|Non Smokers' Update
BAR WORKERS ARE DISPOSABLE IN NSW
The Carr Labour Government has told bar workers they do not matter and, if they have an unsafe work environment through passive smoking, they will just have to sort it out amongst themselves. Bob Carr is not prepared to stand the political heat the powerful Australian Hotels Association, in conjunction with Nick Greiner's tobacco lobby, can turn on him. What other explanation is there? Even the Casino workers are going to be protected by the new laws now slowly passing through Parliament. But if you are a poor barmaid copping a lungful of cancerous filth from a bleary eyed patron across the bar - well tough - put up with it or change your job! Don't think a labour government, which has sat on its hands about smoking for the whole 17 years that the NSW Occupational Health & Safety Act has been in force, will help you. You are on your own baby, and you have got a long way to go!
BAR WORKERS - KNOW YOUR RIGHTS!
This was the message delivered to hotel employees by members of the Non Smokers' Movement as part of a special initiative for World No Tobacco Day on 31 May 2000. The photos show members gathering out side the Trades Hall Tavern bar in Goulburn Street before marching through the southern end of the city calling in to the local hotels.
The inset (next page) shows the leaflet distributed to every bar worker we could find with a personal invitation to join us in lodging a protest on their behalf against their smoke polluted working areas. We pointed out how they were being treated as "disposable" workers still unprotected by the 1983 OHSA health laws and now deliberately and consciously left out of the new Smokefree Environment Bill. The response from the workers was appreciative but no one immediately took up our offer. Many said they would think about it. The major problem here is that a lot of these workers are smokers and they (mistakenly) feel they cannot invoke the occupational health laws against their employers. The other problem, of course, is they feel insecure and would not risk the possibility of losing their jobs if they made a fuss.
SCRUFFY MURPYS DRAGON-LADY
The whole exercise went fairly smoothly with workers appreciating that we were trying to help them. Most were quite unaware they were being left out of the equation and I'm sure we have sown some seeds for further discontent and action. The only pub where we struck real opposition was the aptly named "Scruffy Murphys" on the corner of George and Goulburn Streets. The dragon-lady manageress stood in the doorway and tried to tell us we could not come in. However she met her match with seasoned campaigners with 23 years of experience gained fighting with incompetent railway security and real police over non- enforcement of no smoking laws. We were soon inside handing out leaflets to the staff. We will follow up soon to see if we can foster some legal action against hotel proprietors by their staff. If health is not their primary motivation they may be still persuaded by some of the big damages wins overseas. They are a well-defined group that would be very suitable for a "Class Action". A good win here could put the Australian Hotels Association into bankruptcy, which is what they deserve for putting profits ahead of the personal welfare of workers in the industry.
BAR WORKERS - KNOW YOUR RIGHTS !
The 1983 NSW Occupational Health Act is supposed to prevent your employer from subjecting you to any known "health risk". PASSIVE SMOKING has been upheld in the courts to be a known health risk. It may take years for the damage to your lungs and heart to show up but when it does you are the victim and your employer will try to escape any liability. The best way to protect your interests is to put the matter on record by letting us lodge a complaint with WORKCOVER NSW on your behalf. We can do this, up to a point, without naming you and it may be sufficient to force an improvement in your working environment without having to make you personally confront your employer. You need someone in your corner because the enemy backing your employer is The Australian Hotels Association (AHA). They are in bed with the tobacco companies to ensure that your workplace stays polluted with deadly cigarette smoke for years to come. Even the Casino gaming table workers are about to be protected by new NSW Legislation banning smoking in restaurants and all enclosed public places. But you, the bar workers are about to be left out. The AHA regards you as "disposable". Your health runs a very poor third after their profits, and the profits of the tobacco companies who are spending big money to suppress your rights to a healthy workplace. DON'T ACCEPT THIS TREATMENT, TAKE ACTION NOW BY: (Action and contact details then set out)
PETITION FOR SMOKE-FREE STREETS
We took the opportunity while marching through the streets, and while addressing the passers-by with a loud hailer, to launch our petition for a ban on smoking in city streets. This may seem a bit radical but it is the right way for future anti-smoking campaigns to be directed. Some of the reasons for this are: - You can't walk anywhere in a city street without copping regular blasts from someone's stinking cigarette. - Any exposure is harmful to health, there is no safe level of exposure, so why accept any level of risk no matter how small. - You can't spit or urinate in the street so why should you smoke when it is equally offensive to many people. - Unlike other bad habits smoking is totally invasive and impacts directly on the people around the smoker, they cannot escape even in the open air. - It is the only way to stop the disgraceful littering of every footpath and every street with cigarette butts. All other campaigns have failed. - To say that other forms of air pollution from vehicles etc., are bad is not a defence. Tobacco pollution is the unnecessary by-product of drug taking and should be controlled rigorously. We collected a modest number of signatures and have submitted them to the Lord Mayor to get his response as a first step. Regardless of his support many more initiatives will be taken in pursuit of this campaign provided our membership keeps funding our efforts. In the next edition of Update we will publish a more detailed argument of why the campaign to ban public smoking outdoors must go ahead.
