ACOSH Advocacy in Action - 11 March 2021

Welcome to the latest edition of the ACOSH Advocacy in Action e-bulletin for 2021.
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.

Senators claim retail lobby group ‘misled’ e-cigarette inquiry

“The National Retail Association has shrugged off claims that it misled the Senate inquiry into e-cigarettes, saying it is not legally required to disclose who funded its campaign that supported Philip Morris’ position on vaping.

“The NRA was the target of furious exchanges in the Senate as members of the Tobacco Harm Reduction inquiry cited revelations in The Australian Financial Review that tobacco giant Philip Morris had secretly channelled money to fund the campaign to legalise vaping.”

‘‘They gave a misleading submission to our inquiry because they fundamentally declined, and I would say covered-up, the fact that they had received very substantial funding from big tobacco,’’ Liberal senator Sarah Henderson told the Senate.

“A spokeswoman for National Retail told the Financial Review: ‘‘The NRA discloses its commercial arrangements as required by law. Otherwise they are confidential.’’

“Meanwhile Legalise Vaping Australia, another lobby group with ties to the tobacco industry, claimed the Financial Review was telling lies and urged its members to mount an email campaign targeting Senator Henderson, Labor senator Tony Sheldon and the Prime Minister’s office.”

Please contact ACOSH for a PDF copy of the article.



Crown Resorts commit to smoke-free indoor environments

Crown Resorts Limited announced today [5 March] that it will phase out indoor smoking at its Australian resorts by the end of December 2022.

Crown’s Executive Chairman, Helen Coonan, said: “We are committed to responding to community sentiment and expectations regarding smoking. Crown’s decision to phase out indoor smoking at its properties has been made in response to those shifting expectations. The health and safety of our employees, guests and the community are our priority.”

ACOSH welcomes this decision but considers the long phase out period for some gaming areas until December 2022 unnecessary given that restaurants, bars and airlines have been smoke-free for many years, and the prevalence of smoking continues to decline.

“Crown Casinos have finally given up smoking – the last enclosed workplace in WA to become smokefree. The exemption granted in 1999 for the high roller room to allow smoking was never evidence-based,” said Maurice Swanson, ACOSH Chief Executive.



Cochrane Review finds stopping smoking linked to improved mental health

“The Cochrane review, which summarises evidence from 102 observational studies involving nearly 170,000 people, found that people who stopped smoking for at least 6 weeks experienced less depression, anxiety, and stress than people who continued to smoke. People who quit also experienced more positive feelings and better psychological wellbeing. Giving up smoking did not have an impact on the quality of people’s social relationships, and it is possible that stopping smoking may be associated with a small improvement in social wellbeing.

“The lead author Dr Gemma Taylor from the Addiction & Mental Health Group at the University of Bath said: “Smokers often believe that cigarettes are the crutch they need when they feel low, but there is good reason to think that smoking is actually making them feel worse. The daily cycle of waking up with cravings, satisfying the cravings through smoking only to be back wanting another cigarette within hours has an understandable impact on how people feel. But get past the withdrawal that many smokers feel when they stop, and better mental health is on the other side.”

“From our evidence we see that the link between smoking cessation and mood seem to be similar in a range of people, and most crucially, there is no evidence that people with mental health conditions will experience a worsening of their health if they stop smoking.”



Public Consultation: Draft National Preventive Health Strategy

“In June 2019, the Minister for Health, the Hon Greg Hunt MP announced that the Australian Government would develop a 10-year National Preventive Health Strategy (the Strategy). In April 2020 due to the COVID-19 pandemic, the Minister agreed to delay the public consultation process and extend the timeframe of the Strategy until 2021.

“Consultation on the draft version of the National Preventive Health Strategy (the Strategy) is now live on the Australian Government Department of Health’s Consultation Hub.

“The draft Strategy will be available online for comment for a six week period and will close on Monday, 19 April 2021. The feedback received from the public consultation will assist the National Preventive Health Taskforce in finalising the Strategy, which is anticipated to launch in mid-2021.”

See also
National Preventive Health Strategy could transform Australian health – if action is taken – Media Release by the Public Health Association Australia



National Preventive Health Strategy: realising the opportunity to improve Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander health outcomes by addressing tobacco use

“With the Commonwealth Government’s National Preventive Health Strategy due for finalisation in the coming months, Dr Raglan Maddox, Professor Tom Calma AO, Dr Katherine Thurber and Associate Professor Raymond Lovett consider the opportunity to improve Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander health outcomes through a renewed urgent focus on tobacco use.”




TGA Webinar: Standard for unapproved vaporiser nicotine products

“The TGA is undertaking a consultation on standards for vaporiser nicotine. This includes vape liquids, e-liquids and e-juices that contain nicotine and/or nicotine salts.

