|The Non Smokers' Movement of Australia
Protecting the rights of the Non-smoking majority from
and from the tobacco industry's propaganda.
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Issue 57, July-August 2008
Over 3 million Australians still smoking
That's a lot of poisonous smoke and butts fouling our air, land and sea.
Murderous intent, Greed, Addiction, Ignorance and Complacency are to blame.
Smokefree happenings around Australia's States and Territories
Editorial--- changing the mind-set
Action / Protests by NSMA members
Tobacco promotions - Racing, Films, News
Brock and Stoner - high-speed drug pushers immortalised by media
News from around the World.
Qantas Flight Attendants are expected to display duty-free tobacco products on their trolleys. Retired tobacco executive Mr. Paul Rayner had just been appointed to the Qantas Board.
While more than 3 million Australians continue to smoke regularly, and especially while young people continue to take up smoking at high rates, we cannot be complacent.
Agreed, we have some very low rates of smoking in this country, down around 17% for which all tobacco control workers must be congratulated, but the socio-economic divide means that some areas of Australia throw up very high smoking rates (and, of course, extremely high exposure to secondhand smoke near those smokers), with horrifically high rates averaging 50% amongst indigenous Australians.
Complacency, however, can be very dangerous, and can slow the momentum. We must continue to support all efforts to reduce smoking rates (less smokers means less smoke to dodge and avoid).
Children, disabled and frail-aged people still have no choice - they often cannot move or don't know that they should and most of them cannot defend themselves from smoke-assault. Take crowded streets or crowded public events for example. Do you ever see a smoker holding his or her cigarette directly in front of their faces when not taking a drag? No, they usually hold the offending cigarette down behind themselves so as not to have their own secondhand tobacco smoke in their faces, eyes and hair. Who cops the smoke? Anyone smaller, or in a wheelchair, directly behind them.
We must continue to fight for everyone's rights to clean, tobacco-free air - our basic human right to clean air. To achieve this, we need to turn the mindset around, so that more and more people take it for granted that non-smokers expect and demand clean smokefree air everywhere and that smokers should only smoke in designated outdoor smoking areas or at least well-distanced from anyone else. In the past we have been forced to search for smokefree places - no more, make it that smokers seek out places where their smoking won't affect others.
Prohibition/Banning Tobacco - DISCUSS
Whenever the subject of Prohibition arises, it gets dismissed like the proverbial "hot potato". However, tobacco is already subject to certain prohibitions, e.g.- it's illegal to sell tobacco products to minors. Also it is illegal to advertise tobacco products.
The concept of further bans (prohibitions) continues to arise , but often because "nay-sayers" won't look at the reasons that prohibition of alcohol did not work in USA in the 1920's and 1930's in USA.
Consider some of the issues: Alcohol (also a drug of addiction) was relatively popular amongst its users, whereas tobacco is not as popular (surveys have shown that almost two thirds of smokers want to quit) amongst users and is hated by most others. Alcohol is relatively easy to disguise whilst in use, whereas tobacco is easily detected.
Tax revenue from tobacco sales is the other major sticking point, one which smokers continually refer to as politicians' addiction to easy income. Also, of course, there is the issue of smuggling and blackmarket, ably assisted by the so-called "legitimate" tobacco industry. Please send us your thoughts and ideas.
Margaret Hogge, Hon. Pres.
World No-Tobacco Day May 2008
Following a short stint protesting the lack of security at a major Sydney Hospital, Non-Smokers' Movement of Australia's President, Margaret Hogge spoke at NSW Parliament's Public Forum on Children and Tobacco - the tobacco industry supported retailers very strongly with their own very pregnant representative (the best thing to happen to that person's family would be for her to lose her job), with service station reps, convenience store reps,
Apparently the government was impressed - they realised that if the tobacco industry was strongly concerned at putting tobacco out of sight that sales would drop, that smoking rates would probably drop - hooray, at last a sensible solution towards reducing children's smoking rates. Don't be deceived - these are children, and the tobacco industry says it doesn't target children, so why are there so many children taking up smoking, when adult smoking rates are dropping?
Could it be that children are being influenced by:-
* seeing smoking products on display at nearly every shop they enter
* continued and increased depiction of smoking in films and the media
* children regarding smoking as an easy method of rebellion, literally "getting up their parents' noses" with very few detections or prosecutions of drug-pushers (suppliers) or drug-retailers (shops).
* children continuing to see adults smoking, especially outdoors in public, now that nearly every public place is smokefree indoors - surely a solution is limited number of Designated Outdoor Smoking Areas, well-distanced from general thoroughfares.
News From Around Australia
Tasmania has enjoyed more than 18 months of smokefree pubs and clubs and, believe it or not, the world hasn't come to an end and people can still go to their "local" and enjoy their activities and socialise but now without that uninvited guest, the poisons in secondhand smoke.
