The Non Smokers' Movement of Australia  
Protecting the rights of the Non-smoking majority from tobacco smoke
and from the tobacco industry's propaganda.

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Non Smokers' Update

Issue 40, August - October 2002


Smokers are becoming more aware that they should not subject their children to the dangers of passive smoking. The result is they go out onto the balcony to smoke and thus inflict the pollution on their neighbour's children, particularly in areas of high-density development, which are very much on the increase. We have received many complaints from parents and others desperate to find some relief from many hours exposure every day and every night. One very sad case was that of a young mother who brought her first baby home from the hospital only to realise that she could not open the bedroom windows to give the baby fresh air because of the constant pollution of cigarette smoke coming from her chain smoking neighbours.

Complaints to Councils and Departments of Health and Housing were a waste of time because they have no legislation or local ordinances that can be brought to bear on the issue. The problem has been recognised overseas and we try to give comfort to people by telling them we will try to follow the lead of Maryland County in USA which banned smoking where it would intrude on a neighbour's air-space.

Legal Position
Our first move has been to talk to lawyers about the possibility of some kind of legal action as a test case to enforce the fundamental rights of any person to the quiet enjoyment of their own home and air-space which surrounds it. We are told that actions under common law principles of negligence and private nuisance could possibly succeed but they are not over confident about it. To establish negligence you have to establish your neighbour's duty of care towards you and you have to show tangible damage as a result of breach of that duty. In the case of asthmatics or people with special sensitivities such damage would be more tangible that in the case of healthy individuals. A win in such action would provide a sum of damages related to the damage suffered. However for our purposes a win in principle with the possibility of many to follow would cause our legislators to sit up and take real notice of the problem.

An action in private nuisance would have to establish that the smoke invasion represented a breach of property rights and that it was both substantial and unreasonable in all the circumstances. Whether the interference is "unreasonable" is decided according to the ordinary usages of people living in society and not those of abnormal sensitivity, such as asthmatics. Allowance must be made for reasonable "give and take, live and let live" principles. These arguments would depend on the extent to which a modern court may accept that nicotine drug taking is a reasonable pursuit of ordinary people living in today's society. We non-smokers would have decided views about that, but what view would a particular court and judge take on the issues? A win on private nuisance would have the advantage that a permanent injunction would be granted to stop the smoking neighbour from ever repeating the offence. This is as distinct from an award of damages which would require a new action each time there was a repeat offence.

Present Legislation
The provisions of the Smoke-Free Environment Act 2000 and the 1983 Occupational Health and Safety Act in NSW do require the "common property" areas of all flats, units and town houses to be smoke-free. These are both enclosed public access areas and are deemed as workplaces under relevant legislation. Of course having a law that says "No Smoking" and getting someone to enforce it are two very different things, as we well know from our experiences with smoking laws on railway stations.

The Environment Protection Authority (EPA) also has a responsibility under its legislation to enhance the quality of the environment in NSW and to reduce the risks to human health and prevent degradation of the environment in which people live. We will be pushing all these buttons in order to get some attention to these problems. All councils have high-sounding Environmental Protection officers under these regulations. However do the words mean what they seem to say? In theory we can report each exposure to carcinogenic chemicals released into the atmosphere as a reportable environmental offence. That would keep a few council staff busy investigating for a while.

Political Position
Polluting the air around a suburban residential home or unit is the same as the problem we had with backyard incinerators years ago. Each smoker is just another personal incinerator fouling other people's air space. Cigarette, pipe and cigar smoke pollution may not be as severe in intensity but it is equally offensive to the lungs and carries an even higher health risk. Exposure is more prolonged because while people may burn off in an incinerator once per week the smokers foul the air every half hour both day and night. To test the water and make a start on what will be probably be a long road to new legislation controlling residential smoking we have written a series of letters to three politicians representing constituents who have this problem. One such case concerns our member Tina (name withheld) shown in the photo with NSMA President, Brian McBride, helping to present her case to her local State Member of Parliament, The Hon. John Watkins, Minister for Education.

Brian McBride and Tina
Brian McBride and Tina present case for smokefree public housing to local state M.P. The Hon. John Watkins Minister for Education

Mr Watkins was very understanding of Tina's problem with constant exposure to cigarette smoke because she suffers from asthma. He has undertaken to make representations to the Minister for Housing who is effectively Tina's landlord because she is a public housing tenant. NSMA have indicated to the Minister that we are compiling a database of tenants suffering detrimental health effects with a view to launching a class action against the common landlord failing in the duty of care to provide accommodation which is free from known health risks.

