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Protecting the rights of the Non-smoking majority
from tobacco smoke and from the tobacco industry's propaganda.
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Issue 24, May-June 1998
Keeping the Pressure on State Rail Authority
No Tobacco Today - Please!
NSMA campaigners decided to mark World No Tobacco Day on Sunday 31 May by handing out leaflets to commuters on railway stations drawing attention to the non-enforcement of the smoking bans on covered platforms and at the same time making an appeal to them to consider quitting in the spirit of "No Tobacco Day". A short form of the rather challenging message is shown below. This was designed to get their full attention!
YOU HAVE JUST ESCAPED A $200 FINE FOR SMOKING ON A COVERED RAILWAY PLATFORM. WHY NOT QUIT WHILE YOU ARE AHEAD AND SAVE THOUSANDS OF DOLLARS ON FUTURE CIGARETTE COSTS AS WELL AS SHOWING THAT YOU VALUE THE WELFARE OF YOUR FAMILY AND FRIENDS?
It was a worthwhile educational exercise because clearly the majority of smokers did not know they were breaking existing laws, such is the pathetic policy of the Carr Government. They try to win brownie points by having the "ban" on the books but they do nothing to promote it, let alone enforce it.
Our members were not aggressive and entered into friendly discussions with some smokers about the number of times they have tried to quit. We even offered our ongoing contact and support if it would help them to quit.
However our good Samaritan efforts were soon brought to an abrupt end on Parramatta when an officious Attendant told us that we were breaking regulations by handing out leaflets without the written authority of the Station Master. We restrained our laughter while pointing out to these smoking attendants that they seemed to be so quick enforcing the regulations which suited them while ignoring the ones that didn't. This was all to no avail and we were threatened with the Security Police if we did not immediately leave the station.
Security Staff Useless
Rather than spoil the day with confrontation we made our feelings clear but then obeyed the direction to leave each station when ordered to do so. Our intrepid group then moved on to the next railway station and started again. We did this on Parramatta, Granville and Westmead. When told to leave Granville station it was pointed out that three security staff standing on the platform would be called if we did not leave. We decided to call their bluff on this and approached the three members of NSW Police Force wearing badges saying "Rosehill Security".
State Rail Hypocrites
We complained that we were being told we were breaking one regulation while staff refused to enforce the other regulation. The Security Officer tried to appease us with a confident assurance that they always, and without exception, issue on-the-spot fines for smoking on the trains. However he said on platforms where there may be 150 people under the covered areas it is pretty difficult and we.ah..we,..ah......
He never got to finishing this gem of rationalization because just then a train arrived and he broke off in mid-sentence, saying "Sorry we must go" and away they went on the train! One has the feeling that security staff don't like being caught up in this selective enforcement of rules and will take any excuse to duck and run for cover.
Complaint To Ombudsman
We have lodged a complaint with the Ombudsman that both station attendants and security staff involved on 31 May incidents did not perform their duties correctly or efficiently. We won't hold our breath waiting for a thorough and fruitful investigation!
SRA Class Action
To all those members who registered their names with us to participate in the proposed Class action to sue for damages due to non-enforcement of existing laws we have to apologise for continuing delays. Our lawyers are not being optimistic and we are in the process of seeking a new set of spurs, if not a new horse, to speed up the process. We know our members are rightly fed up with "Clayton's laws" and we are determined to change this unsatisfactory situation. So be patient and keep supporting us and we will deliver in due course just as we did in the past with other difficult campaigns on buses, taxis, trains, airlines etc.
Action Point 1. Write to Mr. Carl Scully, Minister For Transport, Parliament House, Macquarie St., Sydney 2000. Send him the photo from this Update showing SRA Police failing to do their duty and ask him to advise you what action he will take.
SMOKING IN FLATS AND UNITS
The committee held a special meeting on 10 June to discuss these problems with several new members who are keen to tackle the issues and see what can be done. A broad strategy has been developed and we will keep you posted on further action. Meanwhile if you know of anyone experiencing the problem please let us know.
MORE PARRAMATTA ACTION
A survey of 778 diners in 14 restaurants in the Parramatta area was published in the Medical Journal of Australia. The results strongly supported the case for banning smoking. Although smokers ate out more often and drank more alcohol than Non-Smokers, non-smoking diners still outnumbered smokers by 3.5 to one. The survey authors were Dr. Simon Chapman, of Sydney University, and Western Sydney Area Health Service researchers Nerilyn Lee and Abdul Monaem. SMH 15/6/98.
SMOKE POLLUTION IN SHOPPING CENTRES
In response to complaints Brian McBride visited the Campsie Mall shopping centre on 5 June and confirmed that there are no "no smoking" signs within the centre other than a dividing line which allocates about one quarter of the Bistro to Non-Smokers. He observed that there were signs at three of the street entry points, but not from the car park. A typical sign says it is a "smoke-free shopping centre- except in designated areas. "It was pointed out to the Manager of the centre that people were smoking all over and that both policing and signage were entirely inadequate.
