ACOSH Advocacy in Action - 19 March

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.

Why does the world’s most lethal consumer product get a free pass?

Recently, Channel Seven news presented a story that faulty airbags have caused 29 deaths worldwide, and tens of millions of dollars have been spent on recalling vehicles and replacing the airbags.

In September 2016, Samsung suspended sales of its Galaxy Note 7 mobile phone, and announced a worldwide recall after it was found its batteries could generate excessive heat, resulting in fires. Fortunately, no deaths were attributed to this product.

Compare this to the response of Big Tobacco companies that cause 8 million preventable deaths each year worldwide, over 20,000 in Australia, with no action whatsoever to recall their lethal products from sale.

“Is it time for a conversation in Australia about phasing out the sale of cigarettes, a mass-marketed cause of 16 different cancers, heart attacks and deadly diseases of the lung – how long should we allow this to continue?” said Maurice Swanson, Chief Executive ACOSH.

Los Angeles region is the epicenter of a global revolution in public health

“On February 18, 2020, the Manhattan Beach city council voted 4-1 to phase out the sale of all tobacco products in the city, becoming the second U.S. city to do so (after Beverly Hills). The Pasadena city council has asked its staff to draft a similar ordinance, and Hermosa Beach among others have made public statements indicating their intention to follow.”


Ireland bans menthol cigarettes and rolling tobacco starting May 20

“In Ireland, menthol cigarettes and rolling tobacco, along with irregularly shaped packs such as skinny cigarettes will be banned from May 20.

Also included in the ban are click dual cigarettes that change from normal to menthol.

It’s all part of the four year phasing-out period of the EU Tobacco Product Directive which entered into force in May 2014 and became applicable in all EU countries on May 20th 2016.”



FAQs – Coronavirus (COVID-19) and Smoking

Quit Victoria have answered commonly asked questions about coronavirus (COVID-19) and smoking.

“People who smoke are generally at higher risk of respiratory tract infections, like lung and chest infections, but there is currently not enough evidence to be certain that people who smoke are at higher risk of being infected with the coronavirus (COVID-19). However, people with poor lung function (as a result of smoking or anything else) may be at higher risk of complications if they do become infected with the virus. It’s not clear how long a person needs to stop smoking to reduce their risk of these complications. It’s important to remember stopping smoking has many benefits beyond any link with COVID-19, so it’s always a good time to quit.”



Smoking or Vaping May Increase the Risk of a Severe Coronavirus Infection

“Although there have not been many studies investigating this link specifically, a wealth of evidence suggests that smoking suppresses immune function in the lungs and triggers inflammation. There have been far fewer investigations of vaping, but preliminary research suggests it may do similar damage. And both long-term smokers and e-cigarette users are at a heightened risk of developing chronic lung conditions, which have been associated with more severe cases of COVID-19, as the disease caused by the new virus is called. Scientists say it therefore seems reasonable to assume that smoking—and possibly vaping—could increase the risk of developing a serious infection from the coronavirus.”


E-liquids enticing the young

CANCER Council WA is calling for a ban on all e-cigarette liquids amid concerns some Perth retailers are displaying fruit and flavoured e-liquids next to kids toys and sweets.

Make Smoking History manager, Libby Jardine, said these products were evidently designed to appeal to young people.

“In recent years we have seen the proliferation of shops in WA selling enticing e-liquids with thousands of attractive flavours like juicy watermelon, Dutch chocolate and blueberry burst,” she said.

“It’s very concerning that ‘non-nicotine’ liquids are available in WA as two recent Australian studies found that around 60 per cent of ‘nicotine-free’ e-liquids analysed actually contained nicotine.”



US FDA requires new health warnings for cigarette packages and advertisements

“The US Food and Drug Administration issued a final rule Tuesday [17 March] that requires tobacco companies to place new graphic health warnings on cigarette packages and in advertisements.

“Beginning on June 18, 2021, the new cigarette health warnings will be required on cigarette packages and in advertisements, occupying the top 50% of the area on the front and back panels of packages and at least 20% of the area at the top of cigarette ads, according to the FDA.

“Research shows that the current warnings on cigarettes, which have not changed since 1984, have become virtually invisible to both smokers and nonsmokers, in part because of their small size, location and lack of an image. Additionally, research shows substantial gaps remain in the public’s knowledge of the harms of cigarette smoking, and smokers have misinformation about cigarettes and their negative health effects,” said Mitch Zeller, J.D., director of FDA’s Center for Tobacco Products.



