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 44, August - October 2003


One tenant of the Canberra ACT Housing Authority is so fed up with the government's refusal to acknowledge her rights to be allocated accommodation where she will not be subjected to enforced tobacco smoke pollution from her neighbours, that she has accused them of unlawful discrimination against her.

To protect her privacy we will refer to her as Ms A. She is one NSMA member who is determined to fight this issue to the bitter end although her struggle so far over several years has been a bit like hitting your head against a brick wall. Ms A. even went on Channel Nine's ACA with her dispute against her neighbour, although her case was not well presented. As often happens, the journalist decided it was more fun to send up the non-smoking party as crazy to think you can complain about what your neighbour does in their own home. What they ignore is that smoking is never confined to their own air space and always invades their neighbour's property. NSMA President, Brian McBride, has decided to give Ms A. full support for the remainder of her battle and he represented her in a call-over of her case in Canberra in July 2003. It is important that Non Smoker's Rights be upheld and NSMA will continue to campaign vigorously to get public housing segregated into smoking and non smoking blocks as a policy objective. (See Update 42)

Problem Getting Worse
The logic of tenants complaining about the smell and pollution of tobacco smoke drifting in from their neighbours smoking on adjacent balconies or patios is indisputable. The problem has become worse as more progress has been made on educating smokers to smoke outside so as not to inflict the dangers of passive smoking on their own children. Hence they move out on to the balcony and inflict it on their neighbour's family.

NSMA President, Brian McBride, discusses the case with Ms A. at Canberra's Anti Discrimination Tribunal Hearing

We were appalled at the injustice of one case where a young mother brought her first baby home from hospital only to realise that she could never leave the bedroom window open for fresh air because of the almost continuous pollution from chain smokers next door.

Doctor's Request Ignored
Ms A.'s case commenced in November 2000 when she presented doctor's reports stating that she was allergic to cigarette smoke and had strong reactions to it. The doctors specifically asked that this be considered when she was allocated accommodation. Of course the bureaucrats in the Housing Authority said, we don't have any policy about the hazards of cigarette smoke affecting our accommodation, either as it affects you or any other applicant. They then proceeded to allocate her a one bedroom Older Person's Unit (OPU) right next door to an existing smoker's unit. They told her "Take it or leave it and, if you leave it, you will go to the bottom of the list and wait four years for another offer which probably won't be any different to this one." Naturally Ms A. took the offer under protest and then immediately asked for a transfer based on further medical evidence of health damage now suffered as a result of her neighbour's night and day smoking. The request for a transfer was refused and she then made a complaint to the Administrative Appeals Tribunal (AAT) about such a defective decision making process which failed to consider all the relevant evidence presented.

Attempt to Head Off Investigation
Because the Housing Authority did not want to have their administrative processes reviewed in detail by the AAT they offered Ms A. a deal too good to resist. They said, "you drop your case and we will reinstate you for a priority transfer to another unit". As soon as Ms A. dropped her case they offered her another unit in a location where there were problems with lots of wood burning fires causing similar allergic reactions. When she declined these she was again told she would go to the bottom of the list.

Appeal to Anti Discrimination Tribunal
Ms A. considered that her severe allergies to smoke and certain other irritants did constitute "an impairment" under the 1991 Discrimination Legislation so she lodged a complaint of discrimination against the housing authority. At the same time she wrote to various political parties, including the Minister for Housing,. Bill Woods. She complained that there was no policy of recognising the problems created by a refusal to dedicate at least some on the many public housing complexes to be non-smoking units.

Housing Authority Goes For Strikeout
The recent proceedings resulted in the ACT Housing Authority moving for the case to be struck out on legal technicalities. This means they will rely on parts of the Discrimination Act 1991 that gives additional protection to government agencies to the effect that, if they observe all their own regulations, they can't be found guilty of discrimination.

In effect, if you can show you did not breach a policy on a certain matter because you don't have any policy on that matter you may have a successful defence. The case continues at the end of August so stay tuned.

