ACOSH Advocacy in Action - 20 August 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.

The decline of smoking initiation among Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander secondary students: implications for future policy

Conclusions: Most Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander students are now never smokers. Comparable declines indicate similar policy impact for Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander and all students.

Implications for Public Health: Comprehensive population‐based tobacco control policies can impact all students. Continued investment, including in communities, is needed to maintain and accelerate reductions among Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander students to achieve equivalent prevalence rates and reduce health inequities.”



Smoke-free City of Vincent on cards

“Smoking could be completely outlawed in the heart of innercity Perth suburbs.

“Places including Leederville, North Perth and Mt Lawley-Highgate are being looked at under plans put forward to the City of Vincent to make some areas totally smoke-free.

“Northbridge, north of Newcastle Street, and Mt Hawthorn are also in the council’s sights after debate began on banning vaping and cigarette smoking in town centres.

“This would extend to pubs.

“Health Minister Roger Cook has backed the ambitious plan and encouraged other local governments to pursue similar initiatives. City officers will consider whether dedicated smoking areas could be set-up and are examining if penalties would be imposed for any breaches.

“Vincent mayor Emma Cole, pictured, flagged at Tuesday night’s council briefing she may move a motion simply calling for smoke-free areas instead.

“She told The West Australian she was keen to hear community views on the plans, which would be slated to take effect in 2025.”



Co-optation of harm reduction by Big Tobacco

“Multinational tobacco companies, such as British American Tobacco (BAT) and Philip Morris International (PMI), have adopted harm reduction in their public relations initiatives and marketing communication, which provides them an opportunity to showcase their engagement in new product development of self-styled ‘next-generation products’.

“…The underlying goal, however, for the tobacco industry is the maximisation of sales, profit and return to shareholders, which places them at odds with serving a mandate of harm reduction. When considering a marketing management perspective, it is apparent that tobacco companies pursue multiple sales growth strategies that have an underlying objective of profitable growth by expanding the size of the market.”



PMI’s Foundation for a Smoke-Free World

“Since its inception in 2017, the Foundation for a Smoke-Free World’s (FSFW) primary argument has been to convince people that it is both legitimate and independent, despite receiving all of its funding from Philip Morris International (PMI). In order to try and build credibility within the debate on tobacco and health, considerable effort has been spent establishing and re-enforcing this idea.

“Although on its website PMI talks about a smoke-free future, PMI’s claims of commitment to harm reduction appear to be fundamentally undermined by its own documents, including its leaked 10 year Corporate Affairs Plan written in 2014 (and published by Reuters in 2018). These documents give an insight into PMI’s long-term plans before the launch of the Foundation in 2017.

“These internal documents revealed that as recently as 2014, PMI was maintaining its attempts to “maximise commercial opportunities and grow market share” of combustible cigarettes. In 2018, academics highlighted that “PMI has made no concessions to stop promoting combustible cigarettes, and continues its activities opposing FCTC policy implementation”. This concurrent activity by PMI fuels the assessment of PMI’s funding of the FSFW as a conflict of interest.”

“The FSFW’s 2019 tax return filed on 15 May 2020 shows that more than two years after its creation, the Foundation remains solely funded by Philip Morris International (PMI).”

New grants in 2020
As part of its Mid-Point Strategy Update, the Foundation released lists of grants current as of July 2020.”



Trading “Philanthropy” for Favors: Tobacco Industry CSR During COVID-19

“In 2011, sociologist Gary Fooks and tobacco control researcher Silvy Peeters made an observation that doubled as a foreboding prediction: “…tobacco industry corporate social responsibility thrives in disaster-hit regions of the world.”

“Fast-forward to 2020. The COVID-19 pandemic has rendered every region of the world “disaster-hit” and tobacco companies’ donations of money and equipment are indeed thriving—to the ultimate detriment of public health. With the world facing its biggest public health threat in generations, there has never been a more opportune time to put an end to the tobacco industry’s so-called corporate social responsibility.”



British American Tobacco’s ‘Glo Sens’ promotion with K-pop

“Prevalence of conventional cigarette smoking continues to decline in South Korea in a context of changing social norms about tobacco use and strong tobacco control efforts by the government, civil society and scholars. Sales of conventional cigarettes also continue to decline compared with previous years.

“However, sales of other tobacco products, such as heated tobacco products (HTPs) or electronic cigarettes (e-cigarettes), continue to increase (figure 1). Multinational tobacco companies have introduced novel products in Korea, including Philip Morris International’s HTP brand, IQOS, in May 2017 and JUUL in May 2019. British American Tobacco (BAT) introduced ‘Glo Sens’ in August 2019.”



Association Between Youth Smoking, Electronic Cigarette Use, and Coronavirus Disease 2019


“COVID-19 diagnosis was five times more likely among ever-users of e-cigarettes only (95% confidence interval [CI]: 1.82–13.96), seven times more likely among ever-dual-users (95% CI: 1.98–24.55), and 6.8 times more likely among past 30-day dual-users (95% CI: 2.40–19.55).

“Testing was nine times more likely among past 30-day dual-users (95% CI: 5.43–15.47) and 2.6 times more likely among past 30-day e-cigarette only users (95% CI: 1.33–4.87). Symptoms were 4.7 times more likely among past 30-day dual-users (95% CI: 3.07–7.16).

Conclusions: COVID-19 is associated with youth use of e-cigarettes only and dual use of e-cigarettes and cigarettes, suggesting the need for screening and education.”



The EVALI outbreak and vaping in the COVID-19 era

“In August 2019, the first case of EVALI (e-cigarette, or vaping, product use-associated lung injury) was reported to the US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC). The number of cases peaked in September 2019, and as of February 18 2020, 2807 EVALI cases had been reported with 68 deaths. Owing to the declining incidence of EVALI cases and the emergence of the COVID-19 pandemic, the CDC updates were stopped in February. However, more recently, concerns have been raised about the convergence of vaping, and its effects, with COVID-19 infection—especially in young people.”

See also
The need to more effectively regulate END markets: A primary public health lesson of the U.S. vaping associated lung injury outbreak – Addiction Journal



Global deaths due to smokeless tobacco are up by a third, according to a new study

“The number of deaths globally due to smokeless tobacco has gone up by a third in 7 years to an estimated 350,000 people, a new study suggests.

“The research, from the University of York, comes at a time when there are concerns that spitting—a behaviour common among those who chew tobacco—is likely to transmit the COVID-19 virus.

“The researchers—who are part of an international group called ASTRA—are calling for governments and public health bodies to regulate the production and sale of smokeless tobacco. They say a ban on spitting in public places will also discourage smokeless tobacco use and may reduce the transmission of COVID-19.

“Dr. Kamran Siddiqi, from the Department of Health Sciences and Hull York Medical School, said: “The study has come at a time when COVID-19 is affecting almost all aspects of our lives. Chewing tobacco increases saliva production and leads to compulsive spitting.

“There are concerns that spitting—a behaviour common among those who chew tobacco—is likely to transmit the virus to others.

“In acknowledgement of this, India for example, has already taken a positive step by banning spitting in public places to reduce the transmission of COVID-19.”



Tweet of the Week

“Arguments for introducing a new addictive drug, vaping, which damages lungs, into Tasmania in the midst of the #covid19 are “insane”,” said Dr Barnsley (@TassieThinker).


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

‘Health vs economy’ is COVID-19 déjà vu all over again with tobacco – The Hill

Health groups want smoking banned at NT schools – Katherine Times

New crackdown on smoking spurs search for loopholes – Japan Today

Vaping, smartphones, and social media use among young adults: Snapchat is the platform of choice for young adult vapers – Addictive Behaviors