|The Non Smokers' Movement of Australia Inc.|
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and from the tobacco industry's propaganda.
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Issue 29, June - September 1999
The Premier Bob Carr and his smoking health Minister, Andrew Refshauge, conned the people of NSW with the Smoking Regulation Act passed in May 1997. This was the message delivered by NSMA President, Brian McBride, at a rally of members at NSW Parliament on Wednesday 22 September 1999. How else can we explain that after two years delay no progress has been made towards implementing that legislation. At that time the smoking Health Minister had no intention of doing the necessary things set as a pre-condition, namely creating a new Air Quality Standard so the "five year clock" could at least start ticking.
If Andrew Refshauge was still Health Minister he would be squirming under the obvious proof that it was all just window dressing as far as he and Bob Carr were concerned. Of course in the typical cynical fashion of politicians he is no longer in the hot seat and the new man Craig Knowles has the problem. Again in the time-honoured practice of politicians the new man has to be allowed time to get up to date with things and everyone is expected to be reasonable and accept these excuses for inaction.
PETITION TO BREAK ROADBLOCK
We are not going to accept these delays and we have collected petition signatures demanding some action. One of the two petitions presented to Dr. Arthur Chesterfield-Evans for tabling in Parliament called for the legislation to be amended to bypass the delay caused by the new Air Quality Standard, which seems to be in the "too hard' basket, and simply impose the smoking bans on all enclosed public premises. After all, common sense tells us that any level of smoking would not meet any sort of reasonable air quality requirements so why agonise over wanting this "standard" to justify imposing the bans.
Did we have to have an air quality standard before banning smoking in buses, trains, aircraft etc.? Of course not! Did we have to have a five year lead-in time to ban smoking in the workplace after it had been proved to be an occupational health risk? Of course not ! These are simply delaying tactics fed into the process by the pro-tobacco lobby and gratefully accepted by our wimpish politicians so they can put off the hard decisions a bit longer.
Other important measures are detailed in the petition: a) To increase taxes on tobacco to pay for a more extensive and sustained TV and print media educational program to discourage young people from taking up smoking. b) To hold tobacco companies directly responsible for the misery and death they are causing by commencing legal action to cover Federal and State health costs (Note the great legal initiatives reported below are non-Government actions). c) To make tobacco companies provide detailed information about the increasing range of chemicals and additives in cigarettes and display them at all points of sale.
We have drawn attention to what should
be an embarrassing fact for Bob Carr's Government.
We really must keep hammering Bob Carr
with the fact that he will go down in history
as one of the most blatantly dishonest
Premiers this state has known, and that
is saying something! He cannot escape
the charge that he promised a slow five
year plan in order to do the job properly,
but two and a half years later he has
done nothing and cannot even offer credible
The new Health Minister Craig Knowles and
the Dept. of Health under Michael
Read have been left to carry the can.
At this time Department Chief, Michael Read,
has nominated Dr. Virginia Grey to answer
any questions as to WHEN they might make
some progress on the Air Quality Standard.
We wrote to Dr. Grey in late August asking
her to receive a deputation of NSMA members
to discuss the situation on the 23 September.
That date has come and gone and Dr. Grey
has not even bothered to reply to our letter.
Action Point 1. Write to your local MP and ask him to acknowledge that he has seen the petitions lodged and ask him/her what they are doing about it.
ATHLETES CALL FOR GREINER'S RESIGNATION FROM OLYMPICS
The second petition was presented to Dr. Arthur Chesterfield-Evans by former Australian and British squash champion, Ms Caren Clonda. She spoke on behalf of a group called "Athletes against asthma". Caren says that approximately 17% of athletes suffer some level of asthma and their attacks are often triggered by cigarette smoke. She strongly attacked the role of a tobacco company chief like Nick Greiner who has no right to be associated with the Olympic Games which is all about promoting good health through sport. The petition calls for the Minister for the Olympics, Michael Knight, to remove Mr. Greiner from the management Board, SOCOG, forthwith. He is Chairman of WD & HO Wills which contributes to the 18,200 Australian deaths each year not to mention the millions of deaths around the rest of the world. The global death toll is now one death every eight seconds and it screams out for civilised people to get serious with these deadly drug pushers.
