ACOSH Advocacy in Action - 11 June

Welcome to the latest edition of the ACOSH Advocacy in Action e-bulletin for 2020. We aim to provide topical information on advocacy for tobacco control in Western Australia, Nationally and around the world. Please forward to others who may be interested. Thank you for your support.

The work of ACOSH is generously supported by Healthway and Lotterywest.

Dear subscribers to the ACOSH Advocacy in Action e-bulletin – Please keep safe during this challenging period for public health.

Graphic attached reproduced with the kind permission of AMA WA.

ACOSH Advocacy Action 1971 – 1999

ACOSH has published an online resource on advocacy strategies and achievements of ACOSH from its establishment in 1971 to 1999.

The aim of the resource is to assist health professionals, students of public health and other health sciences, in public health advocacy by providing case studies on successful advocacy for tobacco control in WA and nationally.


World No Tobacco Day 2020, Sunday 31 May: Our kids must be protected from the tobacco industry

“The Australian Council on Smoking and Health, Cancer Council WA, and the Australian Medical Association (WA) urged Health Minister Hon Roger Cook MLA on World No Tobacco Day to work with his fellow Health Ministers to limit the tobacco industry’s ability to addict children and youth to nicotine and tobacco.

“Australian Council on Smoking and Health Chief Executive, Maurice Swanson, said there is currently no legislation in Australia that controls the contents or design of the worlds most addictive and lethal consumer product that kills more than 20,000 Australians each year.

“We are calling on the Health Minister, Hon Roger Cook MLA, to work with Australian Health Ministers to urgently support the introduction of new legislation that controls the content and design of tobacco products to reduce their addictiveness,” Mr Swanson said.

“This includes:

• Prohibit the sale and importation of all tobacco products that contain flavourings including menthol.
• Prohibit the use of squeeze filter capsules that contain flavourings.
• Require a single filter type for all cigarettes, including a ban on filter venting.
• Require tobacco companies to fully disclose all additives in tobacco products and the purpose for their inclusion.”

Hon Roger Cook published the media statement “Next step needed to protect children from tobacco harm,” which stated he is “planning to raise his concerns with Commonwealth, State and Territory health ministers to investigate whether new laws were needed to control the composition and engineering of cigarettes.”

The statement received media coverage on page 2 of the Sunday Times, 31 May 2020.


Big Tobacco eyeballs another defeat on plain packaging in the World Trade Organization

“Looks like a total victory – eleven years since we recommended it as part of the National Preventative Health Strategy, ten years since the then government announced their intention to legislate, nine years since Nicola Roxon introduced the legislation, eight years since implementation despite desperate industry opposition, strongly supported by governments of both sides, now in place or on the way in more than twenty countries – and the industry losing every legal battle.

So a great win,” said Emeritus Professor Mike Daube AO.

See also
Tobacco plain packaging: Decisive legal victory should encourage more countries to follow Australia’s lead – McCabe Centre for Law & Cancer


A really bad day in the office for Big Tobacco – TGA rejects Heated Tobacco Products

The Therapeutic Goods Administration has rejected an application form Philip Morris Limited Australia to amend the Poisons Schedule to make Heated Tobacco Products (HTPs) available in Australia.

“I am not satisfied that there is a net public health benefit from wider availability of nicotine in the form of HTPs. I do not consider that HTPs would make a significant contribution to population harm reduction if I agreed to amend the Poisons Standard as proposed in the application. I consider that maintaining the current scheduling for HTPs is necessary to protect public health from the risks associated with introducing a new nicotine product for non therapeutic use. I note that the current pathway to supply Schedule 4 nicotine products for smoking cessation is available for HTPs. An application for registration on the ARTG could be made, which would involve assessment of the safety, efficacy and quality by the TGA, consistent with the requirements for existing nicotine replacement products,” said the Delegate of the Secretary TGA.


Australians used the coronavirus lockdown to kick their smoking habits

“There are signs that thousands of Australians used the coronavirus shutdown to give up smoking.

“Federal Health Minister Greg Hunt says between January and May this year, the My Quitbuddy app was downloaded more than 24,000 times, a staggering 310 per cent increase over the same time last year.

“These figures are very encouraging and I congratulate those who have taken the first step,” Mr Hunt said in a statement on Sunday, coinciding with World No Tobacco Day.

“Quitting is not always easy, but assistance is available and the benefits are significant.”


Do stress, life satisfaction, depression and alcohol use predict quitting among Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander smokers?

“To examine whether baseline measures of stress, life satisfaction, depression and alcohol use predict making or sustaining quit attempts in a national cohort of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander smokers. We found more smokers who reported negative life satisfaction, feeling depressed, higher stress or drinking heavily less often than once a week at baseline made a quit attempt between the baseline and follow‐up surveys. In contrast, of those smokers who had made quit attempts between surveys, more who reported higher stress were able to sustain abstinence for at least one month; other associations were inconclusive.

“We conclude that health staff and Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander smokers need not see being more stressed as an obstacle to quitting among Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people. Health staff should emphasise the benefits to mental health that come with successfully quitting smoking.”


Hardening or softening? An observational study of changes to the prevalence of hardening indicators in Victoria, Australia, 2001–2016

“Contrary to the hardening hypothesis, as smoking prevalence decreased in Victoria between 2001 and 2016, the prevalence of seven of eight hardening indicators also decreased. These results suggest that Victorian smokers may have softened over time. In addition, the proportion of current smokers classified as hardcore dropped below 10% in 2016, which equates to just 1.2% of the Victorian population aged 26+in 2016. The proportion of smokers categorised as having given up trying to quit was also consistently around 1%. These results suggest that the comprehensive tobacco control programme implemented in Victoria has contributed to reductions in the prevalence of smoking and to reductions in how dependent and content the remaining smokers are to keep smoking.”

