|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 9, November 1995
It's Time For Smoke-Free Air
On the eve of the release of the National Health and Medical Research Council's report on Environmental Tobacco smoke, it is clearly historical time in Australia for Smoke-Free indoor air legislation. The ACT, which passed it for restaurants, is almost at its implementation date, and knowing that it is coming has made a big difference to the way people think about smoking in restaurants.
NSW has a new government, somewhat tainted by broken election promises but pledging support for preventive health. Dr Peter Macdonald, Independent for Manly has already introduced a bill in the last parliament, and will again. The question is whether the major parties have the courage to go ahead with it.
It is hard to see other State parliaments going ahead a t present, but it would be nice to be proved wrong. What is going to be needed is the biggest campaign that the NSMA has ever waged. It is the key issue for members as it always has been. So if you live in NSW please ask your local MP to introduce Smoke-Free indoor air legislation. Mention a personal experience that you have had where your evening was ruined by smoke, or other hazards that you know about. hand-written letters are best.
Action Point 1
Bob Carr, Premier of NSW
Macquarie St., Sydney 2000
and ask for Smoke-Free indoor air legislation.
NSMA Asks Queensland Health Minister to Increase Tobacco Taxes
NSMA President, Dr Arthur Chesterfield-Evans recently visited Queensland and asked Health Minister, Peter Beattie to raise tobacco taxes to the same level as in other states. Queensland's taxes are only 75% of those in other states, resulting in bootleg cigarettes crossing the border, and a network bringing cigarettes that have not had duty paid on them. This undermines retailers who pay states taxes.
The Minster replied that while he would like to get extra revenue from the taxes to promote health, that it was a matter of great pride to Queensland that their taxes were lower, and that Treasury would be reluctant to raise them.
It is generally accepted that a 10% price rise causes a 4.5% drop in adult smoking, but about a 25% drop in child smoking. The drop in child smoking is about half due to a drop in child recruitment to smoking, and about half because children smoke less. However, the Tobacco companies have been running a case that while taxes have caused prices to rise over the last few years, child smoking has still
increased. The tobacco companies logic in this is to keep taxes low as it does not make any difference to child recruitment, and -you guessed it- to do more research to find out why children smoke. Meanwhile there is more and more smoking arranged in films and video clips.
Clearly a campaign is needed to get the Queensland Premier, Treasurer, and Health Minister to raise taxes.
Action Point 2
Write and ask to one or more Queensland politicians to raise taxes to the other states' levels:
Wayne Goss, Premier or
Keith Delacey, Treasurer or
Peter Beattie, Minister of Heath at
Brisbane QLD 4000
Sarah Hodson Wins Right to Sue
On 19th October Dr Sarah Hodson won the right to sue for the cost of her Quit programme in the Consumer Claims tribunal. It is not that she has yet won in the Tribunal. She tried to sue for $1000, which she estimated was the cost of her quitting. However, W.D and H.O. Wills Tobacco challenged the jurisdiction of the tribunal. This was what was heard. Naturally the tobacco companies do not want the Consumer Claims Tribunal to be able to hear claims as there
are no lawyers in the Tribunal and it is possible that many smokers could win small victories there for the costs of their Quit programs or medical expenses. The tobacco companies may yet appeal again.
Thoracic Society Debate Presages N.H. & M.R.C.'s ETS Report
The Thoracic Society, a group of doctors with an interest in chest diseases held a meeting on 18th October to debate the effects of Environmental Tobacco Smoke (ETS). Drs Julian Lee and David McKenzie, Thoracic Physicians and Prof Bill Dunsmuir, a Statistician contended that the studies on passive smoking had statistical confidence limits that meant that in most cases it was possible that there was no difference between those exposed to passive smoking and those who were not. They also said that there were huge methodological problems in studies as it was hard to prove who had and had not been exposed to passive smoking. Also studies which showed no difference were unlike to be published as they were 'not news' so they argued that the medical journals were biased.
