ACOSH Advocacy in Action - 17 September 2020


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.

Making tobacco control a priority

“This issue of Public Health Research & Practice builds on the 2019 Oceania Tobacco Control Conference theme, ‘Making tobacco control a priority’. The conference, held in Sydney before the COVID-19 pandemic, brought together record numbers of researchers, advocates, policy-makers and administrators from Australia, New Zealand and Pacific Island nations. Although the Oceania region has had incredible success in reducing smoking rates, smoking will not simply fade out on its own. Fresh approaches and a commitment to continuing to implement what we know works in tobacco control is crucial.

“Our goal is to rid decision-makers of any sense of complacency around tobacco control policy and practice. Debunking the myth that we are now only dealing with a ‘hard-core group’ of committed smokers must be part of this renewal strategy. While it may be tempting to think ‘mission accomplished’, there is much more work still to do.”


E-cigarettes are no better than alternative aids to quit smoking

Two major studies from the US released last week have shown that e-cigarettes are not effective in helping people give up smoking.”

Pierce and his colleagues assessed data collected as part of a study that has recruited around 49,000 people across the US. In one piece of research, the team looked at the outcomes of 32,320 adults who were asked about their use of tobacco products. A year later, each person was asked if they had attempted to quit smoking, the methods they had used and whether they had been successful. The following year, they were asked whether they had remained abstinent for 12 months or more.”

“Of the 9021 people who initially said they smoked on a daily basis, 2770 had attempted to quit. Around 24 per cent used e-cigarettes as a cessation aid, while about 19 per cent used other aids, such as clinically approved drugs and other nicotine replacement therapies, like patches, sprays and lozenges. The remainder of the group didn’t use any products.”

“But the choice of product didn’t seem to make a difference to how successful their attempt to quit was. Only around 10 per cent of people managed to stay abstinent from tobacco products for 12 or more months by the end of the period, regardless of whether they had used e-cigarettes, other products or nothing at all. Around 82 per cent of those who had attempted to quit were still smoking by the end of the study period.”

“In a second piece of research, based on a separate group of 2535 adults from the same study, the team found similar results – the participants were equally likely to quit smoking regardless of the method they used. But those that used e-cigarettes were more likely to still be using these products two years later, suggesting they were more likely to remain dependent on nicotine,” says Pierce.

See also
Vaping has two big rugs pulled from beneath it – Blog by Emeritus Professor Simon Chapman AO


United States: Youth e-cigarette use is down, but 3.6 million still use e-cigarettes

“The U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), in collaboration with various partners, released two papers today [9 Sept] in Morbidity & Mortality Weekly Report (MMWR) highlighting recent changes in U.S. e-cigarette use and sales.

“About 3.6 million U.S. youth reported current (in the past 30 days) e-cigarette use in 2020, reflecting a decline from 5.4 million in 2019, according to the National Youth Tobacco Survey (NYTS) conducted in partnership with the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA). NYTS also found that the types of e-cigarette products youth are using has shifted Among youth e-cigarette users, pre-filled cartridges remained the most commonly used product type; however, disposable e-cigarette use has increased 1,000% among high school students and 400% among middle school students since 2019.

“NYTS findings also showed that most (8 in 10) current youth e-cigarette users reported using flavoured e-cigarettes. While the use of fruit and mint-flavoured e-cigarettes was common among users in 2020, the use of menthol-flavoured e-cigarettes was also prominent.

“Although the decline in e-cigarette use among our Nation’s youth is a notable public health achievement, our work is far from over,” said CDC Director Robert R. Redfield, MD. “Youth e-cigarette use remains an epidemic, and the CDC is committed to supporting efforts to protect youth from this preventable health risk.”


United States: Vaping, marijuana use in 2019 rose in college-age adults

“Vaping marijuana and vaping nicotine rose sharply in the past three years among college-age (19-22 years old) adults, according to 2019 survey results from the Monitoring the Future (MTF) study. The percentage of college students who said they vaped marijuana in the past 30 days rose from 5.2% in 2017 to 14% in 2019. The corresponding percentages for their non-college-attending peers increased from 7.8% in 2017 to 17% in 2019.

“We are seeing an increasingly concerning trend,” said Nora D. Volkow, M.D., director of NIDA. “Many young people may view vaping and cannabis use as ‘safer’, but the reality is that nicotine is highly addictive, and cannabis can also be addictive, particularly in younger adults for whom the brain is still developing.”


Almost all enthusiasts for e-cigarettes in Australia have clear conflicts of interest.

Which organisations are lobbying for weak regulation of e-cigarettes in Australia? All but one of them have clear conflicts of interest.