CHANGE TO OUR FAX NUMBER
Members please note that in an effort to reduce costs we now have only one line for both telephone and fax. That number is 02 9264 6243. Faxes sent to the old number will still reach us for the time being but everyone should use the new number.
NO SMOKING SPREADS TO QUEENSLAND RESTAURANTS
Queensland Health Minister, Wendy Edmond, has announced the Beattie labour government's intention to bring in a ban on smoking in restaurants and enclosed public places similar to NSW in the coming sessions of parliament. This is great news for Queenslanders who have long suffered under pro-tobacco leaders like Joh Bjelke Peterson and the Liberal/National party wimps who have always displayed total capitulation to the tobacco lobby interests. The lobbying against the move was already in evidence with the Courier Mail's Editorial on 30 May 2000.
They decried the move and said "think what a negative
effect it would have on tourism". Their first thoughts
were about the almighty dollar for business people, not
about the comfort and welfare of the ordinary people
who live there. They went on with the brilliant argument
that restaurants are not workplaces because customers
are "volunteers". They should be able to choose
whether they wish to eat or drink in a smoking or non-
smoking area. It should be for the proprietor alone to
determine whether to offer a smoking or non-smoking
zones, they said.
Ignoring issues of public health and Government's proper responsibilities, one might say, fair enough Courier Mail, all we have ever asked is freedom to choose clean air. Where were you 20 years ago when we asked for support for this principle? You and your like turned deaf ears, or actively opposed us, but now the poor bloody smokers are getting a hard time you have suddenly been converted to "freedom of choice". You did nothing to support a compromise victory for non-smokers then, so we are very happy to accept total victory now.
Action Point. Write to The Editor, Courier Mail,
Brisbane, 4000, and tell them they are just lackeys for
big business and, as one of the ordinary people, you will
now stop buying their Newspaper or reading it on the
OUR STIRRERS IN QUEENSLAND
Steve Petroni, our man from South Australia, and John Coyle, our man in Queensland recently got together in Brisbane and bombarded the Queensland Health Minister and Premiers with letters about why they are lagging behind the other states re tobacco legislation? This all adds to the pressure from the mainstream health groups and, thank goodness, there are now some signs of action. Steve and John have been campaigning for totally smokefree transport for many years and are now stepping up the campaign for smoking bans in "Roadhouses" used by long distance bus coaches. Happily this will be solved in NSW by the "Enclosed Public Places" definition. Hopefully, this will spread to the other states because such bus services pass over state boundaries all the time. A national set of rules is required for consistency.