On the other side of the argument were Dr Peter Le Souef, a Paediatric Respiratory Physician, Prof. Richard Taylor an Epidemiologist on the National Health and Medical Research Council working party on ETS and Dr Simon Chapman of Community Health, who is also on the N.H. & M.R.C. Working Party. Dr Le Soeuf presented new evidence that children exposed to passive smoking both in the uterus before birth and as babies had more health problems. Prof. Richard Taylor argued that while some studies did not show a difference, most did and the difference in disease rates (relative risks) were about 30%. There was a lot of debate over whether a 30% increase in disease was significant in view of the difficulties of getting accurate exposure data. Professor Taylor stated that as there was no proof of any safe level of tobacco 30% was enough to demand action. Dr Chapman was sharply critical of people who took money from the tobacco companies, and by implication, Lee's group, and questioned their expertise as they had not published in epidemiology journals.
The meeting became quite heated both on the ethics of tobacco funded research, and the significance of a 30% increase in disease risk. The Lee team claimed that tobacco company funded research had come to similar conclusions as non-tobacco funded research, hence was not tainted. Activists point out that the tobacco companies do the research so that they can say it is not 'proved' and they can waste a bit more time before political action to stop them comes. They do not really care if the research is adverse to them- they have gained a few extra years of sales!
Professor Dunsmuir denied being a tobacco lackey and said that while active smoking may be harmful, he was sick of science being used to prove as political points, and that the statistics on ETS were not impressive. Dr David McKenzie said that action on tobacco should be taken on public health grounds, rather than the fact that ETS is harmful.
Dr Peter Macdonald, the Manly MP, pointed out that all this was fiddling about details while people died of lack of political action on tobacco. A Professor from North Shore Hospital said it was important that the issue not be politicised, while Dr Chesterfield-Evans said that it was important that it was and asked that the Thoracic Society give support to Smoke-Free legislation.
When the N.H. And M.R.C. report is released shortly, this debate will be heard throughout the land and it is to be hoped that the medical profession gets behind the push for smoke-free legislation at last!
Health Australia Group Meets
Health Australia, the group set up in the last budget with $19 million over 3 years to spend on reducing tobacco use in Australia is holding meetings. Early conclusions are:
There is a need for A National Tobacco Strategy. Maurice Swanson of WA and Muriel Schultz of NSW are to co-ordinate writing one based on the NSW strategy, and incorporating the principles for action stated by tobacco control groups at the NSW Cancer Council in July.
A key Issues was that NGOs and State health departments need to be more involved, as the previous agenda which based all action on the Commonwealth' Dept of Health running an advertising campaign was unacceptable.
Non Smoking Groups
The NSMA AGM was held at La Rustica Restaurant in Sydney and followed by a most enjoyable dinner evening. Office Bearers: Dr Arthur Chesterfield-Evans President, Brain Mc Bride VP, Kelly Betts Secretary, Jim Proctor, Treasurer, and Committee, Mitchell Smith, Owen Graham, Kay Moncrieff, Brian Robson, Murray Howlett, Liesel Scholem and Tim Brokenshire. Meeting are 6pm on 2nd Wednesday each month. Members welcome.
The Survey of NSMA members in last Update showed that 44% thought environmental tobacco smoke (ETS) the most important issue, 26% advertising, 13% access of children, 10% tobacco tax and 6% tobacco litigation.
Judith Watt, formerly a campaigner from ASH (UK), and brought back to Australia by Steve Woodward, formerly of ASH (Aust), has been appointed head of Quit Victoria. Michelle Scollo is a hard act to follow. Good luck Judith!
Noni Walker has resigned as head of the Australian Council on Smoking and Health (ACOSH) from the end of the year. She will be sorely missed, as she was extremely helpful to everyone in the non-smoking cause. Her job has been advertised.
Margaretha is a weekly volunteer at the NSMA office, helping with an overdue spring clean, the mailing of Update and delivering thousands of join form in letter box drops. If you can help as she has, please give Kelly a call and help keep the office as efficient as it can be.
The World Medical Association Secretary-General has called on its 64 national medical associations to lobby the International Civil Aviation Organisation to ignore the tobacco industry and implement the Smoke-Free Skies policy by July 1 1996. Herald-Sun 5/10/95
NSW Billboards Went- Caps Came.