There have been some very notable wins using the Anti discrimination Laws on behalf of Non-smokers. One of the first cases fostered and supported by NSMA was Roy Bishop vs The Department of Administrative Affairs back in 1981. Roy was discriminated against because he objected to smoke pollution in his workplace because of his highly sensitive allergic response. The management refused to ban smoking and responded by moving him out of the main office into a basement to work by himself. With the steady support and encouragement of NSMA, Roy had the fortitude to fight on through two battles in the Administrative Appeals Tribunal until he was vindicated by a magnificent victory that effectively spelt the end of smoking in all Commonwealth Public Service workplaces. A very notable result that the NSMA is proud to be associated with.

Another very significant action was brought by the late Sue Meeuwissen against the Hilton Hotel in Sydney. Sue alleged that Hilton hotels discriminated against her by not accommodating her basic need of clean air in their nightclub premises because she suffered the debilitating and eventually fatal disease of cystic fibrosis. In effect, their entertainment facilities was not made accessible to people with such a disability. With the assistance of Sydney barrister, Neil Francey, she went on to win a landmark victory in this case and was awarded compensation. However the flow on effect which should have meant the provision of totally smokefree nightclubs for everyone did not happen overnight, but has been accelerated by the success of her brave actions.

Ken Bishop Forced Smokefree Shopping Malls
Another great campaigner for the right to shop in smokefree conditions without having to suffer the consequences of allergic reactions is Ken Bishop (no relation to Roy), now of Queensland. The actions he has started or threatened to start have resulted in smokefree shopping centres everywhere he has travelled since he got serious about the problem in 1994.

1. Nowra - smoke-free after intervention by NSW Workcover.
2. Gympie - smoke-free after negotiation.
3. Maryborough- smoke-free after anti-discrimination claim and out of court settlement.
4.Darwin - smoke free after anti-discrimination complaint and out of court settlement.
5. Maryborough - smoke free after complaint to public health environmental health officer.

Queensland Health recently advised Ken that 'Section 26R of the Tobacco and Other Smoking Products Act 1998 prohibits smoking in an enclosed place. The Act defines "enclosed" as having a ceiling or roof and, except for doors and passageways, is completely or substantially enclosed, whether permanently or temporarily.' The act applies to enclosed car parks in shopping centres.

United We Stand
NSMA is now contacting all people who have complained to us about the problem of smoke invasion by neighbours. We will try to set up a meeting to form an action group to lobby our politicians harder about the need to change tenancy laws. One simple amendment, which should be achievable to improve the private sector housing, is to allow corporate bodies to make by-laws declaring their units to be totally smokefree both inside and throughout the grounds. The position now is that all common areas have to be smokefree because they represent a "workplace" for cleaners, tradesmen etc. However it has been ruled by the NSW Dept. of Fair Trading that Corporate bodies do not have power to regulate smoking by owners or tenants within their own homes. While this may seem reasonable at first sight, it has to be considered in the context that smoking within a unit which allows the pollution to escape and impact upon a neighbour should be a matter which can be regulated by the majority of owners in that block in the same way that noise pollution, or nuisance pets, or other unreasonable behaviour is controlled.


The last Update 43 gave a detailed account of NSMA's role in displaying banners at NSW Parliament House demanding smoke-free Clubs & Pubs in 2003. Instead of real smokefree workplaces, we now have the pathetic compromise agreed to by NSW Labor Government's Taskforce and the pro-tobacco forces led by prosperous hotel owner, John Thorpe. This means more red lines on more carpets and more "no smoking on the tiled area" signs in more clubs and pubs. The media gave great prominence to the announcement as if some great improvement had been achieved for the hospitality workers. Admittedly, it is moving in the right direction but it is far too slow. Their timetable will be July 04 before the voluntary moves are supported by legislation and probably 2006 before workers are close to being protected from the hazards of passive smoking in their workplaces.

AHA Stirs Up Fear
John Thorpe, President of Australian Hotels Association (AHA), has been on Sydney radio talking down the plan to ban smoking in pubs and clubs. He says if you want to ban it overnight young people will rebel against it. He says it needs to be introduced slowly, which is what they have "voluntarily started" to do by banning smoking in certain areas. He says, "you cannot impose your will on other people, we live in a democracy"! He warns that there will be civil disobedience. It is amazing that people like John Thorpe will talk glibly about the democratic rights of smokers and yet seem oblivious to any argument that non smokers and his own hotel employees have an even stronger democratic right to clean healthy air. What he is trying to do, of course, is to scare the Government from proceeding even with the snails pace program they have outlined.

