ACOSH Advocacy in Action - 14 May

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.

Parliamentary Select Committee recommendations on e-cigarettes not evidence-based and irrelevant

The Australian Council on Smoking and Health, Cancer Council WA, and the Australian Medical Association WA, have advised the West Australian government to ignore recommendations on e-cigarettes made by three out of five members of a Parliamentary Select Committee of the Legislative Council.

Read the full Media Release by ACOSH, Cancer Council WA and the AMA WA.

See also
Final Report of the Select Committee on Personal Choice and Community Safety

Philip Morris International: The Beginning of the End?

“As Philip Morris International (PMI) shareholders meet online this week, the world’s health is in a precarious position, but so too is PMI. Already dealing with a long-term decline in its core business as people turn away from smoking, it now faces two new external crises (COVID-19 and the associated major economic recession) and a failure to diversify its tobacco-related products compared with other tobacco companies, which should concern investors…”


Increased susceptibility to infection in smokers

“Inhaling the complex chemical mixture of combustion compounds in tobacco smoke causes adverse health outcomes through mechanisms that include DNA damage, inflammation, impaired immune responses and oxidative stress.

“Smoking has substantial adverse effects on the immune system, both locally (such as in the respiratory tract and soft tissues in the lungs) and throughout the body. As a result, smokers are at increased risk of a wide range of infections.

“This chapter examines the evidence with respect to acute infections: pneumonia, meningococcal disease, tuberculosis, HIV, coronaviruses and other viral and bacterial infections.”



WHO statement: Tobacco use and COVID-19

“Tobacco kills more than 8 million people globally every year. More than 7 million of these deaths are from direct tobacco use and around 1.2 million are due to non-smokers being exposed to second-hand smoke.

“Tobacco smoking is a known risk factor for many respiratory infections and increases the severity of respiratory diseases. A review of studies by public health experts convened by WHO on 29 April 2020 found that smokers are more likely to develop severe disease with COVID-19, compared to non-smokers.

“COVID-19 is an infectious disease that primarily attacks the lungs. Smoking impairs lung function making it harder for the body to fight off coronaviruses and other diseases. Tobacco is also a major risk factor for noncommunicable diseases like cardiovascular disease, cancer, respiratory disease and diabetes which put people with these conditions at higher risk for developing severe illness when affected by COVID-19. Available research suggests that smokers are at higher risk of developing severe disease and death.”



World No Tobacco Day – 31 May 2020

Protecting youth from industry manipulation and preventing them from tobacco and nicotine use

“For decades, the tobacco industry has deliberately employed strategic, aggressive and well-resourced tactics to attract youth to tobacco and nicotine products. Internal industry documents reveal in-depth research and calculated approaches designed to attract a new generation of tobacco users, from product design to marketing campaigns aimed at replacing the millions of people who die each year from tobacco-attributable diseases with new consumers – youth.

In response to the tobacco and related industries’ systematic, aggressive and sustained tactics to attract a new generation of tobacco users, World No Tobacco Day 2020 will provide a counter-marketing campaign and empower young people to engage in the fight against Big Tobacco.”



Vaping among Canadian teens doubles in 2 years, new research shows

“New research reveals vaping among Canadian youth has risen dramatically over the past two years, and experts say it shows no signs of slowing down unless stricter regulations are put in place immediately.

“A survey of more than 12,000 Canadians aged 16 to 19, done in three groups between 2017 and 2019, found that the number of those who reported vaping in the previous month had more than doubled to 17.8 per cent from 8.4 per cent in 2017. The results were published in the journal JAMA Pediatrics this week.

“Those who said they had vaped in the past week rose to 12.3 per cent in 2019 from 5.2 per cent in 2017. Those who reported using e-cigarettes more than 20 times in the previous month jumped to 5.7 per cent from 1.8 per cent.

“Overall, the number of Canadian young people surveyed who said they had ever tried vaping rose to 40.6 per cent in 2019 from 29.3 per cent in 2017.”



Underage vaping spikes in the north of England

“More than a fifth of 15-year-olds in Yorkshire and the Humber vape, according to NHS figures that suggest a stark north-south divide in underage vaping.

“The data – based on a survey of 13,000 children produced after inquiries by The Bureau – found that teenagers in Yorkshire were more than three times as likely to vape regularly as those in London.”


Vaping may damage the heart just as smoking does

“Switching from smoking to vaping may not help with cardiovascular health.