“This does not include nicotine replacement therapies (NRTs) containing nicotine, such as patches, gum, lozenges, mouth spray and inhalators nor nicotine-containing products that are not intended for use in ENDs, such as chewing tobacco and snuff.

“This standard relates only to unapproved goods – that is, medicines that have not been approved by the TGA and are not registered in the Australian Register of Therapeutic Goods (ARTG).

“This webinar focuses on the proposed minimum safety and quality requirements for vaporiser nicotine products in Australia.”

The closing date for providing feedback on the proposed standard is 31 March 2021.



Targeting the European Commission: The 7 Lobbying Techniques of Big Tobacco

“Big Tobacco has been influencing policy to its advantage for decades—postponing, protesting, promoting untruths, playing the victim and pushing new technologies—in order to disrupt tobacco control policies. The World Health Organization’s (WHO) Framework Convention on Tobacco Control (FCTC) is the best global tool to combat tobacco industry interference, providing clear guidelines to protect public health policies and reduce tobacco-related deaths.

“A new report analyzes key contacts between the European Commission (EC) and the tobacco industry to better understand why the EC has struggled to implement a consistent policy around industry meetings. Download the report or brief to read about the seven identified tactics Big Tobacco uses to lobby the EC.”



New research highlights the immediate and deadly effects of cigarette smoke

“Quit Victoria and its partners today [26 Feb] launched a new public education campaign highlighting the immediate and deadly effects of cigarette smoke on the heart – and the link between smoking and Australia’s single biggest killer, heart disease.

The campaign, which will air on free-to-air TV from Sunday night, explains how within minutes of inhaling cigarette smoke, the blood becomes sticky, constricting the artery walls and making it harder to pump blood around the body. Sticky blood increases the chance of blood clots forming in the artery wall which can lead to a catastrophic heart attack.

“A recent Australian study showed that cardiovascular disease was almost three times higher for current smokers than those that never smoked, while new data out of the US showed that the earlier people stop smoking the lower their risk of dying from heart disease or stroke.”



Tobacco Tactics: Targeting women and girls

“In 1921 a bill was proposed in the US congress to ban women from smoking in the District of Columbia. Yet, as Amos and Haglund note, within a few decades the idea of women smoking was not only acceptable but desirable. As they describe:

“This was due not only to the dramatic changes in the social and economic status of women over this period, but also to the way in which the tobacco industry capitalised on changing social attitudes towards women by promoting smoking as a symbol of emancipation, a “torch of freedom”.

“The industry has long marketed smoking as a form of emancipation for women and a way to enhance their personal appeal. The specifics of the campaigns change from country to country and over time but the industry’s general approach has remained constant. And as the WHO said: “Selling tobacco products to women is currently the largest product-marketing opportunity in the world.” Some of these campaigns are set out in more detail below.”

See also
Women and the Tobacco Industry – STOP (Stopping Tobacco Organizations and Products) Brief



Big tobacco uses social media to spread cancer

“The tobacco industry has a long history of exploiting loopholes in laws that are meant to limit exposure to harmful advertising and promotions. Regulators have struggled to keep pace with the change in the digital media landscape and Big Tobacco, known for its innovative advertising, has deftly filled this regulatory void by operating accounts across popular social media platforms and engaging influencers to promote its deadly products.

“Philip Morris International, for example, runs a Facebook page with over 1.3 million followers, which it uses to undermine tobacco laws and a Twitter account that pushes messages about its supposed corporate social responsibility efforts. These corporate promotion campaigns frame tobacco companies as pioneering public health partners, who are socially responsible, all while pushing novel tobacco products as alternatives to cigarettes.”



Future of tobacco product regulation in Australia

“While tobacco smoking has declined substantially in recent decades, it remains the leading risk factor for disease in Australia. More than 2.7 million Australians smoke daily, and tobacco smoking harms disproportionally impact those in socio-economically disadvantaged populations, Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples, and those living with mental illness. Yet there is very little regulation of the constituents that make tobacco smoking addictive, harmful and palatable.”


Tweet of the week

“I’m not sure which wave of Feminism stands for women running businesses that addict and kill people? But the corporate exploitation of #IWD2021 is exemplified in this thinking,” said Associate Professor Becky Freeman.


Tobacco Control News

A toxic, plastic problem: E-cigarette waste and the environment – Truth Initiative

Big Tobacco asks regulator to convince people nicotine isn’t that bad – The Sydney Morning Herald

New report reveals tobacco lobbying of European Commission – European Public Health Alliance

‘Menthol-Plus’: a major category of cigarette found among ‘concept’ descriptor cigarettes from Mexico – Tobacco Control