Opposite Message
Simon Chapman, Professor of Public Health, University of Sydney, has also been on radio giving the opposite message. He has just returned from a trip to Ireland and he spoke about the recent banning of smoking in Irish pubs. He says, unlike Australia, Irish publicans seem to hold their employees in higher regard, which is what it comes down to. Simon says the propaganda coming out of the Australian Hotels Association is that this would be bad for business. On the contrary, he says, all of the studies, which have been published from all over the world, have found there is evidence that trade improves rather than goes down when smoking is banned.

California and New York Bars Smokefree
California has had smokefree bars for years and from July 2003 New York bars will follow suit. On July 24, New York State will join New York City as a smokefree workplace jurisdiction. All workplaces, including restaurants, bars, nightclubs, and pubs, must post highly visible NO SMOKING signs and remove all ashtrays. Violations can be reported to the local New York Department of Health, and penalties will be severe. If it can be achieved in USA this year, why not in Australia? The answer is greater respect for the health of all workers over there, and the greater power of vested interests here.

WA Pushes For Faster Govt. Action
Two of Western Australia's leading health advocacy groups have criticised the State Government delays in announcing the outcome of a review of the regulations on smoking in pubs, bars, clubs and the Burswood Casino. The Cancer Foundation of Western Australia and the National Heart Foundation have begun a public campaign to force the government to act to make all indoor venues smokefree. A review of the Health (Smoking in Enclosed Public Places) Regulations 1999 has taken place and recommendations on changes to the regulations were to be tabled in Parliament in January this year, but now six months later there is still no report in sight. "Tobacco smoke is the single largest preventable cause of cancer, and with passive smoking a proven cause of lung cancer in non-smokers, there can be no good reason why regulations to protect workers and patrons from environmental tobacco smoke should be held up any longer" said Cancer Foundation Council member and public health physician, Professor Charles Watson. "We can't understand why the process has stalled. The review has been done and yet we are still waiting for the results."

Victorian Govt. Slow To Act
The Victorian Labor Government has shown itself to be bowing to alcohol and gambling interests by announcing that it will not move to extend existing smoking bans into hotels and clubs. This is in spite of new research by the Cancer Council which shows about two thirds of Victorians now support extending smoke-free legislation to include bars and nightclubs. The Executive Director of Quit Victoria, Todd Harper, says the research also shows about 80% of the population supports the current bans on smoking in gambling venues. He says the community is ready to embrace smoking bans in bars and nightclubs and it's now up to the Government to impose tougher anti-smoking legislation.

Tasmania NT and Qld Bans in Doorways
Legislation recently proclaimed in Tasmania prohibits smoking within three metres of an entrance or exit to a non-domestic building. It also prohibits smoking within ten metres of air ventilation intakes. The Northern Territory and Queensland governments have also banned smoking in doorways to ensure safe access to buildings.

Qld Budget Allocates Less Than 1% On Tobacco
Leading community health groups have criticised the Queensland State Government for failing to learn from this year's Dirty Ashtray Award. Tobacco control funding in this year's budget again fell well short of interstate and international benchmarks. Earlier this year, the Commonwealth Grants Commission reported that Queensland received $673 million in tobacco revenue in 2001/02, which is 300 times greater than its expenditure on anti-smoking measures. Of course all government ministers will tell you, with a straight face, that they are very serious about the problem of reducing the damage done by tobacco.


Government Acts
The Victorian State Government has finally come out with criticism of the Court of Appeal's handling of the Rolah McCabe case and will join her family in seeking leave to appeal to the High Court. Attorney-General Rob Hulls said the Court of Appeal had examined whether lawyers had attempted to pervert the course of justice in their advice on managing sensitive tobacco company documents. But such a legal test set the bar "far too high", he said. "We believe the high-jump bar should not be so high and that a greater onus should be placed on lawyers in relation to the retention of documents."

Rolah McCabe's daughter Roxanne Cowell fights on against BAT appeal win

The NSW Attorney-General, Robert Debus, has sought urgent advice from the state Solicitor-General on whether it could also intervene. Lawyers for the McCabe family welcomed Victoria's move, but the Cancer Council, Quit Victoria, the VicHealth Centre for Tobacco Control and Liberty Victoria, while pleased with the intervention, continued to press for a judicial inquiry.

