|The Non Smokers' Movement of Australia Inc.
Protecting the rights of the Non-smoking majority
from tobacco smoke and from the tobacco industry's propaganda.
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Issue 20, September-October 1997
Action Needed on Air Standard
Strong and immediate action is needed to stop the tobacco industry from getting an air standard that will condemn Australia to polluted indoor air. Readers may recall Update 16 which looked at the draft Australian/New Zealand Standard 'The Use of Ventilation and Air-Conditioning in Buildings, Part 2- Ventilation of Buildings'. This effectively legitimised indoor smoking. Standards Australia had asked for public comment on this draft. Six months have passed since we made this public comment. We have received no feedback- it is time for action.
To briefly recap, the key features of the draft are:
1. The Standard is structured around the concept that the community expects poorer air in bars and therefore, poorer air is 'normal'. The Standard sets 'minimum permissible rates of changes of air, based on a newly defined non-health concept; the 'Amenity Index', which 'represents a consensus judgement of community expectations'. In other words, since people are supposedly used to poor air quality in bars, the draft assumes that the air quality standard can be set at a poorer level.
2. Environmental Tobacco Smoke (ETS) is not mentioned as a contaminant and while carbon monoxide levels are specified for car parks, there is no monitor for atmospheric contaminants in bars or other areas where there is ETS.
3. The draft standard demands that exhaust ventilation must be installed where air may be taken from areas where there is unflued gas heating and car exhausts but does not ask the same of smoky areas.
The Non-Smokers' Movement of Australia understands that the chairman of the committee, and presumably author of its report, Paul Spry is the same engineer who was employed to set up the air conditioning system for the two premises, 'Chisholm Tavern' and 'La Grange' that Wills tobacco company (a branch of British American Tobacco- BAT) used in their campaign to prove that ventilation can make smokers and non-smokers happy, and thus render smoke-free indoor air unnecessary. It would seem that Paul Spry is at least possibly in a conflict of interest situation.
The usual process for Standards Australia is to construct a draft Standard, call for public comment and then re-draft and implement the Standard. In this case, the original draft was so poor and there is a need for justice to be seen to be done in view of the connections of its chairman. NSMA believes that a new draft needs to be circulated prior to the release of the final document. Smoking bans are a major public health measure and it is simply not good enough that these are ignored by Standards Australian/New Zealand.
This is not some irrelevant academic document. When legislation comes into effect, it implements the Standard.
ASHRAE, the American Society of Heating, Refrigeration and Air Conditioning Engineers, has disclosure requirements for all members serving on Standards committees, who must reveal any clients who could put them in a possible conflict of interest situation. It is understood that Standards Australia has no such requirement. Also, the ASHRAE Standard is up for review and they declined specifically declined to put in anything to suggest that there was a safe level of tobacco smoke.
Write to Standards Australia and ask that the revision of the Draft Standard AS96425 'The Use of Ventilation and Air-Conditioning in Buildings, part 2- Ventilation of Buildings' be released to the public for a further period of comment before the final draft is issued as a Standard. The address is
Mr V. Aherne, Standards Australia/New Zealand, PO Box 1055, Strathfield NSW 2135, or fax 02 9746-8450
AGM and DinnerThe Annual General Meeting of NSMA will be held on 6.30 pm Wed. October 8 at Nth Sydney Bowling Club, Ridge St., Nth Sydney followed by the 20th Anniversary Dinner (Cost $40, $30 concession). phone Brian 9894-6647 for bookings.
Western Australia Shows It Can Be Done
The West Australian Industrial Relations Minister, Graham Kierath, has proved that a State Government can create smoke-free indoor air with the stroke of a pen. He has introduced a ministerial regulation under the WA Occupational Health and Safety Act which is entitled "Protection from Tobacco Smoke" and ensures that all WA workplaces (including restaurants and pubs) will be smoke free from August 1998.
The new regulation, "Protection from Tobacco Smoke", will work with the general duty provisions of the Occupational Safety and Health Act to ban smoking in all enclosed workplaces (includes restaurants, pubs and casinos) by:
Prohibiting smoking by employers, employees and self-employed person in enclosed workplaces,
Allowing for designated smoking areas, but excludes employees working in such areas when a person is smoking; and
A penalty of up to $25,000 for employers or person responsible for the workplace if they allow smoke from designated smoking areas to penetrate enclosed smoke-free areas.