Another critical case is Lucy (name withheld) located in Canberra. She is in very poor health and has very sensitive allergies to cigarette smoke. Her doctors have certified that she must not be exposed to passive smoking at any time for any reason. Again, we have written to the authorities advising that we intend to support legal action against them if they do not resolve the problem. Lucy's MP is Mr Bill Stefaniak, and like John Watkins he is sympathetic to the problem and has undertaken to make representations about it. Unfortunately in both cases the politicians' preferred solution seems to be to move the non- smokers away from the smokers. We strongly object to this and insist that it is time for a policy of segregating the polluters away by themselves and leaving the "normal" non-smokers in their established homes. We are really fed up with the tendency of politicians to treat smokers as sacred cows who must not be challenged or inconvenienced in any way. If anyone is going to be inconvenienced by having to move or take downgraded housing it should be the smokers not the non-smokers.

Both Tina and Lucy are very grateful to NSMA for giving real recognition and support for their arguments. We in turn are grateful to them for sticking to their guns and demanding the simple right to breathe clean air in the own homes. Their courage provides us with a platform to launch calls for reform in public housing and then by implication and new legislation extend it to all housing. We can hardly call ourselves a civilised society if we give preference to drug addicted polluters of the environment and expect other citizens to just put up with it in their own homes. Action Point 1. Write to The Hon. John Watkins, Minister For Education, Parliament House, Macquarie Street Sydney 2000. Tell him that you support the principle of segregating smokers away from smokers in public housing. Insist that each complex should be designated either smoking or non smoking. Also write to you own local MP along the same lines and ask for a reply on policy before you vote in the March 2003 election.

The photos show members of NSMA handing out leaflets at Central railway station calling for total bans on smoking on all railway property. We urged people to speak up about the current anarchy amongst railway staff where enforcement of existing bans depends on the personal attitude of individual station managers. Some do a good job on request but most refuse to enter the smoking regulations debate and let smokers do what they like with impunity. The leaflets also gave details of Department of Health phone numbers (02 9391 9111) to report restaurants or hotel dining rooms that do not totally ban smoking.

NSMA Volunteers
NSMA Volunteers Sell Anti Smoking Umbrellas at Central Railway on World Non Tobacco Day

We also urged the public to support our fundraising efforts by purchasing our umbrellas, which carry the NO SMOKING logo spread over the whole surface of the umbrella. However our efforts were soon curtailed by officious railway security that said they were responding to complaints (from smokers) that we were obstructing pedestrian traffic. We were forced to move to new locations several times but we are used to being on the wrong end of railway security and our cheerful volunteers accept it as par for the course.

Our last Update 39 reported that we had lodged a complaint with the Australian Broadcasting Authority (ABA) about the image shown above. We said that it was an advertisement for tobacco and therefore was a breach of the Tobacco Advertising Prohibition Act 1992 (TAP). We complained that both Channel Seven and Channel Nine had breached the Act by repeated broadcasts of this footage in its news segments morning noon and night on 1 April 2002.

Marlboro Car Accident
This tobacco advertisement is "Incidental" to the scene on your TV screen according to the Australian Broadcasting Authority

On 14 June we received a nine-page report of all the convoluted reasons why it was not an advertisement for Marlboro cigarettes that actually breached the Act. This is what their report told us:

The ABA considered three questions:

Q1. Whether it was a "tobacco advertisement" as defined by section 9 of the Act.

The answer, we were pleased to note, was that yes, it was an advertisement for Marlboro cigarettes. Indeed they said quote, "In ABA's view the broadcaster need not have any intention to publicise or otherwise promote smoking for a finding to be made that a tobacco advertisement has been broadcast. Subsection 9(1) of the Tobacco Advertising Prohibition Act 1992 (TAP), should be construed to mean that relevant material that promotes smoking by giving publicity to smoking would satisfy the definition of "tobacco advertisement" even if the material does not intentionally promote smoking. So far so good!

Q2. Was the broadcast permitted under the exception provided by section 14 of the TAP Act? In other words was it either an ACCIDENTAL OR INCIDENTAL accompaniment to the broadcasting of other matter?