The whole idea of honouring a tobacco killer by giving him a prestigious position in the Olympic organisation is repugnant to thinking Australians. The petitions were presented to Dr. Chesterfield-Evans because the Minister, Michael Knight, declined to accept them. In fact he would not even reply to our letters.
Action Point 2. Write to The Hon. Michael Knight, Minister for the Olympics, Parliament House, Macquarie St. Sydney, 2000. Tell him that Nick Greiner's tobacco role will continue to do great harm to Australia's reputation before the eyes of the world.
MIKE GIBSON LASHES SMOKERS
Mike Gibson did his usual good anti smoking coverage in response to the media release put out regarding the protests at State Parliament House. He announced the event as part of the "promos" of his upcoming program right from 8.00 AM. He arranged to interview Brian McBride on air shortly after his program started at 10 AM and gave all the issues a good airing. This was partly because the papers were running a piece about politicians smoking in their offices while all their staff were banned. He named the offenders including Peter Reith, John Fahey, Michael Egan, Sandra Nori, Eddie Obeid and Kim Yeadon. 2GB then used excerpts from Brian's interview to replay in their later news bulletins which gave wide publicity to the attempts to get Nick Greiner sacked from the Olympics Board. An audience of over 300,000 kept hearing these calls to sack Greiner and this was a guaranteed way to ensure the Premier and Minister Knight could not continue with their heads in the sand pretending it was not an issue.
NSMA JOINS TCC LEGAL ACTION
This is an historic step taken by Australian pro-health forces as announced on Monday 3 October 1999. The Movement is pleased to advise members that we are one of the sixty health - anti tobacco organisations forming the new Tobacco Control Coalition (TCC) which has started action against Australian tobacco companies in the Federal Court to recover $500 million per year in compensation in the form of a fighting fund.
The action is modelled on successful legal actions by the State health authorities in the USA which achieved payments to cover the costs of future programs deemed essential to reduce the proven damage caused to date. Why should any Government or private health oriented bodies like ours have to foot the bill for preventive measures only made necessary by the negligent, criminal, misleading and deceptive practices of our own Australian tobacco companies?
The state level action in USA resulted in a record payout of over $300 Billion dollars in compensation for the state health costs of treating smokers.
Now President Bill Clinton has announced a Federal level action to recover their costs as well. This is analogous to the potential federal and state actions which could be started in Australia. Of course Prime Minister John Howard and his Liberal party colleagues are too close to the tobacco industry to rush in with federal action but everyone, including NSMA have urged him to do it. However it is great to see that Dr. Andrew Penman, CEO of NSW Cancer Council, Anne Jones of ASH and Prof. Simon Chapman have worked tirelessly to bring about this action through the vehicle of the Tobacco Control Coalition. Philip Morris, of course, said the case won't succeed because tobacco taxes more than pay for any health damage.
Simon Chapman issued a quick rebuttal to the media and pointed out that - as usual Philip Morris is being duplicitous. They argue that there is no evidence that smoking harms anyone, but anyway its taxes pay for the health damage it claims does not occur. It argues in effect that the tobacco industry can run up health bills equal to the tax revenue of $4.5 billion a year and then walk away scott free! Well let us see how that logic stands up in an Australian court. A particular thank you should go to the Board of the NSW Cancer Council for having the courage to back this great initiative. Whatever the outcome it shows that we are all getting more serious about the fight against tobacco which is long overdue.
