. 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 41, November 2002 - January 2003


A very successful dinner was held at the Furama Central Hotel on 6 November 2002 to mark the great achievement of 25 years continuous campaigning against the ravages of the tobacco industry in Australia. Founding President, Brian McBride, gave a brief talk on the origins of the Movement, which started with his one-man war against smoking on the bus service between his home in Sydney and the local railway station in 1977.

The guest speaker was Dr Arthur Chesterfield-Evans MLC, and former President of NSMA from 1988 to 1998, when he entered Parliament as State Leader of the Australian Democrats. He spoke passionately about his frustrations with the establishment not doing enough about the tobacco problem during the days when he was a surgeon seeing the tobacco carnage on a daily basis. He saw the need for a more aggressive approach to cut through the conservatism of the medical and political establishments.

Legal Actions Best
Dr Chesterfield-Evans endorsed the founding NSMA principles that non-smokers had rights and we must use the law to enforce those rights. Where the law is found wanting, we must work for new laws. He described how we played a pivotal role in giving both moral and financial support to important cases where individuals

Arthur Chesterfield Evans
Dr Arthur Chesterfield-Evans addresses 25th Anniversary Dinner

took on their employers to demand their legal right to unpolluted workplaces. It was the crucial backing of NSMA that encouraged Roy Bishop to fight his public service department in Canberra through not one but two major cases in the Administrative Appeals Tribunal. Firstly he won compensation for health damage resulting from tobacco pollution of his workspace. When he returned to work they isolated him in a basement away from other employees rather than ban the smoking in the general office. He then took them on again and won a case for discrimination so the end result was that he provided the big ammunition to allow the then well-disposed head of the Public Service Board, Dr Peter Willenski, to ban smoking entirely throughout the entire Commonwealth service.

Scholem Case in State Public Service
Having won the major victory in the Commonwealth Public Service it was only a matter of time before it would spread to the state arena. However this process was greatly expedited by the courageous battle of Liesel Scholem against her employer, the NSW Department of Health. Arthur described how he personally rang a lot of people both inside NSMA and outside in the medical and pro-health lobby to underwrite contributions to make up an urgently needed $60,000 to allow the case to continue to finality. The money was all subscribed from NSMA members with not one dollar coming from the other sources. This speaks volumes for the importance of having community-based action and not relying entirely on the health lobby. Liesel won a magnificent precedent-setting victory that led directly to the bans on smoking in all government employment and of course began the flow-on to the private sector that most workers now enjoy. There is still an urgent need to free the hospitality industry workers from their smoky workplaces and we are doing our bit to support the good work being done by Action on Smoking and Health (ASH) and others in the health lobby team.

Winfield Cup
Our next major initiative was against the disgraceful cigarette advertising through sponsorship of sport such as the Winfield Rugby League telecasts throughout NSW and some national networks. NSMA initiated the private prosecution of Sydney TV station Channel Ten alleging breach of the Broadcasting and Television Act by displaying Winfield signs and entertainment promotions in conjunction with these twice weekly broadcasts of the football matches. We succeeded in having them committed for trial but because of the important public interest in the outcome of such a case it was then taken over by the Director of Public Prosecutions. Channel Ten were eventually convicted of the breach and fined a paltry $2000. However the victory set a precedent in law after it successfully withstood an appeal to the High Court. This result effectively closed the biggest perceived loophole for snide tobacco advertising on TV although some others, particularly car racing, still exist today.

Thanks to Team
Arthur spoke highly of Brian's commitment to getting the Movement started in the first place and his dedication to keep it going for twenty five years. He noted the contribution of his wife Angela who has put up with the intrusions into family life and the many disruptions to the McBride household along the way. He also commended the great help and support of the various committee and campaign workers who had helped it survive for this period in spite of no government funding of any kind. He was pleased to note the attendance of Professor John Palmer one of the very early committee members. This has indeed been a great achievement and he congratulated the Movement on its successes and hoped that it would continue to carry the fight to the tobacco industry until the job was finally done in conjunction with the good work being done by the other health agencies.