Unfortunately, the Premier, Richard Court has referred the regulation to a Cabinet subcommittee which consists of, among others, tobacco sympathetic ministers such as Racing and Gaming Minister Max Evans and Tourism Minister Norman Moore. As a result, this regulation faces the very real threat of going the way of other recent smoke free indoor air legislation. At the moment, Graham Kierath appears to be standing firm and resisting the protests of the "Hotel" (tobacco) lobby. In many ways this is the last hope for meaningful smoke free indoor air legislation. A number of polls have shown huge support:
A Morgan Gallop poll on 28/7/97 showed that 88% believed all workers should be protected from passive smoking including those working in the hospitality industry and that 68% would prefer pubs to be smoke-free.
The latest Westpoll found that 65% of people agreed with the ban. Support was even higher among Liberal voters with 70% backing the ban.. The Westpoll was conducted among 400 country and metro voters, surveyed by telephone.
Prof. Konrad Jamrozik surveyed 290 visitors to Perth international airport and strong support for smoke-free hotels, restaurants and entertainment venues. 80% of the visitors did not smoke. He presented his study in Beijing and said the research quashed arguments that WA tourism would suffer under regulations banning smoking. West Australian 25/8/97
Write a fax or letter supporting the "Protection from Tobacco Smoke" regulation:
1. Hon GD Kierath, MLA Minister for Labour Relations; Planning; Heritage, 13th Floor, 2 Havelock St., W. Perth WA 6000 fax: (08) 9324 2320
2. Hon RF Court, Premier. 197 St Georges Terrace, Perth WA 6000 fax: (08) 9322 1213
3. Editor, 'West Australian', 219 St Georges Terrace, Perth WA 6000, fax: (08) 9482 3830
Cars without ashtrays
A first for Australia? Ashtrays and cigarette lighters will be optional extras costing $80in the new Holden Commodore. Herald Sun 25/8/97
NHMRC Report Delayed Again
NSMA understands that the NHMRC has come under legal pressure from the Tobacco Industry yet again and the release of an amended draft of the Report on the Effects of Passive Smoking has been further delayed. NSMA believes that this report is being delayed to inhibit available medical knowledge as the issue is debated in the Parliaments of Australia. The strategy has been a brilliant success. The report has been delayed while the issue was discussed by the A.C.T., South Australian, N.S.W. and now W.A. parliaments. The tobacco industry's report has been extant, and their work on air conditioning has been ongoing.
The Federal government has at last given its responses to the Herron Report, the Senate Select Committee report on the Tobacco Industry and the Costs of Tobacco-Related Illness' In short, the government is going to do very little.
Rothmans Accused of Launching "Kiddie Packs"
Health experts accused Rothmans of deliberately targeting children, with the launch of. Rothmans launched its Holiday 20's brand. At the Rothmans Annual General Meeting Respiratory Physician Dr Bill Musk suggested that Holiday 20's, the new smaller, cheaper cigarette packs, at an introductory price of $2.95 were designed to entice children. They also rejected suggestions that the launch date, July 1, which coincided with the start of the school holidays was deliberate. ACOSH director Susan Hoare said that for the price of a hamburger a child could now pick up a packet of cigarettes. West Australian: 11-12/7/97
Tobacco Loophole For Super League?
A report on tobacco advertising bans has opened the way for cigarette sponsorship of Super League. The Rassaby report, released by Federal Health Minister Michael Wooldridge, said it would be almost impossible to refuse a sponsorship application for Super League because of its global impact via pay TV. The health minister may approve exemptions from Australia's ban on tobacco sponsorship for internationally significant sporting events. Gold Coast Bulletin 6/9/97
It might be noted that Superleague is owned by Rupert Murdoch who is on the board of Philip Morris.
Aussie Campaign Not Much Good
Professor Stan Glantz, the founder of American for Non-Smokers' Rights was brought to Adelaide by the National Heart Foundation last year to assess our progress. To the surprise of many Adelaide health professionals, he wasn't overly impressed. "He told us we were world leaders and had the infrastructure in place - but we weren't reducing smoking" said the Heart Foundation's executive director, Bob McEvoy. Adelaide Advertiser, 8.9.97
Regular readers of Update will be less surprised!
Report Calls for More to Spent Combating Drugs
A review of the national anti-drug effort called, Mapping the Future, has found that just over 2% of the $7 billion worth of taxes collected on alcohol and tobacco is spent on research, treatment and prevention programs. The report urges state and federal ministers to pour more of the tax revenue into the fight against drugs. The Australian, 21/7/97.