VOTE NO TO K. GREINER FOR LORD MAYOR
Our dedicated team took to the streets in Martin Place, Sydney on Monday 30 August 1999 to hand out leaflets in relation to the Sydney City Council elections. The photo shows our team dressed in eye-catching cigarette packets originally designed for the Carla Zampatti rally on 31 May 1999. We handed out leaflets urging people not to vote for Kathryn Greiner in her bid to become Lord Mayor of Sydney. It was not that we supported any other particular candidates, but we simply attacked Kathryn because she had repeatedly said through various media interviews, particularly radio, that she had discussed City fundraising with husband Nick, and if elected she would involve him in these affairs of Council. Nick, as we all know is Mr. Tobacco in Australia since he is Chairman of the multinational giant WD & HO Wills which now also controls the Rothmans empire. It was also rumoured that Kathryn's election funding was being "arranged" by a Mr. Greg Daniels, fellow WD & HO Wills Director along with Nick. We certainly don't need a tobacco chief as de facto Lord Mayor of Sydney so we went into action to reduce her election chances.
As well as the street activities we also did extensive letter box dropping in the residential areas of Ultimo and Pyrmont. We were very pleased to see that she was soundly defeated and her Sydney Alliance Group reduced their representation from three to only two councillors. This reduced representation meant she had to move out of her grander offices into less prestigious accommodation in Town Hall. Well Kathryn, we hope you have learnt the truth of that old saying "If you lie down with dogs - you must expect to get up with fleas". Husband Nick has lost the respect of ordinary people who have see him as a traitor to this country. If you run for public office again it would be a good idea never to mention his name and certainly never suggest you will be influenced by any of his advice or his network of drug dealers and liberal party fixers.
Action Point 3. Write to Cr. Kathryn Greiner, Town Hall, Sydney 2000, and tell her - better luck next time if she doesn't use Nick & Greg to drag her down.
STATE AND NATIONAL TOBACCO STRATEGIES
The Non Smokers' Movement is just one of many health oriented organisations in Australia who are supporters of the call for more action on tobacco control. Anne Jones of ASH Australia does excellent work in communicating with all groups and trying to keep everyone informed of the broad strategy for tobacco control in NSW and at the national level. One of the key platforms in this strategy is "Sustained mass media reach and community based programs that promote quitting, discourage uptake and limit exposure to environmental tobacco smoke (ETS)". We like to think we are making a significant contribution to this objective by boldly taking on the smokers and insisting that we will not accept exposure to ETS in any situation.
Twenty two years ago when the NSMA was formed the conventional wisdom was - "Never attack the smokers directly - only attack the tobacco industry, which has to be recognised as the real enemy". Indeed we were encouraged to see the smokers as "victims" and help them escape from their addiction. Whatever logic there may have been in that advice twenty years ago, it is totally out of date now. The current breed of younger smokers are fully responsible for their informed choice to take up smoking in the full knowledge of the consequences. They have freely chosen to become self-indulgent drug addicts and deserve no sympathy. We older polite campaigners must now take our lead from the younger generation. Be bold, be brash, don't beat around the bush, tell it like it is and don't worry about hurting anyone's feelings. Nothing would be more effective in discouraging "uptake" than having a riot reported on the front pages everyday over smokers being driven back into their own smelly homes to do their smoking.
There should be zero tolerance of smoking in the streets and all public smoking should be confined to designated outdoor areas something like public toilet blocks in chainwire enclosures scattered around the city. Perhaps we could make some exceptions for the older generation of smokers who were genuinely uninformed. However with many great aids to quitting like the patches etc., even those stubborn people don't deserve too much sympathy either! Perhaps after twenty two years I'm getting too impatient and should be more tolerant. Let me know what you think.
Action Point 4. Write to The Editor, NSMA, Box 6, 4 Goulburn St. Sydney 2000 and tell us your views on anti tobacco strategies for 2000.
LUNG VS BREAST CANCER
Dr. Bruce Armstrong says that the rates of women dying of lung cancer through smoking is catching up with and in some cases surpassing the rate of the same thing happening with men. He says that the trend of younger women taking up smoking is reasonably stable and that over all the rate of women smoking is 5% less than men. He says that in 2002 lung cancer will kill as many women as breast cancer.