NSMA Dinner
Members Enjoy the 25th Anniversary Dinner at Furama Hotel 6 November 2002

Origins of Movement
Brian McBride said it was appropriate on this anniversary to explain how the Movement developed out of his one-man fight against smoking on bus services in 1977. The law in those days was that smoking was banned in privately operated public buses except in that section of the bus displaying a "smoking" sign. Since there were no signs displayed he attempted to enforce the ban by stopping the bus and refusing to allow the driver to continue until he enforced the law. The problem was that most of the drivers smoked and they insisted on their right to smoke even when the passengers desisted under supervision of Department of Transport inspectors who reluctantly attended in response to Brian's sustained complaints. The war continued for many months mainly because a couple of the younger drivers continued their smoking when they were confident that no inspectors were on the bus.

Neither side backed off and eventually stories on the dispute appeared in the local papers and the Sydney Sun newspaper. Then the Sydney TV Channel Nine picked up the story and asked to travel on the bus to film Brian's attempts to force the drivers to observe the smoking bans. After the program went to air a lot of people made contact and urged that more should be done about the problem of people flouting existing smoking laws. Two of these were Gayle Russel and Bill Snow who then worked with Brian to call a public meeting at Parramatta in October 1977 where the Non Smokers' Rights Movement was formed.

Meanwhile one particular nice looking young (Maltese) driver named Carlos was very friendly with the equally nice looking office girls who made up half of the bus passengers every morning. He was determined to impress them with his displays of bravado designed to send-up Brian as an old wowser and killjoy who could not be allowed to succeed with his push for smoking bans. Carlos used to get on the bus as a passenger and sit near Brian for the purpose of blowing smoke over him and making jokes with the girls as Brian tried to protest about it. Matters finally came to a head when Brian charged him with assaulting him with cigarette smoke and took him to court. Brian won his case in Parramatta Court in April 1978. This verdict was featured on the front page of the Daily Telegraph as something sensational. This additional wide publicity attracted many new members to join the Non Smokers' Rights Movement, which was now up and running.

Brian McBride
Brian McBride talks about how the NSMA started in 1977

The first Committee comprised Brian McBride as President and Gayle Russel as a hardworking secretary, plus six other committee members. Plans were formulated to conduct campaigns against smoking in all public areas starting with all forms of transport, trains, buses, coaches, taxis, planes etc. With limited resources the strategy was to concentrate on the winnable areas first. Then we started on buildings such as lifts and work areas as well as the big one, smoking in restaurants. The twenty-five years of newsletter publications that started as "The Clean Air Clarion" contain a very good history of our community based fight against the tobacco industry in Australia.

Owen Graham
Vice President Owen Graham welcomes members to the Dinner

Contributions from Members
Several long-term members, John Collins of Woy Woy, NSW, and Steve Patroni of Adelaide, South Australia, sent in some great anecdotal stories of the early days re fighting various tobacco-advertising promotions and enforcing bans in buses and coaches etc. There is not space to detail them here but we thank them for their contributions, some of which we may be able to include in our commemorative booklet when it is produced. Those who attended the dinner or sent in donations will be mailed a copy as soon as it is ready.

A strong letter was sent to The Hon. John Della Bosca, NSW Minister for Industrial Relations, just prior to the scheduled meeting with all state health ministers on 8 November 2002. They were to discuss the issue of bar workers still not having a safe workplace because of ongoing exposure to passive smoking in spite of the great warning victory of Marlene Sharp showing that they would be held accountable for the damage done to workers.

We threatened to set up picket lines outside clubs and hotels to draw public attention to the problem during the coming NSW state election in March 2003. We will also hand out leaflets encouraging hospitality staff to put pressure on by initiating more legal actions against their employers.

Of course the big hold up is the Australian Hotels Association acting as a front for the likes of Nick Greiner and British American Tobacco. Their influence behind the scenes lobbying the politicians is disgusting and disgraceful. How someone like Della Bosca, ex head of the NSW Labor Council and previous leader of the union movement could stand by and see the workers sold out to big business interests is beyond belief.

The other bad news is the Labor Party win in the recent Victorian State Election. Premier Steve Bracks has made it clear that following the beating-up he took from big business after he supported smoke-free areas in gaming casinos that he is going to back right away from doing anything about smoking bans in hotels and clubs. The health Ministers meeting mouthed all the usual platitudes but the end result was no real progress. This is big business and politics at its worst in Australia.

