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ACOSH Advocacy in Action - 25 February 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.

The secret money trail behind vaping

“By the evening of October 5, Liberal senator Hollie Hughes knew she had the numbers for her biggest political coup – the establishment of a Senate inquiry that she would chair into the e-cigarette industry.

“After months of wrangling, she was ready to celebrate – over drinks with two British American Tobacco lobbyists.

“Oh we do love you @senator_hollie,” Michael Kauter, the former deputy federal director of the Nationals, posted on social media that night last year alongside a photo of Hughes in a Canberra restaurant with her arm around him. Kauter’s husband, Professor David Gracey, was on Hughes’ other side. Gracey, who is a renal specialist at Royal Prince Alfred Hospital, is an adviser to Kauter’s lobbying firm.”

“Just how deeply big tobacco is entwined in the push to legalise vaping has come to light because one of the country’s largest industry groups decided it had had enough. The Australian Retailers Association confirmed to AFR Weekend that it cancelled a contract last August with global PR firm Burson Cohn & Wolfe worth hundreds of thousands of dollars to promote and lobby to get e-cigarettes legalised.

“AFR Weekend has confirmed that the money from BCW actually came from Philip Morris International, in a contract signed last February by ARA’s former chief executive Russell Zimmerman.”

Related articles:

The secret money trail behind vaping

Australian Retailers Association cancels secret tobacco contract

More vaping lobbyists linked to Big Tobacco

Please contact ACOSH for a PDF copy of the articles.

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Finding ‘common ground’ on shifting sands: observations on the conflicts over product regulation

“Recently I have been sent several papers taking up the challenge of trying to resolve the current clashes within public health about the proliferating range of newer and novel nicotine and tobacco products (NNNTPs). The conflicts are real and can be hostile, provoking distress among long-time tobacco control researchers, advocates and observers and exacerbating already-existing philosophical schisms within the tobacco control movement. Hence, there is call for finding common ground, settling on an approach and ceasing the attacks on public health colleagues. Whether this is now (or has ever been) possible is somewhat doubtful, particularly on a global level, and far beyond the scope of an editorial.

“I offer just a few observations about the situation in which we find ourselves now as we fight on into the second decade of the 21st century to end the tobacco epidemic: how the conflicts illustrate existing tensions in public health discourse, common assumptions that may limit the possibilities for partial resolution, and some speculation as to why these conflicts are so intense at this historical moment. I am appreciative of all the colleagues with whom I have shared these discussions to date and of all those attempting to wrestle productively and authentically with these challenges. And I am profoundly unappreciative of the tobacco industry’s efforts to wedge itself into the conversation and exploit the existing disagreements for its benefit,” said Professor Ruth Malone, Editor-in-Chief Tobacco Control Journal.

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Tobacco control policies in the 21st century: achievements and open challenges

“Noncommunicable diseases (NCDs), including cancer, are responsible for almost 70% of all deaths worldwide. Tobacco use is a risk factor common to most NCDs. This article discusses tobacco control policies and highlights major achievements and open challenges to reduce smoking prevalence and attributable morbidity and mortality in the 21st century.”
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Notes from recent tobacco industry investor reports

“Over the past few weeks there has been a flurry of reports from tobacco companies about their business activities over the past year and their plans for the coming months.

“Cigarettes remain the bread-and-butter of tobacco companies. PMI reports that ninety-four cents of every dollar spent in the globalized tobacco market (which excludes China and the USA) is exchanged for a cigarette.

“This is particularly true for developing countries, where BAT sells 70% of its products  and where BAT reported that the overall market did not decrease in the second half of 2020.”

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NSW: Illegal e-cigarettes seized in crackdown

“NSW Health is warning anyone selling nicotine e-cigarettes, also known as ‘vapes’, they face fines of up to $1,100 per offence, after authorities seized $450,000 worth of illegal product last year.