WA SMOKING CAMPAIGN A SUCCESS
A smoking prevention campaign which targets WA teens has won international recognition. The Healthway-funded Smarter than Smoking Campaign was the only Australian campaign represented as a WHO conference in Singapore says the West Australian.
A NATION OF PILL POPPERS
HCF has put out a report that shows Australia as smoking drinking pill poppers. It shows the use of legal drugs including alcohol and tobacco and the misuses of common prescription drugs causes greater harm than illicit drugs. It was revealed that 98% of drug related deaths were caused by alcohol and tobacco. Australians are drinking more than was being drunk 60 years ago, 25% of the population is still smoking and in 1996 178 million prescriptions were dispensed in one year.
Handing out leaflets "vote" no to Kathryn Greiner
OPEN LETTER TO PREMIER CARR
Members may have noticed that tear jerking appeal letter published in the Sydney papers on 25 August pleading that their world should not end on 31 August when the new "Point of sale" laws came into effect in NSW. Mr. Jim Phillbrook, Executive Director of the NSW Retail Tobacconists" Association, pleaded that the new restrictions on point of sale advertising would force retailers to pass on new costs of millions of dollars to their customers, even those who do not use tobacco products. Jim thought it necessary to point out to the Premier that tobacco raises hundreds of millions of dollars in revenue for your Government, just in case he might have overlooked that little detail. There was, however no mention of the $21 million collected by his retailers for illegally selling cigarettes to children which is why the whole exercise has come about.
By chance NSMA Secretary, Jenny Sanders and President, Brian McBride had an unexpected opportunity to talk to Premier Bob Carr when he went on a meet the people stroll during the opening ceremony for Legacy week. Brian sought assurances that the Government would stand firm against these pressures. To his credit the Premier made it very clear that they would not yield one inch from their proposed tighter restrictions. There will be a three months period of grace for retailers to take down their disgraceful advertising gimmicks and promotions. After that we will make sure anyone who does not comply with the new restrictions will be prosecuted. We should also acknowledge some good work by Health Minister, Craig Knowles, in raising the maximum fine to $44,000 for selling cigarettes to minors in NSW.
BUT THERE IS REALLY GOOD NEWS
From I November 1999 the price of cigarettes will rise because the excise system will change from the weight of tobacco to a per stick rate of 18.815 cents per cigarette. This will add about 90 cents to a packet of 25s and up to $3 for packets of 40 or more. Further increases over the next 12 months from the twice yearly CPI adjustment and the 10% GST from July 2000 will bring the price of a packet of 25s to around $10. This is wonderful progress because one of the proven effective ways to reduce smoking is to put up the price. For some inexplicable reason smokers seem to value their money more than their health! It is that same twisted logic which prevents them from understanding the non smokers rights to clean air. Courtesy ASH USA Ed Note: Smokers get the money - we only get the pollution!
SOUTH AUSTRALIA GOING ALL THE WAY?
Radio reports say the State Government is to meet with lawyers following a multi-billion dollar lawsuit involving the US Government and multinational tobacco companies. tate Health Minister, Dean Brown confirmed he will be meeting with Slater & Gordon on behalf of all South Australians who had suffered smoking-related diseases. Tobacco companies are going to be up for massive compensation payouts in the future.
SMOKING AROUND SPORTING FACILITIES
Brian McBride is continuing his war of
attrition for a smoking ban in the open
areas around sporting complexes like tennis courts.
He would like to thank all those who
took up the action point request in the last
Update and wrote to Parramatta Council in
support of such bans.