The manager was apologetic and agreed that he would place more signs within the centre but claimed he had no power to enforce the ban. Brian McBride drew his attention to Section 16 of the NSW Occupational Health and Safety Act 1983 which not only gave him the power but also the responsibility to protect members of the public from known health risks such as passive smoking. Members are asked to monitor the situation and if necessary a formal complaint can be made to Workcover NSW inspectors. Other action is planned with Winston Hills and Penrith Plaza shopping centres and we will keep you posted.
Our hard working President, Dr. Arthur Chesterfield-Evans, will be sworn in to take his seat in the NSW Legislative Council at 11 am on Monday 29 June 1998. He has been elected as NSW leader of the Democrats to replace the retiring Liz Kirkby. Arthur has submitted his resignation as President of NSMA to take effect on 25 June. Brian McBride will act as caretaker President until the next Annual General Meeting in October. On behalf of the Committee and members of NSMA we sincerely thank Arthur for his pioneering dedication to the cause over the last 11 years. He has been a fearless critic of the evil forces of the tobacco industry and his talents will be sorely missed. More about this in the next edition.
Cigarette Sales To Minors
The Northern Rivers Health Service based in Lismore claims that 44 per cent of tobacco retailers are still selling cigarettes to children.
Shake-Up Needed At Standards Australia
DRAFT AIR STANDARD NO: 96425 An alarming situation continues to develop while Standards Australia try to compromise on this vital new Air conditioning Standard which will govern air quality in Australia for years to come. There are two major concerns.
Firstly the Smoking Regulations Bill passed in NSW parliament in May 1997 delays the introduction of smoke-free restaurants, clubs and hotels until five years from the date when this new air quality standard is published. In other words the five year clock is not even running yet and the more the pro-tobacco forces delay it the longer the community will continue to suffer the disgraceful air pollution in these places.
Secondly and even more alarming problem is that Standards Australia seems intent on defining a low level of cigarette smoke as acceptable and indeed inevitable in air conditioning systems. All the Health Lobby Groups have been putting submissions forward for more than 12 months that there is no safe level of exposure and therefore the new standard must be based on a zero level of this totally avoidable and unnecessary contaminant.
Pontius Pilate Committee
Unfortunately the Chairman of this Standards Committee was the designer of special air conditioning systems installed in a few hotels and restaurants in Canberra. This was an attempt to beat the smoking bans there which were based on the unacceptable notion that a little bit of poison is OK provided you dilute the air sufficiently with high flow volumes. This means the Chairman could be seen to have a vested interest in "handling" polluted air rather than "eliminating" it. The response to all submissions so far has been a March 1998 statement by Standards Australia Executive Officer, Vince Aherne, that it is outside the mandate of the committee to find a solution to excluding tobacco smoke totally and hence it will have to define some level of acceptability. In other words they are trying to wash their hands of responsibility for taking the hard decision that zero level is the only sensible and scientifically sound way to go.
Liability For Future Damages
NSMA continues to make strong submissions including warning Standards Australia that it will be jointly liable for any future damages cases where proprietors of premises will defend themselves by claiming reliance on a defective "slightly contaminated" standard promulgated by that organisation.
The History So Far
The story is told on the Non-Smokers Movement of Australia web site- www.nsma.org.au. See Updates 16 and 20 which deal with the Standard, and 17 and 18 deal with the legislative debacle in NSW and South Australia. Members should review their back copies and start writing more letters now - don't leave it to others!
STRONG ACTION IS REQUIRED NOW
We invite all our members to support these actions:
Action Point 2. Write to Mr. V. Aherne, Standards Australia, PO Box 1055, Strathfield, NSW 2135 telling him how much smoke pollution you will accept. Ask that your views be put to the committee and that you receive a reply.
Action Point 3. Write or fax your phone contact details
to participate in a demonstration at 9.00 am on Friday 24 July
1998. Send to us (see front page) and details will be relayed
to you per phone.
60 MINUTES SOCKS IT TO THEM!
On Sunday 21 June 1998 Channel Nine screened a great program exposing the hypocrisy and dishonesty of Australian Tobacco company executives. This followed another legal victory in the USA where the court gave damages for the first time based on evidence that the tobacco company knowingly withheld information from a smoker about the health damage of smoking and which eventually caused his death from lung cancer. The program featured Bennet LeBow, owner of Liggett Tobacco, who has exposed the USA "big lie" of "big tobacco" by simply agreeing to tell the truth about the scientific proof of health damage which has been in the industry's hands for years. Presenter Liz Hayes pulled no punches as she pursued our local tobacco "heroes" and she screened the names of all twenty two Directors of Australia's three tobacco giants.