“The year-long blitz also saw eight retailers across Greater Sydney successfully prosecuted.

“A/Director of Population Health Strategy and Performance Carolyn Murray said NSW Health inspectors continue to target stores, seizing more than 26,000 e-cigarettes and e-liquids either containing nicotine or labelled as such since January.”

The 10 news exclusive can be viewed online here and the full media release here.

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New products, old tricks? Concerns big tobacco is targeting youngsters

Tobacco companies claim e-cigarettes and other novel tobacco products are intended for adult smokers. But the Bureau of Investigative Journalism exposes how these products are being marketed to young people through social media, sponsoring music and sporting events, free samples and more.
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Tobacco giant bets £1bn on influencers to boost ‘more lung-friendly’ sales

“Flashing an ice-white smile for her 50,000 followers on TikTok, a fresh-faced young woman pops a flavoured nicotine pouch into her mouth, as one of Pakistan’s most popular love songs plays in the background.

“More than 3,000 miles away, in Sweden, another social media starlet lip-syncs for the camera, to a different pop tune. The same little pouches, made by British American Tobacco, appear in shot.

“Critics say that such viral videos, even if they aren’t paid-for adverts, are the consequence of a global marketing push designed to offset dwindling cigarette consumption by recruiting the nicotine consumers of the future.

“BAT has embarked on a £1bn campaign that harnesses the popular appeal of social media influencers, pop stars and sporting events.”

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Electronic cigarettes and health with special focus on cardiovascular effects: position paper of the European Association of Preventive Cardiology (EAPC)

“The rapid evolution of the e-cigarette market has outpaced the legislator’s regulatory capacity, leading to mixed regulations. The increasing use of e-cigarettes in adolescents and young individuals is of concern. While the long-term direct cardiovascular effects of e-cigarettes remain largely unknown, the existing evidence suggests that the e-cigarette should not be regarded as a cardiovascular safe product. The contribution of e-cigarette use to reducing conventional cigarette use and smoking cessation is complex, and the impact of e-cigarette use on long-term cessation lacks sufficient evidence.

“This position paper describes the evidence regarding the prevalence of e-cigarette smoking, uptake of e-cigarettes in the young, related legislations, cardiovascular effects of e-cigarettes and the impact of e-cigarettes on smoking cessation. Knowledge gaps in the field are also highlighted. The recommendations from the population science and public health section of the European Association of Preventive Cardiology are presented.”

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Safety bulletin: Hazards associated with the use of e-cigarette devices

The Government of WA Department of Mines, Industry Regulation and Safety issued a safety bulletin on 23 February 2021 following an incident at a mine site where an e-cigarette battery spontaneously ignited in a worker’s pocket while travelling in a utility with two other workers.
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Mythbusting vaping hype

“In November 2020, I was lead author with Emeritus Professor Mike Daube AO and Professor Matthew Peters AM of a 32 page submission to the Australian Senate Committee on Tobacco Harm Reduction. Our submission was cited many times in the final majority report of the Committee. I’ve since received many requests for a copy of the submission which are continuing, so am re-publishing it here for ease of access,” said Emeritus Professor Simon Chapman.
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Tweet of the week

The Parry Field, former home of Baseball WA, was the first sporting venue in Australia to go smoke-free in 1994.

Read more

Stafford J, Bond L, Daube M. “We are still not yet out of the woods in W.A.”: Western Australia and the international tobacco industry. Perth: Curtin University of Technology; 2009.

 

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Tobacco Control News

West Hollywood bans sale of most flavored tobacco products – Los Angeles Times

Barcelona to ban smoking on four of its beaches – The Guardian

Through a gender lens: women and tobacco in the WHO European Region (2021) – World Health Organization

At the speed of Juul: measuring the Twitter conversation related to ENDS and Juul across space and time (2017–2018) – Tobacco Control

Racism and Big Tobacco: Then and Now – Stopping Tobacco Organizations and Products (STOP)