That last statement is breathtaking in its inaccuracy and it ranks up there with some of the best denials Brian has received from State Rail over the years about staff not enforcing smoking rules. It is true that when he submitted an entry for the next competition starting in June 1999 the Committee where too scared to reject it again and so he returned to playing by default rather than a conscious decision to re-instate him. Anyway, the Tennis Association has unwittingly handed him an effective weapon to continue the battle. They have issued Rule No. 4 stating that "smoking is discouraged in all other areas" around the tennis courts. This means that as soon as smokers light up in an area near Brian he politely points out Rule No 4 and suggests they comply with this "discouragement". When they start to argue "but it's not banned" he will become less polite and point out all the reasons why he won't tolerate their pollution. When they eventually get upset and complain that they are being harassed he points out that he is only "discouraging" them as required under the rules. When Brian then calls a committee member and objects to being accused of harassing other players when he is only complying with the rules you can imagine the whole thing gets like something out of Monty Python. There will be lots more to this ten months saga so stay tuned for further developments!
Action Point 5. Write to The Secretary, Pmtta Baulkham Hills Tennis Assoc., Barton St. Parramatta, 2150 and ask for a club membership form. You can become a non-playing member for $2 pa with voting rights to support Brian's AGM motions to ban smoking.
A SMOKEFREE NIGHTCLUB?
Yes - we were told that the WOODPORT INN at 207 The Entrance Road, Erina (near Gosford) has opened an air conditioned smokefree disco/nightclub along with a no smoking lounge and Bistro area. Check it out when you are in the area and don't forget to congratulate the management for such progressive service to our young people. Their Tel 02 4367 5222 Fax 02 4365 0335.
AMA CALLS FOR ACTION - NEW REPORT
Dr. David Brand, President of Australian Medical Association (AMA), has always been a fearless advocate of more Government action against smoking. In fact one wonders whether the recent unsuccessful campaign to replace him was not partly inspired by that all-powerful and insidious tobacco lobby. Anyway, full marks to him for coming out strongly in support of the new World Health Organisation (WHO) report calling for more protection of children from passive smoking. They summarised strong evidence showing that passive smoking is a cause of pneumonia, bronchitis, asthma, middle ear infection, cot deaths and possibly cardiovascular and neurobiological impairment in children. Anne Jones, CEO, Action on Smoking and Health (ASH), also succeeded in getting the message into the media by pointing out that 547,000 children aged four and under live in households with one or more smokers. NSMA members always carry placards in every street demonstration demanding attention to this problem, particularly the 45,000 Aussie kids whose asthma is directly caused by their parent's smoking. Surviving bundles of joy and students of the future should re-write their Shakespeare - Blow, blow thou winter wind, thou art not so unkind as my parent's ingratitude!
TOO LITTLE - TOO LATE JOHN LAWS!
After twenty years of attacking founding President, Brian McBride, and belittling the Non Smokers' Movement at every opportunity, Radio 2UE's Demi-God is finally decrying his past habit of smoking like a chimney, and is advising listeners to quit smoking! Someone must be paying him for this change in editorial stance. Please write in and tell us if you know who is doing this. Anyway, it has not stopped NSMA from formally requesting the Australian Broadcasting Authority (ABA) to include Law's unashamed support for the tobacco industry over many years without ever revealing his vested interests, as part of the current inquiry into the "payment for opinion" scandal. Martina with our youngest demonstrator to date!
BRITAIN IS FINALLY WAKING UP!
Cigarette advertisements on billboards and in magazines will be outlawed in Britain from mid-December 1999 and most tobacco sponsorships of art and sport will be banned by 2003 under draft rules launched by Tony Blair's more enlightened Government. Any traveller to Britain and Europe will tell you they are still in the dark ages as far as tobacco control is concerned. Maybe they will catch up with us before the next (3000) millennium arrives!