Local Firms 'Must Admit Cigarettes Kill'
Tobacco companies in Australia should come clean, as their US companies had and admit smoking kills, leading health groups said yesterday. Action on Smoking and Health, the National Heart Foundation and the Australian Cancer Society yesterday launched a campaign in Sydney aimed at stopping WD&HO Wills, Philip Morris Ltd and Rothmans from denying smoking caused damage. Mercury 6/9/97
Florida Wins $A15b Tobacco Settlement
Florida settled its lawsuit against the US tobacco industry on 25 August for $15.7 billion ($A21.5) which the State's governor hailed as the industry's biggest cash payout. It is expected to boost pressure on all Australian governments to consider similar action against tobacco companies.
10th World Conference on Tobacco or Health
10th World Conference on Tobacco or Health held in Beijing. Theme: 'Tobacco: the growing epidemic'
Nearly 1,500 of the world's experts on smoking and tobacco control meet in Beijing from 24-28 August for the 10th World Conference on Tobacco or Health. New figures, spelling out the current toll of death and illness wrought by tobacco world-wide and the catastrophic scale of the epidemic still to come, were revealed to delegates from China and 76 other nations. The triennial conference marks 30 years of the tobacco control movement and is the first to be held in a developing Asian country. The choice of Beijing was an acknowledgement both of the enormity of the tobacco problem in that country and the ongoing efforts by China to combat the ever-increasing threat from tobacco company expansion. One in three of all cigarettes smoked in the world today are smoked in China. The opening ceremony was in the Great Hall of the People in the presence of China's President, Mr Jiang Zemin.
At the Conference Dr Hiroshi Nakajima, Director-General of the World Health Organisation (WHO), termed the growing tobacco epidemic 'A fire in the global village' and called upon 'all neighbours' to combat this 'avoidable public health disaster'. He said that new evidence shown that about half of all persistent smokers are eventually killed by tobacco. The tobacco epidemic has reached its peak in highly industrialised countries and is now escalating in less developed ones, causing about 3.5 million deaths annually, a number that will increase to 10 million during the 2020s. 55% per cent of these deaths are occurring in middle age (35-69), robbing those killed of around 22 years of life.
A French doctor, Jerome Talmud, presented a survey in 1994 which found 40% of French youth were smoking 20 cigarettes a day. In Beijing his latest survey of 7,011 sportspeople found that those who did sport smoked only half as much, but it depended very much on which sport they did. Individual sports have less smokers than team sports: Boxing and Triathlon had 0%, Cycling = 3%, Athletics = 6%, but Soccer had 35%, and Rugby 38%. He is interested in co-operating in a global survey if anyone is interested:- Docteur Jerome Talmud Fax 33 5 59 29 22 23
Smoking on the outer decks of Sydney's ferries was banned from 28th August with fines of $500.
Stomach Cancer Caused By Cigarettes
More than 40 per cent of stomach and oesophageal cancer cases could be blamed on smoking and quitting did not cut the risk for 30 years, US researchers reported in the Journal of the National Cancer Institute. Canberra Times, p7, 4/9/97
Tobacco Even Causes RSI!
An study of 117 workers by K. Maeda has shown that there is a high incidence of cervico-brachial syndrome, another name for RSI in cigarette workers in Japan.
Puffers Teeth Are Going Up In Smoke
Pack-a-day smokers can expect to lose two teeth every 10 years, according to the U.S. Academy of General Dentistry
Health Advocacy is Vital-New Research
Prof Simon Chapman has pointed out two recent important papers. Both underline the critical role of public health advocacy for legislative, structural and fiscal reform. One states that despite new medical treatments, changes in cancer mortality have been disappointing. The most promising approach to the control of cancer is a national commitment to prevention The second deals with cardiovascular disease.
The conclusion: "...The evidence suggests that such interventions implemented through standard health education methods have limited use in the general population. Health protection through fiscal and legislative measures may be more effective."
1. Bailar JC, Gornik HL. Cancer undefeated. N Engl J Med 1997;336:1569-74.
2. Ebrahim S, Smith GD. Systematic review of randomised controlled trials of multiple risk factor interventions for preventing coronary heart disease. BMJ 1997;314:1666-74.