This is where the convolutions start revving over faster that Schumacher's engine! Firstly it was no accident. ABA admit that both broadcasters say the particular shot was deliberately selected and placed within the news segments concerned because of its subject matter. ATN 7 said quote, "this footage was chosen solely because it shows the actual moment of collision and resulting debris from Montoya's car". Similarly, TCN 9 says, "The footage chosen by nine was the footage that most clearly captured that sequence of events".

However, concludes ABA it was "incidental" to the main broadcast, which was the accidental clipping of the following racing car. ABA goes on to quote the definition of "incidental" meaning "happening in fortuitous or subordinate conjunction with something else". They went on to give several more pages to justify their conclusion quote, "The ABA is of the opinion that a tobacco advertisement broadcast in this particular context remains entirely subordinate to the main matter being broadcast".

Q3. Was any direct or indirect benefit received for the broadcast of the tobacco advertisement?

Both ATN 7 and TCN 9 stated that no direct or indirect benefit was received for broadcasting the particular shot including the tobacco advertisement.

The ABA accepts those assurances without question. That completes the sanitising of tobacco advertising on our TV sets. If it's incidental to something and you don't get paid for it then it is quite OK.! What a joke!

So there you have a loophole big enough to drive twenty racing cars through. The ABA totally ignored the foundation logic of our complaint, which was that the camera was mounted facing the Marlboro advertisement. Hence it was deliberately placed to ensure that any footage from that camera must include the advertisement. Indeed every inch of footage produced was designed to be in fortuitous or subordinate conjunction with its main purpose, which was to provide a tobacco advertisement to anyone dumb enough to accept it and rebroadcast it.

It was a loaded advertisement just waiting for some newsworthy event to trigger its transmission around the world to every nation including those that have theoretically banned tobacco advertisements. The tobacco companies are still smarter than our bureaucrats and politicians who draft such inadequate legislation.

Another example of this loophole was reported in Update 39 about the complaint against Channel Nine's 60 Minutes showing Russell Crowe waving his cigarette packet in front of the camera in a deliberate "product placement" exercise. The ABA again agreed it was an advertisement and it was not accidentally broadcast. However they accepted TCN Nine's explanation that Russell's words at that particular time were so critical to the interview that they had to be broadcast and they could not be edited out of this pre-recorded item. This means that the advertisement then became "incidental" to this world shattering interview so it could then be broadcast under that exception clause.

What a joke the BAT legislation and the ABA's non enforcement is becoming!

Action Point. Write to Senator Alston, Minister for Communications, Parliament House Canberra, ACT 2600. Send him a copy of this article and ask him if he is happy with these Clayton's bans on tobacco advertising on TV. Ask for a reply indicating that he will amend the legislation to remove this loophole.

We have now submitted several more complaints including one about the TV advertisement for VB beer played regularly through the State of Origin Rugby League broadcasts by Channel Nine in Sydney. These ads start off with a very loud and stirring rendition of the musical theme previously associated absolutely with the once legal ads for Marlboro cigarettes. Those ads usually conveyed the he-man image of cowboys lighting up a cigarette. Now these new ads are accompanied by an image of someone striking a match with a flare up that covers the whole screen. Even to a non- smoker like me this seems to be a powerful cue for a smoker to light up a cigarette during the ad break. And, while you are at it, you might as well have a VB to quench your hard earned thirst. I'm sure there is some collusion here between the tobacco companies and the breweries to join forces in a move that promotes both their products while circumventing the tobacco ad bans on TV. The problem is that it is too sophisticated in its message to be proved a breach by the ABA. Maybe we are getting paranoid about this but we will keep the ABA on its toes to find more and more reasons to see no deliberate cigarette ads on our TV screens. Maybe their responses will eventually provide us with enough ammunition to convince our politicians to amend the legislation to finally get rid of all such loopholes.

Two managers of the Paribas Bank in Milan, Italy have been convicted of criminal manslaughter in the death of a female bank employee who suffered a fatal asthma attack from workplace exposure to second-hand smoke. They were sentenced to jail and fined 50,000 Euros, reported the Italian news agency, La Stampa. This criminal court decision opens the door for a civil wrongful death lawsuit by the employee's family to recover damages for causing her death by smoke. Monica C. was 35 years old, married, and had a 10-year-old child. She suffered from "poli allergic asthma", which was known to her employer.

