that extra space to suggest a chance in our immigration policy so that Australia receives no more smokers? To do justice to our passive smoking victory, we have to recognise that by admitting further addicts to Australia, we undermine the nation's health- already pitifully underserviced in some areas. Pester your MP about it!
Rev. Chris Ridings
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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