NSW PARLIAMENT STILL DEBATING SMOKING BANS
Many people have been ringing our office to find out the status of the new legislation. The position is that the "SMOKE-FREE ENVIRONMENT BILL 2000" was passed through the lower house on 29 June 2000 just before the House rose for the winter recess. Hence the Bill must now await the resumption of Parliament on 29 August before it can be passed by the Upper House and become law. We suspect the introduction of bans in NSW has been delayed beyond the expected start in July 2000 because of backroom deals to slow the implementation down until after the Olympics. Of course no one can prove this, but what other explanation is there?
The Carr government is struggling to maintain a halfway decent transport system as well as a thousand other logistical problems so I guess they have opted for the easy solution of deferment. This is very disappointing but we have waited a life-time so far, so I guess we can wait a few more months. Of course Health Minister, Craig Knowles, is doing his genuine best to get it through before the Olympics but he is not the only player in Parliament, so we just have to believe his media statements then wait and see what happens on 29 August.
SMOKER KERNOHAN BATTLES ON
The Hansard speeches revealed only one formal protest by die-hard smoker, Dr Liz Kernohan, MP for Camden. She had the hide to tell the parliament, quote: "I still believe that this is a free country and that conflicting results establish that there is still no real proof of the damaging effects of passive smoking" unquote. It makes my blood boil to hear these nicotine addicts have the brazen effrontery to talk about a free country and the rights of smokers without even a mention of the total denial of the basic right of non-drug addicts to breathe unpolluted air. Their last ditch refusal to accept the overwhelming evidence of passive smoking health damage only continues the lies and deceit of the tobacco lobby over the last fifty years. What we really need now is a law banning smokers, read "drug addicts", from being eligible to stand for Parliament. They are not capable of being objective leaders protecting the interests of the majority of the public. They are a pathetic minority group dedicated to preserving their right to take addictive drugs and are totally panic stricken at the though it just might be taken away from them. This is true of all of them whether inside or outside of Parliament.
GOOD WORK PETER COLLINS
We have often criticised the majority of Liberal Party members because they have been susceptible to the tobacco lobby for years. Their close liaison was underlined by the hypocrisy of their past leader Nick Greiner who espoused health and education one day and then took a highly paid job as mouthpiece for the tobacco industry the next day. To recover any credibility the Liberal Party should have issued a public repudiation to disown such a Judas. But instead, they continue to fete him as a respected ex-leader and welcome him for consultation in their back room deals. Current leader Kerry Chikarovski is the daughter of an ex-tobacco company chief and her credentials are very clouded because of this. Health platitudes and words count for nothing with politicians. What is needed is total public repudiation of all connections with tobacco and its insidious lobbying machine.
One Liberal who meets the criteria is Peter Collins, MP for Willoughby, and previous leader of the state party. He spoke strongly in support of the Bill. He pointed out that when he was NSW Health Minister in 1989 he introduced the legislation to ban smoking in public hospitals. He said it was a great irony that massively expensive public hospitals were built to correct the health problems arising from smoking while people were still allowed to smoke in hospitals. He indicated his 12 years association with "attempted" anti-smoking legislation and said the Parliament is right to stand up to the tobacco giants, and not give in and not be bowed by the financial and political pressure that they bring to bear on individual members of Parliament or on political parties. Peter really believes this, but other Liberals only mouth the words.
NOW IMAGINE THAT!
Mrs Jillian Skinner led the Liberal/National Party Coalition's response to the debate and I suppose that spared Mrs Chikarovski from have to strain family relationships by saying nasty things about the tobacco industry. Mrs Skinner overlooked the fact that she was one of the conspiring liberals who did their best to derail the strong anti-smoking bill introduced by the then independent member for Manly, Peter Macdonald, in 1996/97 and from which all the present action flows. They combined with the labour government to insert a five years delay clause, which effectively gutted the legislation and put it into the "five years from never - never" category. Instead, she mouthed all the right words about the importance of public health and started quoting the death and disease statistics from Department of Health reports as if these have only just become available. She said it would be "unbelievable to imagine how far we have come" in preventing exposure to tobacco smoke. Who would have imagined 20 years ago that smoking would not be allowed in public places?