Unfortunately, Tasmania has the second-highest smoking during pregnancy rate (next to Northern Territory) in Australia. Extra funding will come from the $4.3million National Smoke-free Pregnancy Project to help midwives receive training in "ways to help pregnant women and their partners to stop smoking".
"This will have an impact not only on the future health of mothers and their partners but also on their children" says Senator McLucas from Federal Dept of Health and Ageing.
Northern Territory At last the Northern Territory has agreed to ban smoking indoors in pubs and clubs, after receiving the Dirty Ashtray award from tobacco control groups for far too long. We wrote to the Chief Minister on the announcement of imminent bans, calling for strict measures, similar to Queensland's smoking bans, and indicating the huge flaws in NSW law which allows a room which is up to 75% enclosed to be deemed "outdoors".
We also called for a complete ban of children being allowed in smoking areas - all smokers are now being directed to the outdoors, previously known as "beer-gardens". Research from California's Stanford University last year showed that secondhand smoke outdoors can be as dangerous as indoors.
Additionally, if smokers use all of the children's play areas, children will regard smoking as a normal recreational activity. There is nothing normal about smoking.
South Australia We are still waiting for news about the possibility of Adelaide going smokefree for a day, the day of Adelaide's Annual Parade, when city streets are full of families. The Hon. David Ridgeway MLC is moving for Adelaide to be declared smokefree for the day - the first step in having Adelaide become a world leader in "clearing the curse of smoking away from the rest of us".
NSMA suggested that, if such a day were planned, there would need to be a limited number of simple Designated Outdoor Smoking areas, marked out and provided with butt-bins so that smokers who insisted on smoking could be told where to put their secondhand smoke and their butts. No decision yet on this matter.
We suggest that the same MP persuade his Political party to quit tobacco (sponsorship that is.)
Australian Capital Territory ACT has announced some very lenient measures, allowing retailers more than a year in which to put tobacco out of sight.
Queensland Following a planned review of its very sensible Smokefree Laws, Queensland is now considering going even further, banning smoking in cars carrying children under 16, and granting councils the power to regulate smoking in malls and at public transport waiting points such as bus stops.
Premier Anna Bligh, on making the announcement, said "Passive smoking remains public enemy number one in our new changes."
NSMA had made a strong submission to the review, congratulating Queensland on having strong legislation but pressing the need to protect the rights of children, disabled and frail aged to clean air, free from the poisons in secondhand tobacco smoke.
Queensland continues to deserve its first grade ranking as the best state in which to avoid secondhand tobacco smoke.
Brisbane's Queen Street Mall has designated "smoking areas" with the remainder of the mall smokefree. Lord Mayor Campbell Newman has said "I think it may be a way forward to have some designated smoking areas". NSMA wrote, congratulating Brisbane on having Designated Outdoor Smoking Areas, so that smoke and butts can be contained and restricted.
Victoria Victoria's smokefree regulations are under review. Look at www.health.vic.gov.au under tobacco reforms. There will not be a public forum for oral presentations.
NSMA will make a strong submission, calling for everyone's basic rights to clean, smokefree air, everywhere.
It is especially important that retailers put tobacco out of sight.
It is also very important that schoolgrounds be declared smokefree, leading to de-normalising smoking in the eyes of children. NSMA had written several times calling for such a regulation but had been advised that each individual school community could work out its own regulation - how absurd, when School Education policy should protect every child from tobacco's influence.
New South Wales (20% of 12-17 year olds in NSW are smokers.) Following public consultation during which NSMA was very active, Asst. Health Minister Verity Firth announced that the next raft of legislation would include: no smoking in cars carrying children 16 or under, tobacco out of sight in retail outlets, controls on vending machines, and only one point of sale for tobacco.
We took the opportunity to urge the govt. to support families in their battles against neighbours' secondhand smoke, and to support strata corporations which will restrict smoke from seeping and blowing into neighbouring units. We reminded them that even Civil Liberties groups say that smokers may have the right to smoke but not where it adversely affects others. Nobody should be forced to barricade themselves or their families into their homes to prevent the spread of smoke from neighbours.
Also, that smoking in the home with children present is blatant child abuse, potentially far more damaging than spanking or beating a child.
Founder of NSMA Brian McBride wrote to tobacco control campaigners in NSW recently:
To All Campaigners
Congratulations to your all for your various contributions to the new smoking bans in cars with children and also the new restrictions on point of sale displays. I know many of you have worked for years on these objectives. I was pleased to hear the Premier on Radio being very personally positive in his support for the new laws.
I was even more surprised to see a favourable editorial in the Telegraph today (Monday 4/8) agreeing that the 25% rule for pubs & clubs is being abused and supporting more restrictions to ensure smoking rates continue to fall. This is a major policy shift from 1978 when they splashed my photo with 2 inch headlines on the front page saying "Man sued for smoking". The editorial theme then was, who are these idiots who dare to sue someone for their god given right to smoke?
Let's keep chipping away at the concept of licensing smokers which will be the next big step forward and it should be achieved while simultaneously weaning the govt. off sales revenue (excise) and on to user pays fees revenue.