We were delighted to see the brave move by Mr Angus Gordon, General manager of Pittwater Council, banning smoking totally in council working time and on council premises. Our Secretary, Denise Mountford, who lives in the area, took the initiative by writing to congratulate the Council on accepting its duty of care towards all its workers including the long neglected passive smokers who just had to put up with their smoking colleagues.

The council copied our letter of support to the Federated Municipal & Shire Council Employees" Union (FMSC) who were agitating against this new policy. Well, that started world war three and NSMA suddenly received an angry letter from Brian Harris, General Secretary of the FMSC union which read, in part as follows, quote: "Your letter appears to wander from the alleged views of your organisation to your own interests as a Pittwater ratepayer. It should be noted that Council is bandying your correspondence around in defence of its actions. The sentiments contained in your letter are out of step with the current public understanding and tolerance of smoking i.e., the right to indulge in their addiction, as it demands, just as people afflicted with religion have the right to break away from work to pray up to five times a day in a current case being pursued by the ASU. Everyone has rights and the Union would hope that your organisation or you personally would support Council offering an exit package to those poor souls addicted to the drug nicotine and convey this sentiment to the Council by way of correspondence." Unquote.

We advised both Pittwater Council and the Union in no uncertain terms that we did not support exit packages for those "poor souls addicted to nicotine". We said in reply, quote: "On the contrary, we believe that Council's offer to assist smokers to quit the habit is fair and reasonable and all that could be expected from ratepayers funds. This treats them like many other employees of corporations who have no legal obligation to pay for quit programs but do so as a gesture towards helping them beat their addiction and hence contribute to self-help occupational health measures. Both unions and employees should join forces with us in pursuing a total ban on public smoking to create a climate where the next generation of Australians will not be seduced into a lifetime of addiction resulting in the unnecessary problems now faced by both the Council and the Union. We wish both sides success in negotiations to secure a satisfactory solution to the present dispute." Unquote.

Action Point. Write to Mr Angus Gordon, General Manager, Pittwater Council, PO Box 882 Mona Vale NSW 1660, and show strong support for their total smoke-free policy. Also write to Mr Brian Harris, General Secretary, FMSC Union, 321 Pitt Street Sydney 2000, and state your objections to unions supporting smoking in the workplace.

The Cancer Council of NSW sponsored a very challenging visit by two senior officials from the Californian Department of Health during what the Council called a "Week of Action".. They were also wearing dual hats as representatives of the American Cancer Society. They gave a series of talks including one in the NSW Parliament House Theatrette on Thursday 21 November 2002 attended by several members of NSMA.

Dr Don Lyman, Chief of Californian Department of Health Services, showed the dramatic drop in lung cancer rates in California compared to other states because they were running really aggressive and hard hitting campaigns against public smoking. He said while there was a general 4% drop in lung cancer in other states across USA it was a 14.4% drop in California. This proves that you can get the results when you spend real money such as their $800 million on aggressive campaigns. To counter these inroads the tobacco industry stepped up its advertising and promotional expenditure to ten times this amount. However the people were not fooled and the health lobby is winning as these figures show. He showed a video of the latest anti tobacco TV ads such as the tobacco executives all swearing before the congressional inquiry "that they believe nicotine and cigarette smoking are not addictive". This is followed by a lady smoking through a hole in her neck and saying in a hoarse whisper, "how can they say that?" It was powerful stuff.

The great progress in California arose directly from what was called "Proposition 99" passed in 1988. This was a ballot initiative voted in by the majority of Californian voters requiring an additional 25 cents on each pack of cigarettes sold in that state to be collected and spent on anti tobacco campaigns. From the funds generated by this tax, 20% is earmarked for education in schools and the community. In recent years most of this has been channelled into a media campaign called the Tobacco Education Media Campaign (TEMC). This campaign has the main goal of reducing tobacco use by promoting the social norm of not accepting tobacco. This process of de-normalisation of the smoking habit has been extremely successful as measured by the number of households with children under 18 that do not allow smoking in the home. In California it is 49% compared to only 12.5% for the other states.