Well Mrs Skinner, I can tell you, not only did NSMA members "imagine it", we actually demanded it but the Liberals were so blinkered by Greiner and his mates that they could not conceive of a world without this suffocating pollution everywhere you turned. She even recognised that it all started from the ban on smoking in workplaces, but she probably would not even be aware that it was NSMA members who supported the Roy Bishops and the Liesel Scholems of this world in their pioneering fight against the odds to win smokefree workplaces. However, at least she was also honest enough to point out that it is hypocritical of the government to promote this bill as a public health bill, reducing exposure to tobacco, because it will not do so for patrons and workers in the hospitality industry where bar areas and some casino areas will be exempted from the bans. At least she put that important point on the parliamentary record.
STRONG LEADERSHIP BY PETER DOYLE
The President of the Restaurant and Catering Association, Mr Peter Doyle, is to be commended for his strong leadership in fighting for a healthy workplace for members of his association. The support of his association was crucial to getting this bill into place. The Health Lobby, ably led by Anne Jones of Action on Smoking and Health, representing the NSW Cancer Council and the National Heart Foundation, were able to use leverage through the support of people like Peter Doyle and his members to convince the Health Minister and the Premier that these long overdue bans would be welcomed by the majority of the people in the industry. Peter Doyle has welcomed the bans as far as they go but points out the need to extend them further.
So what does the legislation propose in its present form and if it is not further amended in the Upper House? Generally the principle is good in that it prohibits smoking in all enclosed public buildings except for nominated areas, which are granted exemptions. As with the other health lobby groups, the NSMA accepts and supports this in the pragmatic sense that it is a major step forward. We are not happy that the exempted areas are more extensive than we would like and we will continue to campaign for more extensive bans. We are not happy that a twelve months phase-in period is too generous in relation to several key issues:
(1)The dining areas in hotels and clubs do not need twelve months to phase in smoking bans. Many of them have already provided no smoking areas so they could, and should, move immediately to complete bans.
(2)Entrance and reception areas of restaurants are treated as non-dining zones and smoking will be allowed for twelve months by which time barriers must be installed to prevent smoke drifting into the smokefree eating areas. This means non-smokers must run the gauntlet through this pollution in order to get into the clear air zones. We believe such entrance areas, and indeed at least ten metres each side of doorways should be smokefree zones.
(3) Smokers will be allowed to plead ignorance in lighting up during the first twelve months. It will only become an offence after the smoker has been told to put it out and fails to do so. The reluctance of some proprietors to play policeman could result in long delays before recalcitrant smokers can be dealt with. Details of policing arrangements are not fully defined and will flow from regulations to be gazetted. However the Director General of Health is empowered to appoint the necessary inspectors.
The exempted premises are virtually all licensed premises covered by the Liquor Act 1982, The Registered Clubs Act 1986 or the Casino Act 1992. However, within these premises all areas where genuine meals are purchased and consumed at tables must be smoke free within twelve months. Unfortunately the wording means that smoking can take place in any other parts of such buildings, which includes the general areas of all hotels, clubs and nightclubs.
EXAMPLES OF SMOKEFREE PUBLIC PLACES
Any "substantially enclosed" building (with a roof and some walls), which is open to the public will be a smokefree area unless covered by the licensed premises exemptions. Examples are shopping centres, malls, plazas, coffee shops, cafes, restaurants, other eating places, community centres, halls, theatres, cinemas, libraries, galleries, common areas in hostels and motels, bowling alleys and other sporting and recreational facilities, in addition to all established smokefree areas such as workplaces and transport systems. In our view this will include those hotly disputed areas of coffee shops that spread out into shopping malls and arcades, because there is still a roof over them.