“Researchers performed tests on the vascular systems of more than 400 healthy adults aged 21 to 45. Study participants who use cigarettes, e-cigarettes or both had stiffer arteries than those who did not smoke or vape, the researchers report online April 29 in the Journal of the American Heart Association.

“That stiffness can damage small blood vessels and strain the heart, both of which can contribute to the development of cardiovascular disease, says Jessica Fetterman, a vascular biologist at Boston University School of Medicine.”



Vaping-Induced Lung Disease — A Look Forward by Looking Back

“The number of cases of EVALI [e-cigarette, or vaping, product use–associated lung injury] peaked in September 2019 and a sharp decline followed, coinciding with the widely publicized finding that most patients with EVALI had inhaled vapor from e-cigarette liquids containing tetrahydrocannabinol (THC), although most had used nicotine-containing e-liquids also. Vitamin E acetate, which began to appear in illicit THC products in the United States in the months before the EVALI outbreak and which was identified almost universally in study samples of bronchoalveolar lavage fluids collected from patients with EVALI, has recently emerged as the leading candidate for the toxic substance responsible for EVALI.

“Despite these trends and discoveries, however, it is unlikely that we have seen the end of vaping-induced lung disease. At least 30 other reports of pulmonary illnesses associated with e-cigarette use had been described in the literature before the first report of EVALI, going back as far as 2012. These reports reveal a wide variety of pulmonary pathologic conditions, ranging from organizing pneumonia and diffuse alveolar damage to interstitial lung disease. It seems unlikely that a single toxin would account for such heterogeneous disease patterns. Indeed, e-cigarette vapor can contain a diverse mixture of different chemicals, some with known toxic or carcinogenic potential, but many others for which the effects of inhalation are unknown. Pulmonary toxicity of e-cigarette vapor has been shown in numerous studies that used in vitro or animal models, as well as in a few small studies involving humans.”



Tobacco Tactics: Greenwashing

“‘Greenwashing’ refers to the practice used by controversial industries to market their goods and/or image as environmentally friendly in an effort to increase product sales and divert public attention from their own environmentally damaging practices.

“Reporting environmental impact and funding environmental corporate social responsibility (CSR) projects and organisations, serves to “greenwash” tobacco companies, and detract from the harms the industry inflicts on the environment and environmental health.”



E-Cigarettes: Marketing a Lung-Harming, Kid-Addicting Product Amid The COVID-19 Crisis

This slideshow by the Campaign for Tobacco-Free Kids highlights how the vaping industry is exploiting the COVID-19 crisis to market e-cigarettes.


COVID-19 and smoking: resources, research and news

Tobacco Control’s News Editor, Marita Hefler, has compiled a comprehensive blog on tobacco and COVID-19. It brings together a range of up-to-date information including research, WHO updates, quit support and info, media reports, tobacco industry responses and actions, specifically about COVID-19 and smoking/tobacco. This page is being updated regularly as additional resources are published.

Tweet of the Week

@msh_wa is excited to announce the launch of new Brief Advice Training for the WA Community Services workforce. The training will help staff make conversations about smoking, a regular part of their interactions with clients. More info & to register: “


From the archives: The impact of smoking in Western Australia

In 1985, Professor D’Arcy Holman and ACOSH Executive Director Ruth Shean published in the Medical Journal of Australia the “Premature adult mortality and short‐stay hospitalization in Western Australia attributable to the smoking of tobacco, 1979‐1983“.

The publication of this paper caused great concern for the Tobacco Institute of Australia, because it generated coverage in most Australian newspapers on the deaths caused by smoking compared to other common causes of death.

The Insitute’s lawyers, Clayton Utz, unsuccessfully urged the Trade Practices Commission to take action against ACOSH, claiming that the statements made were “… likely to mislead or deceive within the meaning of Section 52 of the Trade Practices Act …”.

This report was one of many produced by ACOSH that provided new and compelling ways of communicating scientific data on the harmful effects of smoking.

These reports also featured prominently in previously confidential tobacco industry documents.

Tobacco Control News

‘Not convinced’: CBD e-cigarette ban to be put to public – The Age

Association between density and proximity of tobacco retail outlets with smoking: A systematic review of youth studies – Health & Place

COVID-19 quit smoking and vaping to protect your lungs – Campaign for Tobacco-Free Kids

E-Cigarette Maker JUUL To Relocate Headquarters To D.C. – WAMU88.5 American University Radio