Gulson Blows Whistle On BAT
Tobacco whistleblower, Frederick Gulson, whose allegations sparked the Victorian decision, said the move was just, proper and fair. "To my mind, the Minister's announcement is an endorsement of the rule of law," he said. Mr Hulls sought advice from Solicitor-General Pamela Tate after The Age newspaper published details of an affidavit by Mr Gulson, a former company secretary and legal counsel of W.D. & H.O. Wills, now British American Tobacco Australia Services (BAT). Mr Gulson said the company's strategy was to get rid of sensitive documents under the guise of an innocent housekeeping arrangement.

Ex Company Secretary Fred Gulson tells how BAT (Aust) destroyed sensitive documents

It involved getting "rid of everything that was damaging in a way that would not rebound on the company or the BAT group as a whole". Rejecting the calls for a judicial inquiry, Mr Hulls said it could cross over issues to be raised in the High Court and risked being in contempt of those proceedings. It is rare for State Governments to intervene before the High Court in civil cases; such interventions are usually in cases involving constitutional issues. The application for leave to intervene will be heard on October 3, 2003.

Background On McCabe Case
In March last year, Mrs McCabe, dying of lung cancer, won a damages case before Justice Geoffrey Eames in the Victorian Supreme Court after he found that BAT and its lawyers, Clayton Utz, had subverted the document discovery process. A jury awarded Mrs McCabe $700,000 damages. She was the first Australian to successfully sue a tobacco company. BAT appealed and in December last year the Court of Appeal found that Justice Eames had erred in deciding the case on the destruction of documents issue, and that evidence of wrongdoing by Clayton Utz had not been proved. BAT were not satisfied to be paid back their $700,000, which has already been done by the McCabe family, they wanted the family to pay their million dollar legal costs which were also awarded to them. Hence Mrs McCabe's children face selling their homes and going bankrupt in order to pay off the tobacco company whose cigarettes killed their mother! Can you imagine a greater travesty of justice brought on by the greed and unethical behaviour of tobacco companies and their legal advisors?

Finally some good news for the family as the state governments say they will intervene in the case. The sight of expensive lawyers going on TV and glibly saying it was simply good practice to get rid of documents before the case and what is more, everybody is able to do it, is disgusting to the average fair-minded person. Let us hope that the government's intervention will put an end to such shoddy practices and bring some justice for tobacco plaintiffs at long last.

History was made on 21 May 2003 when the World Health Organisation (WHO) agreed to a world first anti-tobacco treaty after four years of intensive negotiations. WHO gave preliminary approval to the treaty, with minister after minister, including Australia, proclaiming that it would save untold millions of lives. The treaty will ban or restrict advertising, introduce more prominent health warnings and control use of terms like low-tar on cigarette packs. It will no doubt be implemented very slowly in some quarters but at least it is a significant start to protect the vulnerable emerging nations, which have already been savaged to some degree by the greed and unethical behaviour of world tobacco cartels.

SmokeFree '03 coalition
The NSMA has been very pleased to be invited to join this Coalition as reported in the last Update and we have recently participated in a joint submission to the ACT on a discussion paper about proposed reform of the Smoke-free Areas (Enclosed Public Places) Act 1994, ACT.Smoke Free '03 is a coalition of health and trade union organisations sharing the sole aim of making all Australian workplaces free of tobacco smoke.

Members of SF03 are: Action on Smoking and Health Australia - Australian Council of Trade Unions - Australian Council on Smoking and Health - The Cancer Council Australia - Liquor, Hospitality and Miscellaneous Workers' (LHMW) Union - Media, Entertainment and Arts Alliance - Musicians' Union of Australia - National Heart Foundation of Australia - Non-Smokers' Movement of Australia.

SF'03 strongly supports the implementation of effective bans on smoking in all enclosed workplaces as well as crowded outdoor workplaces. We believe governments have a statutory responsibility to protect their citizens from exposure to tobacco smoke pollution which is a proven public health hazard.

Thanks to our hard working Secretary, Margaret Hogge the NSMA also put in its own "no nonsense" submission direct to this Inquiry in addition to being a signatory to the very detailed submission by the Coalition. These submissions were in response to requests for comments on the proposed review of the Australian Capital Territory (ACT) Anti Smoking legislation.