SMOKING AROUND ENTRANCES TO BUILDINGS
As mentioned in earlier newsletters there are many justified complaints about having to run the gauntlet of smokers gathered around doorways to all kinds of city and suburban buildings. We launched a campaign for extension of the "25 metre rule" as seen at some hospitals. These displayed signs at doorways saying no smoking within 25 metres of this sign. A petition has been lodged with the Sydney Lord Mayor, Cr. Frank Sartor, to take this issue seriously and enforce it around city buildings for a start. Such a campaign is all the more necessary now because the new bans will mean gatherings of smokers around the doorways to every single enclosed public building and particularly around entrances to restaurants, so more about that later.
MISSING THE CORE ISSUE
All the wise words and in some cases, lip service, given to the passive smoking- health damage argument, so far, fails to address one core issue. Normal people should not have to put up with this suffocating pollution from these self-indulgent addicts. You should not have to prove that it is killing you to get relief from the stinking, dirty, degrading pollution, which denies people the basic right to breathe clean air. No one would suggest that a little bit of contamination is OK in the food we eat. Just look at the outcry about a bit of Cripto Sporidium in our drinking water.
Quite rightly, we demand the highest possible standards of purity and quality in the food and water we consume, but when it comes to the other basic necessity of life, the air we have to breathe, our leaders fade away like cowards. They are afraid to be "so impolite" as to tell smokers like Kernohan, Refshauge, Egan and other NSW parliamentarians, that they are environmental vandals crassly walking over everyone else's right to clean air. Let us hope that the coming debate in the Upper House in NSW will put some of this argument on the record. Modern day smokers know the facts and therefore they have forfeited any rights to further consideration due to ignorance or mis-information. Tell them straight, they have chosen to be common drug addicts just like the people in back alleys sticking needles in their arms. Tell them to find their own back alleys for their pathetic indulgences and leave the rest of the world free of their stinking pollution.
Action Point - Write to The Hon. Arthur Chesterfield- Evans, MLC., Parliament House, Macquarie Street, Sydney 2000. Thank him for his pioneering work leading up to this great victory. Ask him to ensure the forthcoming debate in the Upper House addresses the above matters and also emphasises Non-Smokers' Rights as an equally important issue that must be endorsed by Parliament in relation to further moves to ban smoking in outdoor areas. Also write to your local MP along similar lines.
WIN SOME - LOSE SOME!
Unfortunately the anti smoking action groups in USA failed in their logical bid to get nicotine regulated as a "drug" which would have automatically brought much more stringent controls into play. It's a political hot potato but they will keep on pursuing their very logical objective.
AUSTRALIAN CLASS ACTION STILL UNDER REVIEW
Unlike the American legal system our ponderous British based courts were unable to accept that there was a sufficient degree of commonality between thousands of Australian smokers whose health has been ruined by the deception and orchestrated lies of all the tobacco companies operating in Australia. Legal action against tobacco companies by the Tobacco Control Coalition now faces a financial setback before it can proceed. A court decision on 27 July ruled that the TCC must provide $300,000 as a security bond before the case can proceed.
The Judge's decision was based on his assessment that the TCC case as it currently stands has some likelihood of failing, but if refined could be successful. The TCC has until September 30 to raise the funds, and the case will be dismissed if they fail to do so. The Tobacco Control Coalition is also in negotiation with law firm Slater and Gordon and state and territory governments in the hope of transferring their current class action into an "omnibus" case. The TCC wants to use any damages flowing from such a case to establish a $500 million Tobacco Control Commission to run public health campaigns to reduce smoking. This class action is the only one now remaining in Australian courts.
If three hundred people put up a security deposit of $1000 each that would raise the necessary funds. Are any members of NSMA interested in helping this action go ahead? Remember we raised a similar guarantee of $60,000 to allow the landmark Liesel Scholem case to go ahead and to achieve a stunning victory against smoking in the workplace.
The TCC Judgement can be seen at, www.austlii.edu.au/cases/cth/federal_ct/2000/1004
MAJOR CLASS ACTION WIN IN FLORIDA USA
What a fantastic result! A jury trial on behalf of 500,000 smokers in Florida won a verdict for 240 Billion Dollars in punitive damages against all major tobacco companies. This was widely and sensationally reported in the general media so we won't take space to repeat details here. However it is clear that the tobacco giants are going to go all out with legal technicalities and appeals to ensure the maximum possible delays to any payouts.