Dileep Bal, Brian McBride and Don Lyman
Dr. Dileep Bal, Brian McBride & Dr Don Lyman at the seminar at NSW Parliament House 21 November 2002

Dr Dileep Bal, Chief Cancer Control Branch Californian Department of Health, advised Australian politicians to stop fiddling around with the proposed bans in bars and, as the Nike ad says, "Just do it". He assures us that it was done in California with very little backlash and is now a non-issue. Everyone accepts it and it is regarded as very successful. Enforcement becomes self-regulating as smoking becomes more and more de-normalised. Over 80% of bar owners say they have no trouble with enforcement of the bans because smoking is seen as not the norm and the majority of non-smokers provide their own enforcement. Smokers have now become conditioned when they enter any premises to look around for signs of others smoking. If there are none they usually will not dare to light up because of the expected backlash from non-smokers. He estimates that California has spent $880 million to save $8.4 billion in health costs over the last eight years so the government is well satisfied that it is a cost effective program.

Australia Can Do It
The NSW Cancer Council agrees that these strategies are effective and is trying to get comparable funding for Australian programs. They say it is possible to reduce the prevalence of smoking to 10% of the population over a period of ten years, and increase the proportion of young people who never smoke by 50% using currently available and proven measures. An evaluation of the costs and benefits of a population-based anti-smoking campaign in Victoria estimated that the benefits achieved through the program represented 16 times the cost of the program. We hope they are successful in getting increased state government funding and lets hope the politicians who attended these talks at Parliament House heed the message that has been delivered loud and clear by the visiting Americans. We will canvass opinions from the candidates at the coming March 2003 election to see if they can be persuaded to follow the Californian example.

Speaking of Politicians
Now for the bad news! Can you believe that the Labor premiers of both NSW and Queensland organised a recent fundraising function in Sydney which was co-sponsored by Australia's biggest drug pusher, British American Tobacco (BAT) headed up by that greatest Australian health hypocrite, Nick Greiner. It was bad enough that John Howard allowed the tobacco industry to pay for the Federal Liberal Party's Annual Conference but it is recognised that they are the "big business" party. To see the worker's party led by Labor Premier of NSW, Bob Carr and Labor Premier of Queensland, Peter Beattie, sitting together under a British American Tobacco banner while talking about what their party will do for the workers of Australia totally destroys their credibility on public health policy. Yes, they did this, of all places, at Star City Casino on 14 November 2002 in what was described as a State of Origin debate to feed off the football craze just like the tobacco companies fed off football advertising for so many years.

Fortunately the Australian Democrats did not let it go unchallenged. State leader, Dr Arthur Chesterfield-Evans, put out a hard-hitting press release, quote: "The Carr Government has an undischarged obligation to introduce smoke free workplaces and prohibit smoking in poker machine venues. Star City Casino will be affected by those two decisions, and British American Tobacco has been lobbying the government to keep it a smoking venue. Bob Carr is looking after Casino and BAT profits before the health and finances of addicted gamblers and employees in pubs and clubs.

The Tobacco Advertising Prohibition Act bans tobacco sponsorship of sporting, artistic, and cultural events. It is time that was extended to include political events. Tobacco companies should not be allowed to donate to political parties. In the last State election the ALP received $53,000 from Philip Morris and $20,000 from Rothmans (BAT). The Liberals received $20,000 from Rothmans and $5,000 from Philip Morris. The Australian Democrats refuse donations from big tobacco."

Arthur Chesterfield Evans
Assistant Secretary Margaret Hogge moves vote of thanks at Dinner

Philip Morris Fined
In an earlier Update we commended the NSW Department of Health (South East Area) for having the commitment to prosecute this tobacco company over their aggressive and snide advertising of Alpine cigarettes by way of the "Wavesnet" promotion. You may recall this was using fashion displays for young women as a vehicle to advertise their product by decorating every inch of the venue with Alpine cigarette displays together with cheap sales and some giveaways. We were delighted to see them fined $9,000 with cost amounting to $85,000 in a Sydney Court early in November 2002. The fine was paltry as Anne Jones of ASH told the media; they only have to get three or four girls addicted to cover this cost in future revenue returns.