Margaret commenced by saying, "We begin our submission with the comment that we deplore that so much time, money and effort has been expended on this matter which is in fact about basic human rights. Everyone has a basic right to clean, unpolluted air. The community and governments of Australia have been aware of the dangers of environmental tobacco smoke for decades and are still debating whether smoking should be banned in public places"

The submission continued: It is not the responsibility of community groups of volunteers to protect the public's health. The ACT Government and other governments have that responsibility. The government is aware of the dangers of second-hand smoke and currently fails to protect a large proportion of the public from those dangers. The Non-Smokers' Movement of Australia assures them that there will be further litigation unless environmental tobacco smoke is eliminated in the very near future. The ACT government can lead the way in Australia by imposing complete public indoor smoking bans by the end of 2003. For every day of delay in legislation for universal bans, thousands of workers and customers suffer the short and long-term effects of environmental tobacco smoke.

A ban in ACT will almost certainly flow on very quickly to other states and territories this government could potentially save thousands of lives around Australia by setting an earlier rather than later date for compliance. The public already considers these bans to be inevitable they have already been informed and educated over the past decade about the dangers of second-hand smoke they simply need to know that their elected representatives are prepared to accept their responsibility to safeguard the public's health both in protecting them from second-hand smoke and in cutting smoking rates. We recommend that the ACT Government moves to end all exemptions to smoking bans in all indoor areas at the earliest opportunity.

We now await the outcome of the inquiry with great interest.

Fires Caused By Cigarettes
On 29 May 2003 the SBS program "Insight" screened a hard hitting documentary showing that one third of all fire-deaths were in fires caused by cigarettes. We all know the tragedy of people smoking in bed who never get to wake up again. It is bad enough when it is inflicted on the smokers themselves but it is appalling when innocent children die as well. The program interviewed the mother of the little boy shown here and joined the chorus of experts who say the Government must legislate to force the tobacco industry to make only "Fire safe Cigarettes".

They interviewed Ross Hodge, CEO of The Australian Fire Safety Association, who with others, said the industry knew how to make self-extinguishing cigarettes for at least the last thirty years but refused to act. The general opinion is that the industry feels it would not be popular with smokers and they would lose some customers by quitting. The industry would rather lose a few in fatal fires rather than lose a lot by offering fire safe cigarettes!

9 Year Old Chris Saker who died in a fire caused by cigarettes

Well, that's about what we expect from tobacco industry executives.

Extra $1.6 B Pokie Tax to Cure Hospital Woes.
If $1.6 B pokie tax will solve all hospital ills what will $8.0 B dollars in tobacco tax do for them? NSW Premier Bob Carr is playing predictable political games with the Club & Pub industry to sell his increased poker machine taxes policy to them via blackmail from the public. Treasurer Michael Egan says the entire $1.6B tax take will be removed from consolidated treasury control and channelled directly into the hospitals system to cure their well known shortfall in funding. Of course the public will support this very desirable objective just the same as they support motherhood and apple pie. This shows the govt to be the good guys while the clubs and pubs will be the bad guys if they oppose such a desirable outcome.

What NSMA finds objectionable is that all governments, both state and federal, have refused over many years to consider treating the 8.0 Billion dollars of tobacco revenue in the same dedicated fashion. It should be directly applied to the health consequences of smoking and also to giving a gigantic boost to anti tobacco campaign funding which would finally put an end to the tobacco menace in Australia.

Of course such removal of the lovely tobacco revenue from the consolidated treasury political pork barrel has always been too much for the power holders to contemplate, so it is declared impossible. The governments then continue on their merry ways every bit as addicted to tobacco taxes as the smokers are to nicotine. History will be a very harsh judge of the cynical and unethical politicians who pursue such self-serving short-term policies over altruistic ones every time.

Challenge Answered re Health effects of passive smoking
In May 2003 a number of Australia's leading health groups have warned that the results of a new study regarding the link between passive smoking, heart disease and lung cancer should be received cautiously. Professor Alan Coates, CEO of The Cancer Council Australia, said the health risks of passive smoking had been well established by a significant body of medical evidence. "There is a vast body of medical evidence that has found that passive smoking is, without doubt, harmful to health," Professor Coates said. "The only debate on this issue is the extent to which passive smoking is harmful. "This study may cause some people to doubt the relationship between passive smoking and lung cancer and heart disease."