95% safer NOT: Statement on the potential toxicological risks from electronic nicotine (and non-nicotine) delivery systems

“This review was conducted on behalf of the Department of Health and Social Care and Public Health England. It finds there are large gaps in the evidence, and it is not possible to fully assess the risks associated with all possible constituents; in addition it is not possible to predict the adverse health effects that could be associated with use of these products in the long-term. The Committee will keep this area under review.”

Aust’s anti-smoking campaigns have waned

“Australia has lost its momentum on tobacco control, with government investment in mass media quit-smoking campaigns plummeting to about one-fifth of the amount spent a decade ago.

“The authors of a perspective published on Wednesday in Public Health Research & Practice, say spending on anti-smoking media campaigns by the Australian, NSW and Victorian governments fell from about $36 million to $7.1 million between 2010-11 and 2017-18 despite being among the most cost-effective reduction strategies.

“Authors Paul Grogan, of the Cancer Council, and Professor Emily Banks, of the Australian National University’s National Centre for Epidemiology and Population Health and the independent Sax Institute, say public health campaigns are among the most cost-effective smoking reduction strategies.

“The risk of smoking causing as many as 1.6 million preventable deaths in Australia (two-thirds of current smokers) should be enough to galvanise a re-energised, whole-of-government response to tobacco control,” they say.”


Study finds secondhand smoke sends more kids to the hospital

“Children who are exposed to tobacco have higher rates of hospital admissions after visiting emergency departments or urgent care facilities, according to a new study by University of Cincinnati researchers.

“The study, set to be published in October in Pediatric Research and currently available online, found that tobacco smoke exposure also increased the risk of pediatric patients having respiratory-related procedures performed while in the emergency department, as well as medications prescribed.

“The groundbreaking study compared 380 children exposed to tobacco smoke with 1,140 children not exposed, matching the children in regards to age, sex, race and ethnicity, said Ashley Merianos, an associate professor in UC’s School of Human Services, who led the study.

“We know that exposure to secondhand smoke is related to substantial morbidity in children. In addition to exposed children having more health care visits, I was really interested in taking a closer look at the actual resource utilization during their visits. For example, [I looked at whether] children who are exposed to tobacco smoke are more likely to have a more infectious diagnostic, lab and radiologic tests during their emergency visit than children who are unexposed,” she explained.”


Tobacco dependence treatment in Australia – an untapped opportunity for reducing the smoking burden

“Although the prevalence of smoking has fallen across Australia, population groups with complex psychosocial needs still have higher than average smoking rates.

“Although most people who smoke want to quit, relatively few reports being offered advice and assistance to quit and even fewer use effective smoking cessation support. Implementing systemic tobacco dependence treatment, as required under Australia’s international obligations to the World Health Organization (WHO) Framework Convention on Tobacco Control (FCTC), could further reduce the smoking prevalence, particularly among those experiencing smoking-related health inequalities.

“Australia’s approach to tobacco dependence treatment is characterised herein using Article 14 of the FCTC as a framework.”


Chemicals in e-cigarettes mix together to form new, unexpectedly toxic compounds

“Flavourings combine with solvents in e-cigarettes to produce new toxic chemicals that irritate the airways, triggering reactions that can lead to breathing and heart and blood vessel problems, according to new research presented at the ‘virtual’ European Respiratory Society International Congress.

“Sven-Eric Jordt, associate professor of anesthesiology, pharmacology and cancer biology at Duke University School of Medicine (North Carolina, U.S.) told the meeting that manufacturers claim that e-cigarettes are safe as they vaporise a defined set of chemicals that are chemically stable.

“Our co-author and analytical chemist Dr. Hanno Erythropel and colleagues at Yale University found new chemicals in e-liquids and revealed that they are formed when components are mixed by manufacturers. We became concerned about the high levels of these new compounds that had not been studied in the past, and decided to conduct toxicological tests,” said Prof Jordt.”


Tweet of the Week

“Tobacco industry cynicism and sheer gall get even worse.

Global tobacco giant Japan Tobacco causes countless deaths – but “shortlisted for Best Health and Wellbeing Initiative”. Words fail.” said Emeritus Professor Mike Daube.

See also
CSR: Awards – Tobacco Tactics


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 resource aims 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.


Tobacco Control News

Sept. 9 Deadline Arrives for Makers of E-Cigarettes and Other Tobacco Products to Apply to Keep Products on Market – FDA Must Protect Kids and Public Health – Campaign for Tobacco-Free Kids

Despite the tobacco industry blowing smoke, plain packs really work – University of Bath

Vaping Links to Covid Risk Are Becoming Clear – The New York Times

There’s no place like home: Cleaning toxic tobacco smoke residue in our homes – San Diego State University

Tobacco price increase and successful smoking cessation for two or more years in Japan – Nicotine & Tobacco Research

To tobacco companies, Black lives don’t matter – The Hill

Cigarette-like cigarillo introduced to bypass taxation, standardised packaging, minimum pack sizes, and menthol ban in the UK – Tobacco Control