LET'S HELP ANOTHER DISCRIMINATION CASE
One campaigner with a great record of perseverance in fighting for clean air is Ken Bishop now of Tin Can Bay in Queensland. His previous battle was won against the Melbourne buses but there is not room to go into that now. The new battle is against the Tin Can Bay Country Club, which effectively discriminated against Ken because they would not provide any smoke free areas, even in the dining room. He took them to the Human Rights & Equal Opportunity Commission and won a ruling that they had to provide for him. The Club were supposed to honour a subsequent agreement with him to provide no smoking accommodation from 1 July 2000, but they have failed to do so.
The problem now is that to enforce his victory Ken has to take some form of legal action. The Club has now obtained backing from the Queensland Clubs Association, which is pro-tobacco. They have thumbed their noses at Ken and refused to honour the agreement. They obviously have more money and they are confident that they will wear him down. Ken has to decide whether it is worth all the hassle, particularly with a slight glimmer of hope that Queensland might legislate for no smoking bans similar to NSW, which would solve the problem. However, while he is contemplating what he is prepared to do, I think we should offer some financial backing, at least to the point where Ken calls their bluff and shows them up as reactionaries backed by the tobacco lobby. Anyone willing to make a pledge of say $50 or $100 (or more) should write in and say they are willing to help. We will establish a fund and hold it in trust pending clarification of the best way to progress the matter.
THANK YOU FRED AND ELAINE NILE
Readers will know that we have absolutely no affiliations with any religious or political or any other causes. If you fight air pollution and tobacco exploitation you are one of us. If you don't you are not. It is as simple as that. Therefore we have no hesitation in warmly congratulating Fred and Elaine Nile for their constant and effective opposition to the smoking menace over many years. They played an important role in bringing a private members Bill into the Upper House at the same time that Peter Macdonald brought it into the lower House in NSW. The commitment of these independents in conjunction with the Democrats highlighted the issue for the two major parties and forced them to realise the time had come to get off the fence and do something.
Our democratic processes have been greatly strengthened by the role of these members and we thank them for their contribution. It is ironic and sad to record that Elaine says one of the reasons she is retiring from Parliament is that her health is suffering from the smoke polluted environment because politicians will not observe their own rules around Parliament House.
CHOP CHOP TOBACCO
The practise of selling unprocessed tax-free tobacco leaves which are simply "chopped" into fine leaf for roll your own cigarettes is becoming more widespread. Many reports are coming in of tobacconists and milkbars who have this stuff under the counter and are happy to sell to anyone including children because what they are doing is already illegal. You may as well be hung for a sheep as a lamb!
SMOKERS SHOULD BE DISQUALIFIED
We have made a formal submission to the Minister for Immigration Phillip Ruddock, that smoking status should be grounds for refusing entry to this country for migrants. It is proven that they are nicotine "drug addicts" who will have shorter and less productive lives and will certainly be a further strain on an already over- taxed health system. We have waited four months without getting a reply and we suspect it is sitting on some smoker's desk within the Department. The NSMA intends to stir up the issue of nicotine-addicted executives having any role in handling matters concerning smoking at any level.
One of the incongruities of the last twenty or more years has been the acceptance of smokers in the bureaucracies handling the complaints of non-smokers.
One of the great classic examples was Brian McBride's one-man war about the non-enforcement of the old Bylaw 10, banning smoking under covered areas on railways. He complained to the smoking railway attendant, who passed it on to the smoking stationmaster, who passed it on to the smoking District Superintendent. Finally when Brian increased the pressure by publicly putting up his own No Smoking signs for the TV cameras he was arrested for defacing railway property. He was taken to a room for interrogation by two railway detectives. The final insult was they insisted that they could smoke while they questioned him! What hope does a non-smoker have complaining in that kind of environment?