E-Cigarette Use and Regular Cigarette Smoking Among Youth: Population Assessment of Tobacco and Health Study (2013–2016)

“This study examines the association between current e-cigarette use at baseline and regular cigarette smoking at follow-up among U.S. youth.

Compared with noncurrent e-cigarette users at baseline, current e-cigarette users (cigarette nonsmokers) had 5.0 (95% CI=1.9, 12.8) times higher odds of becoming regular cigarette smokers 1 year later. Additionally, there was a direct linear relationship between the number of days of e-cigarette use at baseline and the number of days of cigarette smoking 1 year later.

Current e-cigarette use among U.S. youth is associated with higher odds of transitioning to regular cigarette smoking, likely reflecting robust transitions rather than experimentation. These results suggest that promoting e-cigarettes as the current practice for tobacco harm reduction will likely have the unintended consequence of initiating youth cigarette smokers.”

American Journal of Preventive Medicine



Young adults don’t know what’s in nicotine products they vape

“Young adults don’t know what’s in the products they vape and often don’t know what brand of vaping products they use, according to a new study by researchers at the Stanford University School of Medicine.

The findings come from a study of California residents that was published online March 16 in the Journal of Adolescent Health. The study asked 445 participants, ages 17-24, about their use of pod-based e-cigarettes, including specific questions about products made by Juul, Suorin Drop, Phix and Myblu.

“These young people had no idea how much nicotine they were consuming,” said the study’s senior author, Bonnie Halpern-Felsher, PhD, professor of pediatrics.”



Aussie vaping advocates’ latest lobbying fiasco

Read the latest blog from Emeritus Professor Simon Chapman AO on lobbying activites by vaping advocates in Australia.


British American Tobacco circumventing ad ban, experts say

“British American Tobacco (BAT) is marketing e-cigarettes and heated cigarettes with pictures of attractive models and using hashtags such as “I dare you to try it”, despite a crackdown last year after it paid social media influencers to promote its products.

“BAT had come under fire after hiring young models to sell its products despite having an explicit policy banning under-25s from appearing in adverts.

“…Since the policy changes, experts say BAT is now running its own accounts that mirror the youth-oriented content promoted by influencers, using models posing under red lights or at festivals.

“Tobacco companies like British American Tobacco maintain that their marketing is only ever targeted to and intended for current adult smokers. Yet much of the content posted from these BAT-run accounts mirrors the youth-oriented content promoted by influencers,” said Caroline Renzulli, a spokeswoman for the Campaign for Tobacco-Free Kids.”



Information sheet: WHO TobLabNet methods for measuring priority contents and emissions in tobacco and related products

“The information sheet on WHO TobLabNet methods for measuring priority contents and emissions in tobacco and related products provides guidance on reducing tobacco product appeal and use, through product regulation.

To better understand tobacco product regulation and the role it plays in the wider context of tobacco control, the information sheet specifically provides information on the following:

The importance of developing methods that are independent of the tobacco industry for tobacco product regulation.

• How measuring tobacco product contents and emissions can advance tobacco product regulation.

• Information on TobLabNet and its activities.

• WHO TobLabNet methods and how they are developed.

• The difference between the ISO and the intense regime.

• The priority contents and emissions of tobacco products and the methods available for measuring them.

• Next steps for TobLabNet.”



Tweet of the week

“Canada liberalised access to #ecigs to assist adult smokers. But look who’s mainly using them. Genie out of the bottle & not wanting to go back. Australia’s precautionary approach looking very sensible,” says Emeritus Professor Simon Chapman AO (@SimonChapman6)


From the archives: passive smoking and lung cancer

In January 1981, Takeshi Hirayama published his
epidemiological study demonstrating that secondhand smoke increased the risk of lung cancer in nonsmoking Japanese women married to men who smoked compared with non-smoking women married to non-smoking men.

Hirayama’s study was one of the first to link passive smoking and lung cancer, and paved the way for community and workplace-wide restrictions on smoking.




Tobacco Control News

The tobacco industry embraces feminism to prey on women – Make Smoking History

Vaping set to be banned in smoke-free zones of Melbourne’s CBD – The Age

‘Open-System’ electronic cigarettes cannot be regulated effectively – Tobacco Control

Juul Co-Founder Monsees Steps Down as Adviser, Board Member – Bloomberg