Her first job at the bank was in an office where everything was fine. Then, she was transferred to another area where the problems started. Her husband told journalists She would tell me that the office was full of cigarette smoke. She was getting worse every day that passed. Various times, in the months before she died, I had to take her to the emergency room and often, during the night, she had to wake up and inhale her asthma spray. In September of 1999, she suffered a violent asthma attack, was taken to hospital but medications failed to save her.

This is a very important case in the progress of world litigation against tobacco. All members should put a copy of this article on their noticeboards at work and also send a copy to their personnel mangers. Any employer who has been casual about the occupational health laws should be stung into action by this dramatic case.

The publicity surrounding Rolah McCabe's big damages win have resulted in smokers making contact with us for advice on their chances of suing the tobacco companies. We are only too willing to help and make sure they are referred on to lawyers with experience in this area. We hope that it results in many more successful cases.

Volunteer Murray
Volunteer Murray hands out leaflets helping people to take anti smoking action

In the first such case in New Zealand, Janice Pou, 51, has filed a suit of more than $300,000 against British American Tobacco (BAT) and WD & HO Wills in the High Court at Auckland. BAT New Zealand responded that it was a responsible company and that it did not break the law. Their spokesperson said; "The tobacco industry manufactures tobacco products for informed adults who choose to smoke. Decades of study, public discussion and education show that both the public and governments have long been aware of the health risks associated with smoking. Governments around the world allowed tobacco products to be sold despite the health risks.

They have chosen to regulate them extensively and to benefit substantially from their sale through the high tax burden which is placed on them". He said he would not comment more extensively as the matter was going to court. Ms Pous lawyer John French said yesterday that his client had smoked 30 cigarettes a day, on average, since 1968. She became hooked on Capstan cigarettes, and then later switched to Pall Mall king size, then Winfield. The claim accused the tobacco companies of negligence, he said. "It is based on the allegation that the defendants conduct in manufacturing, supplying and advertising cigarettes led to her becoming addicted and that she contracted lung cancer as a result." Ms Pou had tried on several occasions to stop smoking but her addiction was too great. It was hoped the case would be heard within a year, said. David Collins, QC who is acting as Ms Pous barrister.

One of our members has twice been forced to exit the YWCA Hotel in Wentworth Street Sydney as result of false fire alarms. It is bad enough having to climb down six flights of fire stairs in your pyjamas but then to be told it was a false alarm is a bit much. Our informant was furious because she says the real cause of the problem is that smokers are trying to defeat the smoke sensors so that they can smoke in their rooms. Their clumsy interference sets off the alarms and then everyone suffers.

We wrote to the NSW Fire Brigade Service to get them to put pressure on the YWCA management to supervise their smoker's problem more effectively. They replied that they have a policy that imposes a fine of $250 when two or more false alarms are activated in any 60-day period. However they would not comment on whether the YWCA should do more about enforcing a no smoking policy. They said policies of this nature are the decision of hotel management and as such can only be policed by the hotel's management and staff. We also complained directly to the YWCA but they ignored our letter and did not reply.

Our member Andrew Dickinson is keen to use the modern email tool to pile pressure on to the City Rail's complaint service and for other efficient ways of getting our message across re smoking problems on the railways network. If you have an email address please communicate to Andrew on He will then link you in with what he is doing. It won't take a lot of time on your part but it will multiply our campaign effectiveness, so please make an effort to help.

NSMA Volunteer
Smokers Complain so Police force us to move off Central Railway location

David Oldfield MLC put up a private member's Bill in NSW Parliament to make it illegal for under 18's to smoke and thus give authorities more power to act instead of finger-waving. As reported in the last Update we support him but much of the Health Lobby do not support him because they say "We do not want to criminalise kids". Anyway the proposed legislation will not be debated until late August 2002.

NSW state leader of the Democrats, Dr Arthur Chesterfield-Evans, is still developing his private members Bill to accelerate the inevitable action on this next major advance in reducing public smoking and improving the occupational health of workers in the hospitality industry. Of course the mainstream health lobby are cultivating union action as the key to an early breakthrough. NSMA have talked to various bar workers and handed out literature inviting them to bite the bullet and take action against their guilty employers. However we find the major problems are that so many of these young workers are smokers and, while they can't smoke on the job, they feel a bit strange about objecting to other people's smoke. The next barrier is the obvious fear of losing their jobs if they complain.