The sudden expansion of advertising "Ecstasy available here" at every tobacconist between Wollongong to Newcastle was no doubt a devious plan by the tobacco companies to get more underage smokers to take up the habit. These are herbal cigarettes with a flavour like "pot" but because they don't contain nicotine they could be sold to any age group. Our secretary, Jenny Sanders, was quick to challenge local tobacconists about this attempt to promote a snide introduction to smoking by juveniles. Once aware of the hostility generated many tobacconists pulled down their signs. Fortunately NSW Parliament has now moved to ban the sale of ecstasy cigarettes to minors. What will Nick and his mates try next to expand their markets? They never learn, they never admit, and they never give up.
MPs ENJOY TOBACCO HOSPITALITY
Justice Minister Amanda Vanstone has accepted hospitality from Philip Morris at the same time Michael Wooldridge is spearheading a national campaign to curb tobacco use. Vanstone is one of several Liberal and Labor senators to have declared the company's hospitality in the latest update of senator's interests. Other senators included Jacinta Collins and Robert Ray. Stephen Conroy accepted hospitality at the Australian Open and the Grand Prix.
Heavy smoking Kosovars claimed the price of Australian cigarettes was sending them broke so immigration officials raised their $27 a week allowance. Donations of cigarettes helped ease tensions. Some fathers have been spending their kids $5 allowance on cigarettes and some women were handing over their allowances to keep their smoking husbands happy. They sure had their priorities right.
SPORT AND SMOKING DON'T MIX
Tasmanian Athletics and Australia competitions manager, Brian Roe has strongly supported a ban on smoking at all sporting venues. He has just returned from the World Athletic Championships in Spain where smoking was allowed and was unpleasant for the competitors, officials and spectators because of the shape of the venue. The Human Rights and Equal Opportunity Commission's Tasmanian regional director Robert Henderson said that while smoking was not considered a human right, banning it in public areas could be seen as restricting a person's freedom of choice. "There is a line where the government can begin to impose on our freedom of choice."
Ed note: Does it occur to Mr. Henderson that smoking restricts the more fundamental right of everyone to breathe unpolluted air?
A VERY USEFUL REFERENCE
For your information, the NSW Cancer Council publication WHEN SMOKE GETS IN YOUR EYES - A Guide to Passive Smoking and the Law can now be found on the Cancer Council's web site at: www.nswcc.org.au/pages/tobacco/wsgiye/cover.htm
MAYFAIR MALL - PARRAMATTA
NSMA members have complained three times
over three months about no provision of
smokefree areas in this newly renovated
shopping mall in Church Street Parramatta.
Congratulations to Alison Foster for criticising the fashion industry for promoting unhealthy and dangerous lifestyles like drugs, smoking and anorexia. She offers a new program for healthy modelling through New Age Modelling in Perth W.A.
SOUTH AUSTRALIAN BANS SUPPORTED
The vast majority (80%) of South Australians questioned in a survey support the ban on smoking in restaurants.
FIGHT FIRE WITH YOUTH
Tobacco advertising in the US, which targets youth, is being countered by a group of teenagers who produce their ads sending up the big boys in fine style. One particular group of Florida teenagers are trying to reach the targeted youth audience before the tobacco companies do. Sixty Minutes reported on the group called "Truth". Liz Hayes also reported on a leaked document from Rothmans Aust showing they are hell bent on changing advertising laws, with a strategy to replace older smokers with that of young smokers. How surprising!
REAL PRISON PUNISHMENT
A doctor formally employed by the Ministry of Justice has urged a total ban on smoking in WA prisons. Elizabeth Smith appearing before the coroner's court at an inquest into the death of an asthmatic prisoner at Bandyup.
TASMANIA WILL GO SMOKEFREE
Smoking in public places will be banned by 2001 under new Tasmanian Government plans. Health Minister Judy Jackson announced the Government is considering a ban in line with a strategy endorsed by the National Ministerial Council.
NZ PLEA TO CURB ADDITIVES
The Heart Foundation in New Zealand has called for an urgent review of cigarette additives following a new international report which says liquorice, sugar and cocoa are being used to increase smoking levels.
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|This page was last updated on 7th August, 2012.|
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