Footnote Says It All
This study was published in the British Medical Journal with a footnote disclosing that it was funded by the "Centre for Indoor Air Research", an organisation that received funding primarily from US tobacco companies. The journal also carries an editorial that identifies a number of problems in the study design, and highlights tobacco-specific carcinogens that are readily identified in the urine sample of non-smokers married to smokers. "We need to view the findings of this study with some scepticism, given that it was refused funding through the normal peer review process and subsequently funded by tobacco interests," Professor Coates said. "Concerns about the study have also been raised by a number of highly regarded experts in the US, where the study was conducted - they include Julius Richmond, a former US Surgeon General". The American Cancer Society has also criticised the study, saying it suffers from flawed methodology and is neither reliable nor independent.

Another Big USA Payout
Elite Model Management, home to several world super models, was ordered to pay $5.27 million to Victoria Gallegos, 32, after a jury found that Elite fired her for complaining about tobacco smoke in her workplace. Before accepting a $100,000 a year job as Elite's sales director, Ms Gallegos told Elite owners that should could not work around smoke due to her asthma. They assured her that smoking would not be permitted. She repeatedly complained about the smoke, but nothing was done. Some of her co-workers teased her by leaving matches and lighters on her desk. She was demoted, and then fired.

Gallegos, an asthmatic, testified that the smoke at work caused her "frequent bouts of nausea," which left her "coughing up blood" and gave her "difficulties sleeping at night." The $5.2 million award includes $2 million for pain and suffering and $2.6 million in punitive damages. The sum was $600,000 more than Gallegos' lawyer had asked for, indicating just how reprehensible the jury found Elite's behaviour.

Women's Magazines Still Promote Smoking
ASH Australia does a good job exposing the snide way that the industry uses "product placement" by glamorous models to promote smoking. The example shown on this page and others are on

Fashion Model Smoking
Ashaust website shows blatant cigarette promotions on magazine covers.

This is so disgraceful at a time when lung cancer in women is overtaking breast cancer as the biggest killer. It shows that some new approach like licensing susceptible and ill informed youth is necessary to counter the never ending selling to them by sex-appeal.

Proof Of Effect On Teens
Teenagers who watch movies with frequent smoking scenes are almost three times more likely to take up the habit as those who don't, according to a new study. The research, published online by The Lancet, also found that the effect of exposure to smoking in movies was stronger among teenagers with non-smoking parents. Previous studies have found a link between teenage smoking and films, but this is the first study to track children over time to determine whether they take up the habit. Researchers from Dartmouth Medical School in the US surveyed more than 3500 adolescents who had never smoked, and assessed their exposure to smoking in movies. In a follow-up survey between one and two years later, 10 per cent of the adolescents had started smoking.

2.71 Times More Likely
Among those who were the most exposed to movies depicting smoking, 17 per cent took up the habit, compared with only 3 per cent of those who viewed only a small number of movies with smoking scenes. After removing those who attributed smoking to influences such as their parents and advertising, those who watched the hard-smoking movies were 2.71 times more likely to take up the habit. More than 52 per cent of the 10 to 14-year-olds started smoking after seeing it in movies, compared with 34 per cent of new smokers who started because of cigarette advertising.

How Do You Stop Them?
Another program on Channel Two in Sydney on 29 July raised that same old question; "How do you stop teenagers taking it up"? George Negus conveyed a pretty good anti smoking message on Channel Two's New Dimensions program, but left this key question in the too-hard basket. He interviewed a lot of young smokers about the age they started smoking and it was so disgusting to hear the answers, 10, 14, 15 etc.,

Young Smokers tell George Negus on TV how they started smoking at 14 and now find it hard to quit.

It is all too easy and uncomplicated for them to experiment with a bit of a puff until they finally get hooked. It's all a bit of harmless, youthful fun with no effort required. So let's make it a big expensive effort with so many complications and costs that the average teenager won't even go to the trouble.

Why Not Licence New Smokers?
The NSMA have posed this new approach to the problem by requiring all new smokers to be licensed. As we said in Update 38, in January 02, this could operate just like the process for getting a driver's licence. The young person is issued with a handbook of all relevant information on the dangers and responsibilities which must be understood before they are let loose on the rest of society.

They must be thoroughly tested on their knowledge and fitness to undertake this new and dangerous venture. If examination shows they are still ignorant of the facts or immature or physically unsuitable for the endeavour the licence should be denied until such time as they do comply.