Anti Smoking Skateboard
Young customer shows anti smoking sticker on his skateboard

As from 31 May 2002 the new laws banning smoking in restaurants came into force in Queensland. This is a big step forward and the Queensland health lobby are to be congratulated on finally getting there. However there are already complaints in the media about the weakness of this legislation. Like some other states, it only applies to indoor situations. What we really need is a law that bans smoking anywhere that food is served. The warmer climate and a large tourist population means that outside tables frequently dominate the restaurant scene up there. Hence the long suffering non smokers get no relief and are prevented from using what are often the best and most desirable settings. We must all keep campaigning for total bans anywhere that food is served.

A team of scientists funded by the World Health Organisation released an important new research report in June 2002. It received wide publicity because it not only confirmed the old news about smoking causing the most common cancers in lungs, stomach, liver etc., but it extended the list to many other forms of cancer previously not strongly linked to smoking. The group of 29 experts from 12 countries reviewed more than 3000 research papers including every significant study on active and passive smoking. They found that passive smoke was not only carcinogenic but increased the risk of developing some forms of cancer by 20 to 30 per cent.

Dr. Andrew Penman from NSW Cancer Council was quick to use this report to recommend that the NSW State Government should increase its spending (from $1.6 million) to $14 million per year to make a real impact on tobacco control in this state. The State Health Minister, Craig Knowles replied that they were doubling the budget to $3.3 million and pointed to the recent new legislation banning smoking in restaurants and all enclosed public premises as evidence of the good job they are doing.

Fair enough Mr Knowles, we do believe you are lot more serious about the problem that that previous smoking Health Minister, Andrew Refshauge! However you still have a long way to go to make up for lost time. We find it rather galling to know that we have beat our heads against the brick wall of Refshauge type politics for the last twenty five years calling urgently for bans on smoking in restaurants. Now we see the Health Minister pointing to these long, long overdue bans as "evidence" of how serious they are about the smoking epidemic!

The real measure of how serious governments are, both state and federal, is to calculate what percentage of the $4.9 billion dollars received from tobacco excise each year is put back into tobacco control programs. The answer comes out at about 0.08 per cent! This is morally equivalent to finding that someone is putting $100 in your bank account every few minutes as a result of crime and criminal activities. You are so incensed about it that you rush out and spend 8 cents in a desperately serious attempt to stop it happening. It just proves that old political principle that you can fool most of the people most of the time if you just keep saying it loud and often.

BOOKINGS: Please fill in the enclosed slip and return. Early bookings appreciated to help with planning and numbers will be limited to capacity of room. Early bird bookings, received by 11 September, (a date to remember) will be given a free commemorative booklet (value $10) on the history of NSMA (one per two tickets)

As part of our preparation for our 25 Anniversary celebrations we would like to receive your stories about your experiences in the bad old days. What extreme lengths did you go to, to get a smoke-free table at a restaurant? How many smokers did you push off a ferry or throw out of your car? How did you handle smoking relatives in various situations? What methods were most successful in getting your friends or work colleagues to quit? We will give prizes for the best stories illustrating the tribulations we have gone through on the long road to controlling our smoke free environments. We will read out the best ones at the dinner or you may prefer to tell the story yourself.

Some new members are keen to do something about the smoke pollution in the various licensed venues that specialise in putting on good bands and quality music. This includes such places as the Empire Hotel at Annandale. Anyone interested in joining forces to do something about the problem please write in and let us know.

Stop the train I want to get off! That seems a reasonable request if you are being subjected to someone's cigarette smoke. However when it is the driver calling for help it a little unusual to say the least. This is what happened in Perth when the driver's co-driver refused to stop smoking. He handed over to the co-driver and then demanded that he stop the train so that he could get off. Needless to say the authorities came down on the side of the smoker and suspended the non-smoker from duty. The union has now taken up the case for the non-smoker and it will be interesting to see what finally happens.

The American Heart Association has recently updated its guidelines for preventing heart attacks and strokes, listing second-hand smoke as a risk factor for the first time and recommending that people get screened for risk factors beginning at age 20.