Health authorities have observed that aggressive marketing by all three tobacco companies is on the rise in NSW at fashion events, rock concerts and in clubs. Let's hope this verdict might slow then down a bit. However you can be sure they will develop some other means to continue their deadly work. NSW Health Minister, Craig Knowles said penalties for tobacco companies that flaunt the law are to be reviewed as a result of this case.

Smokefree Fashion Maybe?
The Federal Government has applauded the Australian fashion industry for its plans to tackle the portrayal of smoking in fashion imagery and media. Ms Trish Worth, Parliamentary Secretary to the Federal Minister for Health and Ageing, whose responsibilities include the National Tobacco Campaign, joined Mr Simon Lock, CEO of Mercedes Australian Fashion Week and fashion model, Mink, to launch plans for a Smoke Free Fashion Initiative. "The fashion industry plays a key role in influencing the social norms and behaviour of young people, in particular young women," Ms Worth said.

Landslide Victory for Smokefree Restaurants in Florida
For 20 years, smoke-free advocates tried to get Florida's legislature to pass smoke-free restaurant legislation. Despite surveys showing overwhelming public support, the legislature refused. The tobacco cartel influence on legislators was just too great. Frustrated by legislative inactivity, smoke-free advocates collected 650,000 signatures and placed a smoke-free restaurant initiative on the Florida ballot (similar to California's proposition 99 approach). Due to Florida law, the initiative had to be in the dramatic form of a constitutional amendment. Many people, including many newspapers, supported the idea of smoke-free restaurants, but opposed the initiative claiming that it was inappropriate to change the constitution of Florida. However the move was successful and smoke-free restaurants are now law.

Cancer Council Wants $13.5 Million
A decade-long publicity campaign is proposed by the Cancer Council of NSW, which could help cut the proportion of smokers in the population from one fifth to just one in 10. At a cost of $13.5 million a year, compared to the present $3 million, the anti-smoking drive is one of five projects the council says the State Government must launch to control cancer. Its report, "Investing in life , An Agenda for Cancer Control", also calls for annual bowel cancer screening for all people aged over 50, the recruitment of 200 more radiotherapists, a boost in funding for cancer research and a cancer centre for patients from remote areas.

The NSW Health Minister, Craig Knowles, declined to say if the Government would adopt the proposals, but said: "There are some very engaging points for us to consider." The publicity campaign would aim to reduce the proportion of smokers by 1 per cent a year for 10 years, until only about 10 per cent of the population smoked. "It would transform the picture of smoking in this state," said Dr Penman, CEO of the Cancer Council.

We are appalled that one lady who appealed to the Human Rights & Equal Opportunity Commission in the ACT received a flat refusal to consider her rights to have public housing accommodation free of cigarette smoke pollution.

Well it is no wonder when you realise that the head of the ACT HREOC is Rosemary Follett who is a chain smoker and so addicted that she had a balcony added to her office so that she could still smoke in her public service office. It is time we drew more attention to the real "conflict-of-interest" which occurs when high-ranking smokers have to make decisions about the issue of smoking as it affects other people. Surely they should disqualify themselves from participating particularly when all their decisions seem to favour the smokers. We must do more about this.

We have received another strong complaint from a housing commission tenant in Sydney and we are keeping alive the idea of a class action on behalf of all such tenants against their common landlord, the Minister for Housing. Please send in any information you may have about people experiencing problems with smoking neighbours.

Smokefree in 03
The new "Smoke Free in 03" campaign has now been launched. This is a national campaign between trade union and health groups to get all workplaces fully smoke free by the end of 2003. The issue of smoking in licensed premises is being addressed in a comprehensive, positive and collective effort according to Clubs NSW. The working party on smoking will incorporate several stakeholders; they have produced a draft proposal that is currently being considered. The chairman of Clubs NSW, Pat Rogan would not speculate on the outcome, Mr Rogan said 20% of the population is still smoking; changes must be introduced in stages.

Federal, state and territory ministers met on 8 November 2002 to consider the proposed changes to workplace conditions and prohibit smoking in all clubs, pubs and taverns. Federal Workplace Relations Minister, Tony Abbott, says it is the aim of the govt to ban smoking in all work areas. Up to 30,000 hospitality workers could benefit from this new campaign to ban smoking in pubs, clubs and casinos by 2003.