The Greater Good
Any argument about civil liberties must be met with the argument that to take on a lifetime of addiction to a known killer which will also cost the rest of society dearly is justified by the greater common good. The same logic applies to licensing drivers because their decisions and actions will not just affect them, they will affect the rest of society.

They must pay an annual licence fee, which should be high initially but scale down if and when the cost to taxpayers can be shown to reduce. The general scale of fees should be calculated to progressively replace the tax excise on cigarettes that the government is projected to receive, say in the next ten years. Such a scheme would be then be revenue neutral to the government. In fact it would be cost neutral to the smoker because the money would be paid as an annual fee instead of as a tax on each packet of cigarettes. More importantly, it would ensure that smokers would eventually meet the total cost of smoking damage and that it is not subsidised in any way by the rest of the community.

Remove From Consolidated Revenue
A really important benefit of such a scheme is that it would remove smoker's taxes from consolidated revenue and thus give us some hope of breaking the government's addiction to these funds. When smoker's taxes and costs are quarantined into a separate statutory fund, which is self-funding in the long term and revenue neutral to government, we might finally get some real action against the tobacco industry by the government. If society is ready for radical experiments like "safe injecting rooms" for hard drugs it must surely be ready for a really common sense scheme of licensing new smokers.

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

Tax Money Goes Begging
ASH, and other members of the health lobby have strongly criticised the last Federal Budget for missing a golden opportunity to use a $225m tobacco tax windfall to increase funding on anti-smoking programs. Once again, prevention missed out and the last budget offered little towards stemming tobacco's annual $21B drain on the national economy. See details on

New Campaign In Aust. Capital Territory
The ACT Cancer Council has just been awarded $300 000 to fund a new prevention program to try and stop young people smoking. Joan Bartlett, Executive Officer, ACT Cancer Council, says the project will be based on a successful mass media campaign in Western Australia that directly targeted Australian youths with a variety of mediums. Bartlett says the campaign will hopefully be underway by the middle of 2004 and will be a multi-pronged attack on both males and females.

Radio Kings Speak Up
Sydney radio seems to have been converted to a strong anti-smoking position, which is a nice change from the bad old days when every non-smoker was dismissed as a wowser and killjoy. 2GB's Philip Clark, says the story of young girls smoking "is one of the great health tragedies of our time". Clark says it took him three tries to give up smoking, but he never tried patches. He says you have to vow never to smoke again.

2UE's Steve Price has been attacking the smokers who throw their cigarette butts onto city pavements. He says cigarette litter is becoming a huge issue on the streets in New York, and it is also a major problem here. He attacked Sydney City Council's inaction and complained that no one was available to speak to him about the issue, which he says is ridiculous. He asked listeners to nominate the worst spots in Sydney for cigarette litter.

Finally, John Laws (2UE again) gave a sympathetic interview to a caller who said he was dying with lung disease after many years smoking and he urged young people to quit smoking. He said he had no trouble quitting after he was diagnosed but he wishes he had never taken it up. The caller went on to say - it is not much of a life, living all day with an oxygen tank to keep him breathing. Laws said this conversation should be played to anyone who thinks smoking is fine.

50 Years of Needless Death
Western Australia's Cancer Foundation has marked the 50-year anniversary of the first major study to link smoking and lung cancer by calling on Philip Morris, BATA and Imperial Tobacco to act responsibly towards their customers. Over 820,000 Australians have died from smoking related causes since Sir Richard Doll's landmark study was published in 1950, and since then, hundreds of research papers have confirmed the dangers of smoking.

After 26 years of continuous campaigning for the rights of non-smokers, Brian has notified the Committee it is time for him to step down and take a more relaxed view of the world. At age 71, his decision is largely influenced by the loss of reading sight in one eye due to macular fibrosis that makes a lot of computer work more of a challenge for him. Retirement will also allow him to spend more time with his wife, Angela and family of four children, and seven grandchildren aged from 3 to 12. The Committee have decided to give him a FAREWELL DINNER COMBINED WITH THE AGM ON WEDNESDAY 26 NOVEMBER. Details are in the booking slip enclosed with this newsletter or ring/fax the Rydalmere office on 02 9638-1171.

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.  
This page was last updated on 9th October and 14th August, 2003.
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