Underage teenagers have been recruited by the NSW Health Department to test more than 1000 shops in an unprecedented blitz on the sale of cigarettes to minors. The children, aged 13 to 16, are being sent into shops across NSW during a four-week campaign to try to buy cigarettes. The blitz is the first co-ordinated, statewide with 1060 retailers being randomly checked. One media sample showed only one shop out of 13 visited in a Sydney suburb, sold cigarettes to the teenagers, so the message is getting across. Meanwhile in Victoria, a Fawkner convenience store manager is the first person to be convicted of selling tobacco to an under 18 under their new state laws. The manager was fined $500 and ordered to pay $2500 in court costs.

July marks the twelve months anniversary of smoking bans in restaurants in Victoria. The media continues its coverage of the release of new research in Victoria showing an increase in support for smoke free dining. One former restaurateur said he felt the ban had hit fine dining, with patrons not lingering over dinner because they can't smoke. However the Victorian Health Minister John Thwaites pointed to the survey results and said the majority of patrons supported it. He predicted the response to smoke free bars would be similarly successful within a few years.

The Tasmanian branch of the Community and Public Sector Union is forging new ground on the smoking front. The union is negotiating a deal with an interstate company to provide cheaper quit smoking programs for its members. The union says it will support people to achieve their goal of quitting smoking.

Tennis fans would have been delighted to see any Aussie win the Wimbledon trophy again after a fifteen year drought. Many have reservations about the previous brashness of Lleyton Hewitt's behaviour on the court. They were therefore not amused to see this revived with his stupid off- court behaviour when he posed for photographs with a cigar in his mouth. Someone should tell him that smoking drugs is not part of the image of a true sportsman and he will never be a real hero unless he shows some responsibility to the generations of youth who will be influenced by his example either for good or bad.

Cigar fills Lleyton's gob
Lleyton Hewitt gives bad example to his young fans

Todd Harper from the QuitVic campaign went on the John Laws radio program and criticised Lleyton Hewitt for his bad example. He said, quite rightly, that there is a serious issue here if role models start normalising or glamorising smoking. John Laws did not agree and called Todd mean- spirited and a weasel. Well that's about what we expect from an old smoker like John after his many years of defending smokers' rights.

There is a company in the USA trying to market Nicowater. It is water with nicotine added, hence the name, Nicowater. It is designed for people who are addicted to nicotine but are not allowed to get their fix in bars and restaurants where smoking has been banned. There are only four milligrams of nicotine in each bottle and hence there is no nicotine taste. They are using the same nicotine that is used in patches and gums.

They described this water laced with nicotine as a "refreshing break to the smoking habit". However the US government's Food and Drug Administration has now ruled that it's also illegal so ending this company's bid to begin selling bottles from July 2002. The crackdown had been expected since the FDA ordered nicotine-laced lollipops and lip balm off the market last April, calling them unapproved drugs that had enough nicotine to endanger children lured by the candy resemblance.

Sandra Kanck from the South Australian Democrats has proposed a law to ban smokers from smoking while they drive. She says the police could enforce it in the same way they enforce the ban on mobile phone use while driving. She says the response from the public has been positive. We fully agree because there have been many serious accidents as a result of smokers dropping lighted cigarettes on to their clothes etc., while driving.

Simon Chapman, Professor of Health University of Sydney, has been in the media talking about an ongoing study at the University of Sydney that has uncovered information that cigarette companies knew more than they admitted. He is supervising a four-year research program related to the topic. The largest tobacco damages settlement was in 1998 when $248 billion dollars was awarded to the American State Governments. As part of the settlement the tobacco companies had to agree to make public the literature used in such cases, which is about 40 million pages of incriminating material. This included the shredded material referred to in the Australian case of Rolah McCabe in which the judge ruled out their attempted defence and instructed the jury to award her damages. Rolah's case is still under appeal and should be heard in August 2002. Simon Chapman believes there are three main issues, that smokers are not to blame, many people start smoking very young, for years the industry denied smoking was bad, and it is the way cigarettes were modified to make them more addictive.

We have always argued that the tobacco industry should be made to provide disposal compartments as part of the cigarette packaging. After all, a burning device requires a lot more consideration than say a paper wrapper on a sweet. The latter could be just held in your pocket until a suitable garbage bin is located. You could not reasonably do this with a cigarette butt hence the common solution of just dropping it on the ground where it finishes up in the waterways and finally the harbour.