Big tobacco using Trojan horse tactics to exploit Indigenous peoples

“The tobacco industry has a long history of exploiting Indigenous peoples and their culture. During the 1980s, tobacco company WD & HO Wills ran racist advertising in Australia carrying the slogan ‘Get your own black’. In the late 1990s, Winfield advertisements depicted an Aboriginal man playing a didgeridoo with the slogan ‘Australians’ answer to the peace pipe’. More recently, Philip Morris International (PMI) has sold cigarettes in Israel labelled ‘Māori Mix’ and in the USA, R.J. Reynolds continues to market Natural American Spirit using Native American imagery. Thus, tobacco industry exploitation of Indigenous peoples continues.

“Thompson et al draw our attention to how the tobacco industry is now focusing on Indigenous peoples to promote their Alternative Nicotine Delivery Systems (ANDS). They discuss how Rothmans, Benson and Hedges targeted Indigenous health leaders, ostensibly to promote their vision of a smoke-free Canada but in a way that instead promoted switching to (their) ANDS products. By adopting a tone of remorse and packaging their marketing message in the language of reconciliation, the tobacco company’s products appear almost as an offering to make amends for their past misdeeds.”


Dangerous loopholes: Young e-cigarette users report swapping products as vaping policies change in the US

“In the months following the removal of certain flavors of JUUL, the popular brand at the center of the youth e-cigarette epidemic, young users switched to other brands still offering sweet and fruity flavors, especially newer disposable e-cigarettes like Puff Bars.

“Many flavored e-cigarettes remain on the market due to loopholes in the new federal policy, which only limits flavors for “closed pod” e-cigarettes, like JUUL, and exempts other types, including disposable and open-system, refillable devices.”


It’s Time for the Tobacco Industry to Pay

“The enormous burden the tobacco industry has placed on people and health systems worldwide has likely made COVID-19 damage more severe and recovery more difficult. Now more than ever, governments should hold the industry accountable for these costs. Here are tools that can help.”

McLaren Has a Virtual Race for ‘Nicotine Consumers’ This month

“The VELO x McLaren Racing Virtual Fan Race is the latest in a number of esports races set up while Formula 1 is on hold due to the COVID-19 pandemic. It’s based on the Codemasters F1 2019 game and starts on June 10. However, it has one strange stipulation for entrants: they need to be “nicotine consumers.”

“The entry form here on McLaren Racing’s website goes on to ask entrants if they consume British American Tobacco tobacco heating products (that’s a fancy term for vapes, Subaru drivers) and if they’d like to receive further information about Velo, the company’s pouches and lozenges that contain nicotine extracted from tobacco.

“If it’s not crystal clear by now, all of these are tobacco products, which seems pretty suspect given that tobacco advertising has been banned from F1 since 2006. Yet this is outside of F1’s events, season or organization entirely, which puts it outside of F1’s jurisdiction …”


Menthol Cigarettes: Tobacco Industry Interests and Interference

“Menthol cigarettes are key products in tobacco company portfolios, representing an estimated 10% of the global cigarette market according to the World Health Organization (WHO). Using flavouring agents as additives is thought to promote and sustain tobacco use, and therefore WHO recommends banning menthol and other flavours in cigarettes.”

ALERT: Philip Morris International Front Group Contacting Researchers About COVID-19

“STOP has been alerted that Philip Morris International’s Foundation for a Smoke-Free World (FSFW) is currently reaching out to researchers with an RFP seeking “significant collaboration” for research on the associations between COVID-19, smoking and nicotine use.

“In the letter, FSFW claims to “remain committed to achieving our goal of ending smoking in this generation.” Yet, its sole funder, PMI, continues to manufacture and market cigarettes around the world. Learn more about FSFW’s status as a PMI front group.

“We urge universities and research institutions not to take funding or engage with the tobacco industry or industry-funded organizations, including Foundation for a Smoke-Free World.”


Finance industry behind no tobacco

“The World Health Organisation’s director general, Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus has called the Tobacco-Free Finance Pledge the missing piece in the fight against tobacco. Credit Agricole and Amundi Asset Management have become the latest signatories to the pledge, in what is a timely decision ahead of World No Tobacco Day on Sunday.

“There are now 137 signatories to the pledge – which is commitment towards a tobacco free portfolio – with combined assets of more than $10 trillion.

“Founder of Tobacco Free Portfolios, Dr Bronwyn King hosted a webinar on Wednesday where CEO of Credit Agricole, Philippe and CEO of Amundi, Yves Perrier made comments alongside WHO chief, Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus and head of the PRI, Fiona Reynolds.

“Sustainable and tobacco do not belong in the same sentence,” King says. “We hope that on World No Tobacco Day that the finance sector will be inspired to put tobacco-free finance on the agenda and consider signing the pledge. The world needs leaders to impact these huge global issues, and if we bring the whole industry along it will be more impactful.”


Tweet of the Week

Tobacco Control News

Vaping Lingo Dictionary: A guide to popular terms and devices – Truth Initative

Hobart suburbs have highest smoking rates in Australia but coronavirus crisis is ‘opportunity’ for change – ABC News

Don’t risk oral cancer through tobacco use: ADA alerts tobacco users – Australian Dental Association

Smoking ban introduced for Bayside beaches – Bayside City Council

Exposing predatory marketing to children by tobacco and e-cigarette companies – Vic Health

Making tobacco companies responsible for our most common item of litter – PHAA Intouch Public Health