Quitting May Be Too Late for Cancer
Researchers at the University of Pittsburgh Cancer Institute conducted a study that found that heavy smoking triggers a countdown to lung cancer that cannot be reversed by quitting. According to the researcher Dr Jill Siegfried consistent smoking throws a biological switch that can stimulate uncontrolled growth of cells. The switch had been turned on in 77% of people who had smoked for more than 25 "pack years" (a pack year was defined as the equivalent of one pack of cigarettes a day). However, this was not the case for those who had only smoked for just a few pack years where just 14.7% of switches were turned. Herald Sun 23/8/97
Smokers should still quit, however as cardiovascular risk falls in 24 hours- Ed.
There are a number of legal actions underway that have implications for tobacco control in Australia. The following list is not comprehensive, but gives a summary of some of the legal actions and where they are up.
US settlement negotiations
The negotiated settlement which may go to Congress is a result of talks between 37 state Attorneys General, the tobacco industry and some of the public health advocates in the USA. President Clinton has not endorsed the settlement, which most activists feel has given the tobacco industry immunity for too little. Most of its concessions have already been achieved in Australia.
Local Legal Cases
ACOSH has applied for legal aid from the Federal Attorney General's Department to run cases based on the US concept document.
Philip Morris took action in June 1994 against the Commonwealth of Australia trying to invalidate the Tobacco Advertising Prohibition Act on the constitutional grounds that it undermined freedom of speech rights. The court has told the Commonwealth it must prove the relationship between smoking and health, as the stated objective of the Act is to promote public health.
Wills is suing Rothmans over their intended launch of a cigarette brand called Paramount, which is very similar in packaging design to Horizon. If Wills wins, Rothmans will have to pulp $20 million worth of cigarettes. The case has been adjourned.
One would think that if cigarettes can be pulped over a trade mark dispute, then we could get court orders to put cigarettes under the counter with no point of sale promotion.
Mrs Cremona is suing The Tobacco Institute, Philip Morris, Rothmans, WD&HO for injuries from smoking. She has lung cancer and has had a lung transplant.
The Tobacco Advertising Prohibition Act in NSW has been tested by Carcosa v Basil Czerwaniw as agent for NSW Health Department. The judgement confirms that advertising that can be seen from a public place is an offence.
Marlene Sharp v Port Kembla Hotel and Port Kembla RSL club is the first passive smoking claim in the Supreme Court launched by a hospitality worker. She alleges that she contracted throat cancer exposure to ETS from working in a hotel for 10 years, followed by 10 years in a club. She has overcome a time constraint and her case will now proceed.
Sara Hodson is suing WD&HO Wills in a case which will test whether or not smokers will be able to claim their costs of quitting from the Small Claims Tribunal in each state. Wills failed to stop the case on legal technicalities and it will proceed later in 1997 or early 1998.
The High Court decision which stopped state governments from collecting tobacco and alcohol excise has effectively made the States even more dependent on the Commonwealth. For the moment it satisfactory from a non-smoking point of view as the Commonwealth had to raise the tax to the highest state, which resulted in 15-20 cents a pack increase. But a Commonwealth that is dedicated to lowering taxes may be a problem in future. Ngo Ngo Ha & Anor v State of NSW and Ors.
The Californian EPA Report on ETS, the first comprehensive governmental analysis in the US since the 1986 Surgeon General's Report, is now out. A summary is available from NSMA.
Tobacco or Health: A Global Status Report - Country Profiles by Region, 1997 can be obtained through distributors of WHO publications ordered from: WHO 1211 Geneva 27 Switzerland. Fax: 41 22 791 4851
New Zealand News
ASH (NZ) has applied for legal aid to fund the action being taken on behalf of 45 people who began smoking before the warnings of cigarette packets were introduced in 1974.
One in three Maori are killed by tobacco according to Murray Laugesen. Maoris currently have the highest reported rates for men and women for lung cancer for any cancer registry in the world. Up to 200 deaths per year in New Zealand are caused by passive smoking.
The Smoke-free Environments Amendment Bill was passed in July, and provides for an onus on retailer to purchasers are over 18, no packs sold may have less than 20 cigarettes and restriction of price notices in both size, number and style. (Price notices which were used as an advertising loophole are now restricted to 90 by 55 mm, and black print on a white card, with only the name of the tobacco product and its usual logo, pack size, price and tar and nicotine). Interestingly, the bill does nothing for smoke-free air.
World News Flash
After years continuing smoking in Asia, United Airlines and American Airlines went smoke-free on all international flights from July 1.
|The Non-Smokers' Movement of Australia Inc, Box K860, Haymarket NSW 1240.
|This page was last updated on 7th August, 2012.
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