Conflict of Interest
In many bureaucracies you could go all the way to the top and find you are dealing with a smoking Minister! The point is that all of these officials should have disqualified themselves because of a clear conflict of interest, but it never seems to occur to them. Let's do something about this. Let us start by finding out how many smokers there are in the Director General of Health's office, which will develop regulations and implement enforcement of the new "Smokefree Environment Bill". I shudder to think how many smokers we will find in the Department of Immigration.
VALE SUE MEEUWISSEN
With much sadness we report the death of this great campaigner against the tobacco menace. Sue was born with cystic fibrosis, which meant her lungs were very fragile and had to be protected from tobacco pollution. She led a life of confinement and was deprived of the right to enjoy outings to public venues because of the guaranteed presence of deadly poisons, courtesy of those ultimately selfish people, the smokers. In 1993 Sue gained a new lease of life after undergoing a heart/lung transplant. However she was still under medical advice to avoid passive smoking.
In spite of the risks she started to fight for her rights to go where other young people her age go to enjoy themselves. She carried the fight to the polluters by winning a landmark anti-discrimination case against the Sydney Hilton Hotel in 1997 for their refusal to provide a smokefree environment in their Julianas Nightclub. She fought and won that case with great legal support from Sydney barrister, Neil Francey, not so much for herself, but as part of her contribution to bringing the days a total bans on smoking a little closer. These battles took their toll on Sue as her health deteriorated beyond the possibility of another transplant operation. She died aged 38 on 14 July in her home city of Melbourne. We send our condolences to her family and assure them that we do appreciate the wonderful effort Sue made in her short life, to improve the world for the rest of us.
SMOKE POLLUTION OF UNITS
This is an increasing problem with medium and high density housing forcing people ever closer together in minimum sized buildings. The CSIRO have taken up the related issue of noise pollution and called for new building standard regulations. Acoustic Services Manager, Dr. John Davy, says that fashion trends with hard surface floors are "announcing a neighbours every step" in multi-unit developments. We wish them well with that project. However, how much more important is it to ensure that the poisons in cigarette smoke do not invade neighbours and thus announce every cigarette which they light up!
We are still getting complaints and we are trying to develop a register of people with common landlords with a view to launching a class action. Our preferred landlord is the Housing Commission so we are giving the Government fair warning on this one. If you know anyone in this type of accommodation and particularly if they have health problems, please put them in contact with us.
COUNCIL SMOKERS MUST WORK EXTRA TIME
A London Council has ordered smokers among its 11,000 staff to work an extra half hour each day to make up for time lost taking smoking breaks. Quite right too, and let's hope it soon happens in Australia!
ANTI TOBACCO INTERNET SITES
Our internet site is listed on the top of every newsletter and we trust members are making use of it where possible. It contains linkages to, and details of, other sites which carry anti-smoking information. These are some of the sites you will find interesting:- www.nsma.org.au - Non Smokers' Movement of Australia - www.ashaust.org.au - Action on Smoking and Health Australia (ASH) - www.heartfoundation.com.au - National Heart Foundation - www.nswcc.org.au - NSW Cancer Council - www.health.usyd.edu.au/tobacco - Assoc Prof. Simon Chapman's Tobacco Control Super Site - www.acosh.org.au - Aust. Council on Smoking & Health WA - www.quit.org.au - NSW Government Quit Campaign.
SMOKERS STRUGGLING - LATEST FIGURES (SMH - 5/7/00)
The rate of smoking continues to fall, says the Bureau of Statistics, and those who remain addicted are most likely to be under-educated, unemployed or single parents. The social trends report released on 4/7/00 says 24% of the population described themselves as smokers in 1995 (the latest figures) compared with 37% IN 1977. About 47% of indigenous Australians, 40% of unemployed people, 32% of lone parents, 32% of people living alone and 29% of people with no post- school qualifications were smokers. Australia now ranks 17th in the world in per capita cigarette consumption, with Poland, Greece and Japan holding the top spots. ED NOTE - The Government should dedicate the tax proceeds directly to saving them from their addiction.