All NSW tobacco billboards were removed by 26th September. In the week before their removal many of them were changed to publicise the Winfield Cup final, and 40,00 caps with Winfield on them were distributed at the Grand Final, which will keep the memory of the tobacco sponsorship alive, and the Australian team at the World Rugby League Cup in the UK in October were named the Winfield Kangaroos. Now they have won the World Cup. there is to be a ticker tape parade. Clearly the industry intends to advertise as long as it can, and unfortunately the Australian Rugby League's idea of loyalty is to help promote Winfield. The BBC complained that Australia broke the British law by wearing the Winfield clothing.
Lawrence Grants Grand Prix Exemption
Health Minster, Dr Carmen Lawrence has granted an exemption from the Tobacco Advertising Prohibition Act for the organisers of the 1996 Melbourne Formula 1 Grand Prix. Australia will advertise like a 3rd World country as usual
News In Brief
A new study of Victorian schools by the Centre for Adolescent Health has shown that 1 in 5 Year 11 girls are smoking more than 10 cigarettes a day. Boys are smoking less than girls. This is similar to a US study from Michigan which found a 30% increase in smoking in 8th graders between 1991 and 1994, and that in the 1980s cigarette promotion more than quadrupled. MMWR 21/7/95
The Brown and Williamson documents telling of the knowledge the company had of the harm of smoking while publicly denying it are now on the World Wide Web and being accessed by 4,200 people a day.
Price wars among the tobacco industry in Australia have lowered both the share prices about 5% and the profits of both Rothmans and Wills Tobacco Wills said it might even make a loss for the year ending in December. The Australian market has fallen about 4% this year. SMH 18/120/95
A new study has shown that the most cost-effective way to stop smoking is for doctors to tell their patients to stop. Archives on Internal Medicine, Oct 1995.
A number of articles in the July 19th issue of the Journal of the American Medical Association (JAMA) look at evidence that the tobacco industry knew the harmful effects of tobacco for 30 years while continuing to publicly deny this. Most recently the industry has hounded people that it thought had access to these documents in a last-ditch effort to prevent their becoming public. But they are now out! The editorial is 'The Brown and Williamson documents- Where do we go from here?' and the AMA asks for action. Brown and Williamson is part of the same company as Wills in Aust.
ASH (US) has a site on the Internet with the documents http://ash.org/ash/.
Reports from the US have claimed that Philip Morris has been televising ads on closed circuit TV in petrol stations, and that cigarette and alcohol manufacturers are marketing on the Internet.
Tobacco is the most subsidised crop in Europe. Italy produces 50% of Europe's tobacco, Greece 30% Spain 10% and France 7%. Some poor quality dark tobacco is worth 2c a kg yet subsidised $US2.65 a kg.
The Wall Street Journal has published a letter from an advertising agency for Lorillard Tobacco asking the head of an Art Department to design a cigarette pack that would appeal to kids. 'Letter from a Tobacco Company to an Art Professor', Wall St. Journal 21/8/95 B1
Smoking increased in American youth in the period 1991-1994 according to a University of Michigan study. In 8th graders it rose from 14.3 to 18.6%, in 10th graders from 20.8 to 25.4% and in Seniors from 27.8 to 31.2%. 75% of 8th graders said it was 'very easy' or 'fairly easy' to get cigarettes. Washington Post 20/7/95
Organisers of the Cape Town to Rio yacht race, had to deal with an entry called Nicorette. They knocked it back as Rothmans were the sponsors, but the tobacco company allowed it. Bit of a worry for them- the boat is very fast!
The National Fatwa Council in Malaysia will meet at the end of the Year to decide if smoking is a more serious sin. It is presently considered a minor sin among Muslims. The Star 11/10/95.
Australian Mortgages are offering cheaper home loans to non-smokers because it believe that non-smokers are healthier and a better risk. The loan rate was 9.2%, up to 1.2% better than most banks.. Director Ron Guthrie said that their research had shown that the homes had a lower chance of burning down, and the people had a lower chance of a significant illness. Added to this the $6.40 saved per day added to $116,800 over 25 years. Borrowers have to sign a statutory declaration that they will stay off cigarettes. Tele-Mirror 27/10/95
The US FDA (Food and Drug Administration) has a proposal to restrict cigarette sales to minors. The proposal is somewhat limited, and will only take the US to where Australia is already, apart from the obligation on retailers to verify the age of young people buying cigarettes. It would, however, be a big steep forward for the USA. The tobacco institute and advertising groups are spending heaps to generate apparent opposition to the moves. ASH (US) is trying to get support.