WD & HO WILLS Nick Greiner, Stuart Watterton
ROTHMANS Gary Krelle
PHILIP MORRIS Henry Goldberg
Liz singled out these four chiefs and said all refused to be interviewed but she had a written reply from Gary Krelle who said he had no direct knowledge of the revelations in the USA. How stupid does Gary think we are? Perhaps he is so used to selling lies to smokers that he is just addicted to story telling and can't help himself. Liz showed an attempted street interview with Nicoteen Greiner and the expression of real pain on his face as he refused to answer any questions about tobacco, was enough to make us reach for the tissues. The poor fellow - don't we realise he is not doing the drawback yet, he is just experimenting with cigarettes, at Director's fees level. They will have to boost his salary by a few more hundred thousand dollars before he will defend his employer by publicly destroying any shred of decency he may have left.
Quote: Tobacco Executives Are Bastards
We have all known this for years of course. Indeed, we have demanded that leading bastard, Nick Greiner, be sacked from the Olympics Board because he has no credibility in supporting a Smokefree Olympics, while ever he remains Chairman of the W D & HO Wills. However it was good to see USA Professor Stan Glantz appearing on the 60 Minutes Program where he gave a direct personal challenge to the four leaders of Australian tobacco companies. In response to Liz Hayes' hard hitting questions, Prof. Glantz said these people are "bastards" who should resign from their jobs of getting children addicted to a drug which will kill them and get themselves an honest job! He went on to describe tobacco executives and their paid researchers, lawyers and publicists as "cockroaches" working in the dark and trying to remain anonymous. As Liz Hayes observed anti smoking campaigners are now willing to get personal with these people. We fully agree! Why should failed politicians like Nicoteen Greiner grow fat and rich for promoting death and disease amongst Australian youth, particularly those 33% of pregnant woman who continue to smoke right through their pregnancies, thanks to the addiction inflicted upon them by these tobacco drug pushers.
BAT Secrets Out
Greiner's overseas parent company, BAT, decided in 1974 it would not try to stop pregnant women from smoking even thought it knew it could harm their unborn babies. Just think how many premature, malformed, unhealthy babies have been born since then. This should make an interesting subject for Nick and Kathryn (another aspiring civic leader) to discuss with their grandchildren.
Brilliant Anti-smoking TV Commercials in USA
For those who missed the 60 Minutes broadcast on TCN9 on 21/6/98 it started with some brilliant hard hitting anti smoking TV Ads as screened in the USA. The first showed a typical Marlboro cowboy on horseback rounding up people and locking them up in high fenced yard. The voice-over says this is how the tobacco companies spend millions to push you into smoking and once they do you are in for life. The gate is firmly bolted on young people staring out of the iron bars. Another TV Ad showed some tobacco executives in a smoke filled room discussing the quitting/dying statistics and the health risks and then declaring with loud cynical laughter "We are not in this business for our health"! Finally they showed cigarettes raining from the sky for young people in peer groups to catch in sheets while apologising to the parents in a soft oily voice "We have to sell to your children - we need half a million new smokers every year - so we have to do it - it is nothing personal". We will try to get permission to make copies of the program so if you are interested send in your details to go on a list.
Action point 4. Start writing to the newspapers and ringing talk back radio to draw attention to Australia's tobacco company liars. Demand that they be stripped of awards and titles like The Hon., AM, OBE, AC etc.
IMPORTANT HEALTH CONFERENCE
Medical experts from around the world gathered in Melbourne on 17/6/98 to examine the health risks to pregnant women who smoke. Federal Health Minister Michael Wooldridge opened the conference. Anne Jones from Action on Smoking and Health said tobacco and maternal smoking account for many of the problems encountered by pregnant women. These included high risk of premature birth, with underweight birth defects, breathing difficulties and greater risk from dying from smoking related illness.
The Conference was told that the Philip Morris and BAT tobacco companies knowingly kept the dangers of smoking from pregnant women for years. In subsequent radio interviews Anne Jones said if these claims were proved the revelation could result in thousands of compensation claims.
This important conference also heard about the deception practiced world-wide to keep the truth from the public. The flow-on from the Conference created great media interest and provide seasoned campaigners, Ann Jones and Stephen Woodward with plenty of opportunities for follow up TV and radio interviews.
THE BAD NEWS
On 18 June 1998 the US Senate effectively killed a $561bn package designed to deter teenage smoking and penalise tobacco companies. The Bill would have allowed federal regulation of nicotine, limited tobacco advertising and penalised cigarette makers if teen smoking did not decline. The result, driven by Republican Senators was a striking victory for the tobacco industry which had spent an estimated $40m on an advertising campaign which painted the Bill as a massive tax hike. There is virtually no hope that the legislation will survive, say political observers.
Ed Note. Some hope remains in that President Bill Clinton has vowed to continue his fight against teenage smoking, despite the Senate's rejection of this bill.
REMINDER - Keep 9.00 am to 10.am on Friday 24 July 1998 FREE. We need you to demonstrate that you will not accept any level of tobacco contamination in new Air Quality Standards.
|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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