Sydney Harbour Poster
Posters show cigarette butts do end up in our waterways and harbours

Anyone with concern for the environment should support this move to provide a simple heat insulated compartment on the back end of the packet where the smoker can easily dispose of each butt until a litter bin is located. We have written to Ian Kiernan at Keep Australia Beautiful Campaign headquarters to convince him that his organisation should give its support to this initiative.

Starting July 1, 2002 the Vatican has announced smoking will be banned on premises open to the public, in offices and in vehicles used by the public. Those caught smoking will be fined nearly $30. The law, which was approved by Pope John Paul II, did not specify the places where smoking was banned but presumably they include the Vatican museum, post offices, pharmacy and other locations accessible to the public in the otherwise closed city-state. While even Italy, which has been lax on enforcement of smoking bans, has begun to crack down, the Vatican has been letting smokers puff away. Until this year, smoking was permitted aboard the pope's plane when he travelled abroad. It is now banned.

South Australian Democrat, Senator Lyn Allison, has criticised the ACCC for not doing more about the devious and corrupt practices of the Australian tobacco industry. She proposed a motion that has been passed in the Senate. The motion orders the ACCC to look into these allegations. They will look at the use of the term mild and light on cigarette packages. Anti- smoking groups have welcomed the move, which is long overdue. The new reference requires the ACCC to investigate whether tobacco companies have engaged in misleading or deceptive conduct in their use of the terms 'mild' and 'light' and to investigate document destruction for the purposes of withholding information relevant to possible litigation.

A former smoker has begun an important legal action against the tobacco industry in the NSW Supreme Court. Miriam Corvan is seeking the refund of excise that was invalidly paid by smokers between July and August 1997. Last year the High Court ruled the money should be repaid to retailers but Ms Corvan's action will attempt to establish that the consumers who paid the taxes should benefit from the money, which is still retained by the retailers and manufacturers. Her case continues but meanwhile Premier Bob Carr has commented on this and stated that instead of the $250 million in cigarette taxes being refunded to cigarette retailers, the federal government should recoup the money and give it to anti-smoking groups. We hope all the State Health ministers will follow up on this. For more detail on this see the review written by Simon Chapman for the Sydney Morning Herald. See

This is always a very sad almost no win situation. However it is time some real corrective action was taken against the long established practice of supplying nicotine as cigarettes to such patients as a form of therapy. The Schizophrenia Association of Australia (SANE) say that Australians with mental illness are dying at a rate two and half times higher than average because of smoking related diseases. They have developed some resource materials to help carers and mental health workers to deal with this problem. Ring them on 03 9682 5933 for more information.

Full marks to the ABC TV for doing a great expose on the complicity of this legal firm in helping the tobacco industry by illegal means. We are pleased to see they have been dropped from the list of approved firms for government contracts.

The Australian Democrats are calling for plain brown wrappers on cigarette packets as part of a scheme to ban all cigarette promotion. At the drugs summit in Adelaide, Democrat Leader Mike Elliott said he will move for a private members Bill to make it illegal to promote smoking in any way. It is great to see at least one political party with a really serious policy against tobacco promotion.

Andrew Dickinson will soon be posting this 20 page report about City Rail's failure to enforce no smoking laws on our website so watch out for it.

Anne Jones, Director, Action on Smoking and Health, has been doing media interviews highlighting the importance of the federal government's review on tobacco advertising laws. She points to many forms of indirect advertising of tobacco and says smoking in films and TV shows, sports sponsorship and the internet are all forms of advertising that need to be looked at.

There's evidence an introduction of a ban on smoking on commercial premises does much more than protect people's health. Apparently it's good for business, too, as the Maroochydore Swan Bowls Club has doubled its membership after banning smoking.

Medical researchers are working on developing a nicotine vaccine. The vaccine could be administered to teenagers, which would prevent them from taking up smoking throughout their lives. There is also research into vaccination against other addictive drugs. It should not be necessary but maybe it is the final answer to protect our youth.

The Non-Smokers' Update is the quarterly newsletter published for members of the Non-Smokers' Movement of Australia Inc.. Contributions or comments should be forwarded to the editor, Brian McBride, at the address shown on the front cover.


    The Non-Smokers' Movement of Australia Inc, Box K860, Haymarket NSW 1240.
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This page was last updated on 19th October, 2002.
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