A Federal Judge has dismissed two class actions against Philip Morris that alleged that they hid the fact that nicotine was addictive, saying the company had only expressed an opinion. One of the plaintiffs was the State of Florida. Australian 13/9/95
Stanton Glantz is in the US National Cancer Institute top 10 researchers, yet the House Appropriations Committee has taken his funding, an unprecedented act. A recent ad by 29 scientists in the NY Times claims that the tobacco industry is determining scientific priorities and stopping him publishing. So much for freedom of speech in the USA.
Nicotine patches lower fibrinogen levels and may reduce the risk of heart attacks according to researchers in the University Hospital in Wales. Herald-Sun 29/10/95
Foreign tobacco companies have made little progress into the market in Thailand. The market was opened under US trade pressure 4 years ago yet foreign brands have only 3% of the market. US companies blame this on Thailand's advertising ban. Now Thailand has a new strategy- to force companies to list ingredients. Their suggested law is an exact translation of the successful Canadian one. And it looks like being supported by the government. Asian Wall St Journal 8/9/95. One thing that Thailand has that few countries have is a pride in themselves, and an unwillingness to kow-tow to the US. Confidence like this come from not having been invaded in 1000 years.
Second Marlboro Man dies. David McLean, an actor who played the Marlboro man in TV commercials died at 73 of lung cancer. He was the second Marlboro Man to die in the last 3 years, Wayne McLaren being the previous one.
'Peer pressure doesn't come out of the ozone layer. These guys created it in their marketing lab..' Ellen Goodman in Washington Post, speaking of tobacco industry marketing.
'A cigarette is a roll of paper with a small fire at one end and a large fool a the other. Some of its chief benefits are cancer of the lips and stomach, softening of the brain, funeral processions and families shrouded in grief. Although a great many people know this, they still keep smoking to appear sophisticated'. 'Commercial Appeal', Memphis, Tennessee 17/10/1895.
The 1996 SE Asian Conference on Smoking and Health will be in Hong Kong organised by the Mr Y.W.Chan, Council on Smoking and Health G/F, 266 Queen's Rd East, Wanchai, Hong Kong. It is in Hong Kong on 24-25 October 1996. ph (852) 2838-8822, fax (852) 2575-3966
A new volume of 'Tobacco-Facts and Issues' is now available from Quit Victoria on (03) 9663-7777, $60. It is a vital resource for people interested in tobacco in Australia.
Americans For Non-Smokers Rights (ANR) has a new 20 page Youth Advocacy guidebook, 'How To Butt In', which teaches lobbying skills in young people language. $US4.50. Contact Tricia Brazil at 510-841-3032
Letters to the Editor
A letter to Secretary Kelly Betts from Roy Bishop had the following comment, relating to the praise for Peter Wilenski in his obituary as the man who made the Federal Public Service Smoke-Free:
"Next time Arthur chooses to think it was something other than my 10 year battle with the Commonwealth which brought about Non-Smoking in the Commonwealth Public Service, would you kindly correct him please".
Roy enclosed impressive support for his contention, including a summary of his case in the Administrative Appeals Tribunal of 14/10/85 (No. A84/109), and a letter of advice from the Attorney-General department to the Dept of Health dated 13/8/86 advising that due to Bishop v. Commonwealth of Australia (1982) 5 ALD 247 and his second case 8ALD N219, that it should be done.
Don't worry Roy. Arthur has noticed that it is 45 years since smoking was shown to cause lung cancer, with still no general smoke-free legislation in Australia, and Health Charities still spending only a tiny fraction of their budgets on tobacco, he is rapidly coming to the conclusion that only legal action works, and that is what should be done.
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Our Address is: Non-Smokers' Movement of Australia, Box K860, Haymarket NSW 1240.
|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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