Western Australia The current government is willing to support smokefree alfresco dining, already happening in several local council areas, but, with State elections looming, the opposition (Liberal Party) is unwilling to commit, spouting the usual furphy that it would be too difficult to enforce. Nothing to do with tobacco sponsorship of the party, is it?
Earlier this year the State Government started its plan to make WA prisons smokefree with the first stages of a trial ban on smoking in indoor areas at Greenough Regional Prison.
Australia-wide The Rudd Government has not increased the $15 million funding of the National Tobacco Strategy (we call for $120million) but, in response to our letter of inquiry, says it is investing $14.5million in an Indigenous tobacco Control Initiative, having a particular emphasis on young smokers.
With responsibility for advertising control, the Federal Government must move quickly to strengthen regulations against blatant advertising, such as product placement in films, internet advertising, and fashions and sports sponsorship which are filmed overseas but broadcast here in Australia, and aimed at young adult markets. in order to recruit new young smokers to replace those who die and those who take note of graphic warnings or price hikes and who quit.
Do you get the S.H.*T.S. about Second.Hand.Tobacco.Smoke?
Join NSMA and help us get rid of it.
A Visit to the Zoo
We're all going to the zoo today!
You can come too and shout Hooray!
At last our Zoos have gone smokefree,
We can smell the elephants' poo and the monkeys' wee!
(These ditties get worse when we get excited!)
Two of Adelaide's zoos, as well as Sydney's Taronga Zoo are now smokefree, not before their time.
We had been writing to Taronga over the past few years, calling for smokefree conditions for the animals and for visiting families and school groups. And it came to pass.
We are using the success of these family-oriented venues to urge large events like Sydney's Royal Easter Show, which runs for just 16 days each year, to go smokefree, with Designated Outdoor Smoking Areas.
CancerVic Melanie Wakefield from CancerVic writes of a new collaboration:
I wanted to alert you to a new report from the National Cancer Institute called "The Role of Media in Promoting and Reducing Tobacco Use", for which I served as a Senior Scientific Editor, along with Dr Ronald Davis from the USA. It has been 5 years of hard work to get this almost 700-page monograph together, involving 23 authors and some 62 expert reviewers, using a process akin to the US Surgeon-General's reports.
The monograph reviews ways in which the tobacco industry uses the media to advertise and promote its products, evidence for the effectiveness of bans on tobacco advertising and promotion, the role of news and entertainment media (including movies),
Melanie assures us that news stories have been studied for their impact on smoking rates.
NSMA's ongoing work
Non-Smokers' Movement of Australia Inc. continues to make strong, forceful submissions to all levels of government on behalf of all non-smokers and especially on behalf of children, frail-aged and disabled people. We made submissions to the Queensland Review, NSW Protecting Children from Tobacco, NSW Review of Political Donations, NSW Tenancy Review, to the Federal 2020 Summit, to the National Occupational Health and Safety Review, and to several local councils including Pittwater and Wyong. The submissions are not only an opportunity to respond to the frames of reference, but also to publicise everybody's rights to breathe clean air, everywhere.
Casey Stoner, our new Marlboro Man on the racetrack is the Young Arsetralian of the Year and seems to have suffered some brain damage. He says that his bosses in the tobacco industry aren't aiming their products at kids.
Opportunity for another Kodak Moment. Along the same lines, how much did the tobacco industry offer Bathurst City and the National Motor Museum to erect a larger-than-life size sculpture of the late high-speed drug pusher Peter Brock standing proudly on top of a Tobacco-branded bronze car? The sculpture is the perfect size for little kiddies to sit or stand near, pretending to be racing drivers. The tobacco sign will show up in millions of home snapshots and movies. The federal government, which administers the Tobacco Advertising Prohibition Act, says it's outside their jurisdiction, and we should appeal to the Regional Council's and the Museum's morals.
Some News from other parts of the World
Congratulations to China for a smoke-free Olympics! Apparently the Olympic venues were smokefree but the city's restaurants were not. However, with their rising interest in athletics and other sports, the Chinese people might at last work towards losing their dubious status of having the highest percentage of smokers in the world. This can only be good for their children, who are forced to live and breathe secondhand smoke in every aspect of their lives.
Congratulations also to Anne Jones, CEO of Action on Smoking and Health, for her work with the World Health Organisation in China.
Money from the Big End of Town to help poorer nations. We were aware of New York Mayor Michael Bloomberg's funding of tobacco control in USA. Now, he and Microsoft founder Bill Gates are pooling $375 US million to help combat smoking rates in poorer countries.
With friends like these! Reports from Indonesia indicate a sharp rise in smoking rates, bringing it close to India's and China's already horrific problem. The difference seems to be that the Indonesian Government says it needs the tobacco industry for a healthy economy.
|The Non-Smokers' Movement of Australia Inc, Box K860, Haymarket NSW 1240.
|This page was last updated on 13th October, 2008.
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