Business groups are urging state exclusions and exemptions on smoking, rather than a complete ban in the workplace. Unions and occupational health and safety groups will be calling for a complete ban because it would also bring hospitality industry workplaces into line with decade-old legislation requiring employers to provide a safe environment for employees. Peter Hendy from the Australian Chamber of Commerce & Industry says the issue should be looked at "very rationally". A State Govt appointed task force is now looking at the issue so we will watch with great interest.

Casino Loses Revenue
Crown Casino claims it is the latest casualty of the smoking bans in Victorian gaming venues. They have revealed plans to trim costs and potentially its workforce to offset the impact of the restrictions. The cuts were revealed at the annual meeting of Crown's owner, the Packer family's Publishing and Broadcasting Limited, in Sydney. In spite of the problems in the key casino and television operations, PBL is forecasting another year of double-digit earnings growth. But that won't be enough to keep Kerry happy!

Will They Never Learn?
The latest survey of Hunter retailers has found a quarter of shops and supermarkets are selling cigarettes to children; each year the Tobacco Compliance Monitoring Program surveys 10% of retailer and this time it found sales to 15 and 16 year old volunteers happened at service stations, newsagents and take a way food shops.

SA Poster Campaign
The new poster campaign by South Australian Quit. SA newspapers run the ads free as a community service announcement.

Philip Morris To Go Smokefree!
Anti-smoking group QUIT has welcomed moves by tobacco giant Philip Morris to implement Smoke free areas in its work place. The Companies national headquarters in Melbourne has offered special ventilated areas for smokers since September 2002.

Philip Morris has also offered staff a one off payment of almost $8000 in place of their entitlement to four cartons of cigarettes per month.: Todd Harper, Executive Director, QUIT Victoria says that if Philip Morris have gone Smoke-free that it should be good enough for all employees including pubs and clubs. There is no specific workplace smoke-free legislation but it follows automatically from occupational health laws.

Please think about this to keep the good work going into the future.

Juvenile Anti Smoking Bill Passed
We congratulate David Oldfield MLC, on his private members Bill that has just been passed in the Upper House in NSW. David says he used to smoke when he was 14 but he has stopped now. As reported in earlier Updates we supported his new bill because it will allow more action against teenage smokers. He says when police come across young people smoking, say at popular spots like Darling Harbour or in Manly, they will now have the power to confiscate cigarettes and fraudulently used proof of age cards. Previously they were powerless to intervene.

We have all seen the disgraceful sights of school age kids smoking with impunity around railway stations and other areas. Cigarette companies market to this age group, because that is when lifelong smokers start, at around age 15. If you have not had a cigarette before you turn 18, you are unlikely to smoke. David has done a good job with this initiative and he continues to remind everyone that 140,000 Australians are hospitalised every year due to smoking-related illness.

James Bond now Smokes Cigars
The latest 007 movie "Die Another Day" premiered in London with critics saying that it was so loaded with product placements that a more suitable title would have been "Die Another Way". One example is that Bond, who has been a non-smoker in the past, is now seen lighting Cuban cigars and saying how good they are! Of course these changes have nothing to do with money from the tobacco industry. Just ask Sylvester Stallone!

Healthy buildings International (HBI)
Remember our demonstrations outside Standards Association of Australia (SAA) in July 1998. We were protesting at the NSW Government's buck passing of the hard decisions on banning indoor smoking over to the SAA to make a new Standard for indoor air quality. We also protested about apparent manipulation and interference by an American body calling itself Healthy Buildings International which proposed that complete bans were not necessary, just have high volume air conditioning plants.

We suspected that these people were just a front for the tobacco lobby, which is always active worldwide. Sure enough, it is now clear from documents downloaded from Philip Morris files that all our submissions to SAA were obtained by HBI and forwarded direct to Philip Morris in USA. Their manipulation delayed progress for a long time but thank goodness the Government finally decided to accept its proper responsibilities and went ahead with the Smoke-free Environment Act 2000 without waiting for SAA to give them an excuse to do it.

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.


    The Non-Smokers' Movement of Australia Inc, Box K860, Haymarket NSW 1240.  
This page was last updated on 4th January, 2003.
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