AUSTRALIAN GOVERNMENT LEGAL ACTION ON HOLD
British America Tobacco Australasia (BAT) have provided a summary of legal advice it has received from law firm Clayton Utz about the problems states would face if they proceed with legal action against tobacco companies. Meanwhile, the state's decision to proceed has been put on hold pending the finalisation of a report from the Crown Solicitors, which is not expected to be complete until November. (Australian Financial Review 28/7/00)
MORE HELP FOR SMOKERS TO QUIT
The New Zealand Government has announced extra funding to help Maoris quit smoking so that the total funding effort is now up to $11.8 million this year. This translates in per capita terms to $60.69 m if the Australian effort was to be equivalent. However the current Australian commitment is a paltry $2m from Federal Government and a total of about $8 from the states. The Tobacco Control Coalition say this is scandalous. We agree it is nothing less than a national disgrace. We should write to our local members and demand more funding.
SALES TO MINORS
This has been a major issue recently following the Victorian Brack Government's approval of a plan to use under-age spies to trap retailers selling cigarettes to children. Todd Harper, Director of Quit Vic. said a child who starts smoking at 14 years or less is five times more likely to die of lung cancer than a person who starts aged 24, and 15 times more likely than someone who has never smoked. Also Douglass Tutt of the Health Promotion Unit in Gosford told a national and international anti-drugs conference that tobacco retailers should be licensed so they can be easily punished for selling tobacco to minors. Such a licensing system will reduce teenage smoking because the results of a six-year study by researchers have shown that getting tobacco retailers to obey the law reduces teen smoking by 30%.
CIGARETTE ADDITIVES SHOULD BE BANNED
The Director of Melbourne's VicHealth Centre for Tobacco Control has called for a ban on all additives in cigarettes, following revelations by cigarette manufacturer Philip Morris that sugar, honey, cocoa and liquorice are among 147 chemicals added to cigarettes for flavour. Dr Ron Borland has called for the ban, saying he is concerned that the use of additives may make cigarettes more appealing. The disclosure of these additives shows that cigarette companies are going to a lot of effort to make a product that is inherently dangerous taste better. They are trying to encourage people who might not otherwise do so, to use the product and/or to encourage smokers to use it more often. Dr Borland said, I call on the government to act immediately to ban all ingredients that make this insidious substance more attractive than it need be. The Government should look seriously into the possibility of adding chemicals to reduce the palatability of tobacco to young people. (Age 26 July)
RUGBY EMBRACES SMOKE FREE
The National Rugby League has announced a $600,000 sponsorship deal with NSW Health which will see the League branded Smoke Free
LETTERS TO THE EDITOR (Abbreviated as necessary)
I'm just dropping a line to congratulate you on a terrific newsletter. I won't comment on any particular article, but I was engrossed from start to finish. I think Brian McBride is an inspiration, for so many years he has held on tightly to his beliefs about the smoking issue and has always put his money where his mouth is. I will certainly be with you on the 31 May to do a bit of stirring.
I note how irate some people get when dealing with smokers on railway stations. My approach is to be as polite and friendly as I can. I say excuse me, perhaps you didn't notice that this is a no smoking area. This is often enough to get them to put out their cigarettes immediately. If not, I then say, by smoking here you are not only poisoning yourself, but everyone around you. If they still persist I threaten to call security and head off in the direction of the office. I must emphasise that most people comply and only a minority will argue or be unpleasant. If this happens I am able to deal with the situation in a way that does not bother me. Although I am persistent I am always polite.
(Re "Congratulations on Victory at Last" message). You are being very modest. The Non-Smokers' Movement has obviously played a very key role over many years in achieving this victory. While you and I have had our differences over the years, we are very much oarsmen pulling in the same direction. The struggle is far from over and I predict there will be wholesale ignoring of the bans in many out of the way cafes and restaurants, with lots of need for people to be educated on how to insist that proprietors enforce the law when it is introduced.