ACOSH Advocacy in Action - 29 January 2021

Welcome to the first 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.

Political parties should commit to phasing out the sale of cigarettes in Australia by 2030

The Australian Council on Smoking and Health today called for political parties contesting the next state election to support phasing out the sale of cigarettes by 2030.

“The sale of cigarettes in Australia is facilitated by a historical exemption under the Poisons Act for tobacco products designed for smoking,” said Maurice Swanson, Chief Executive, Australian Council on Smoking and Health.

“However, Australia, like many other countries, has consumer product safety laws to ensure that products are safe for intended or reasonably foreseeable use.

“Consumer products found to be hazardous are regularly removed from the market, such as toys that present a choking hazard, defective mobile phones, airbags in cars, and batches of contaminated foods.

“The tobacco industry in WA and Australia as elsewhere is unrelenting in its constant efforts to recruit new smokers, keep existing smokers addicted, and market new nicotine delivery devices.”

“Why should the tobacco industry be given a free pass to continue selling the world’s most lethal consumer product forever?” asked Mr Swanson.

“It is critical that tobacco control remains a priority for the next WA State Government. Reinstating WA’s leadership in tobacco control is vital. This can be achieved by a strong and comprehensive approach to tobacco control.”

ACOSH today released its 10-Point Plan for a Tobaco-Free WA by 2030 that has the overall goal of phasing out the sale of cigarettes by 2030.

Political parties contesting the state election will be asked to support each of these strategies to further reduce smoking in the community.

See also
Political parties should commit to phasing out the sale of cigarettes in Australia by 2030 – ACOSH Media Release


Smoking causes half of Indigenous Australian deaths over 45, study shows

Key messages
“• Our study provides the first direct estimates of smoking attributable mortality for Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples, and the first estimates for any Indigenous population internationally that account for pre-existing disease.

“• Smoking causes half of deaths in older Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander adults, and over one-third of all deaths
in the population.

“• Smoking’s effect has been underestimated, in large part due to the lack of relevant data and analyses; high-quality data are needed for other Indigenous populations.

“• This study is a world first, and shows a clear way forward for major improvement in Indigenous health: reducing tobacco use would have a tremendous impact at the population level.

“• Sustained, comprehensive, and population-wide tobacco control for Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples is required to reverse potential tobacco-related harms, and then end this epidemic.”

Tobacco smoking and mortality among Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander adults in Australia – International Journal of Epidemiology

Fact sheet
Smoking and risk of death for Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples

Related media
Smoking causes half of Indigenous Australian deaths over 45, study shows – The Guardian



Australia needs to expand smoke-free areas

The Australian Council on Smoking and Health is calling on all Australian governments to increase the number of smoke-free areas.

“This week marks the 40th anniversary of a landmark study published in the British Medical Journal by Professor Takeshi Hirayama which demonstrated that exposure to secondhand smoke is a cause of lung cancer in non-smokers,” said Maurice Swanson, Chief Executive, Australian Council on Smoking and Health.

“Australia has led the world with smoke-free public transport, workplaces, hotels, restaurants, and sporting facilities, and importantly smoke-free environments have contributed to reductions in the prevalence of smoking.

“Smoke-free areas help smokers to reduce the number of cigarettes smoked and overcome their addiction to nicotine, make smoking less tempting to young people and support ex-smokers to remain smoke-free.

“However, there are further opportunities to realise the many benefits of smoke-free policies in areas such as beer gardens in licenced premises, the high-roller rooms in casinos, prisons, government-supported housing, residential mental health facilities, multi-unit residences, and crowded outdoor areas.

Related media
The call to ban smoking in beer gardens – 6PR


Fiona Stanley Fremantle Hospitals Group: Starting off the year smoke free

“Mental Health services at Fiona Stanley Fremantle Hospitals Group (FSFHG), have started the New Year totally smoke free with the exemption that has allowed patients to smoke extinguished on 4 January 2021.

“Removing the exemption means that Mental Health is now smoke free, the same as all other areas of the hospitals.

“Patients are being supported with free Nicotine Replacement Therapy (NRT) and brief intervention counselling, group activities and referral to relevant support services. Positive feedback is being received from patients and staff alike.

“Director, Mental Health Services at FSFHG Lynn Warren said going smoke free had gone smoothly.

“We’ve already had a patient who came to the service as a smoker and discharged having both quit smoking and improved mental health,” Lynn said.

“There have been no negative issues noted by security, and we’ve noticed with patients no longer smoking onsite, there is an increase attendance at group activities.”

“Lynn said removing the exemption showed that health and wellbeing was valued for all patients.”


Three Years Later: The NASEM report on E-cigarettes

“This week marks three years since the US National Academies of Sciences, Engineering and Medicine (NASEM) released a report commissioned by the U.S. FDA on the “Public Health Consequences of E-cigarettes.” Since then, this report has often been cited as a definitive source for questions about the safety of e-cigarettes, and is a primary source for Health Canada’s encouragement to smokers to switch to e-cigarettes.

“Thirty-six months later, however, the conclusions in this report are increasingly stale-dated. The panel of scientists who wrote the report looked only at evidence available before August 2017 – and for some key issues (like heart and lung diseases) there were virtually no published studies available for them to consider.

“Since then there has been a marked growth in scientific evidence about these products. Of the approximately 7,000 studies on e-cigarettes listed in the U.S. National Library of Medicine, more than half (57%) were published after 2017. From today’s vantage point, the NASEM report tells less than half the story.

“In general, these more recent studies have provided evidence on health hazards where there previously had been none and have strengthened those links that had already been identified. Newer studies have also dashed the hopes inferred from the NASEM report that these products could be effective for population-wide smoking cessation.”


Youth e-cig use triples likelihood of daily cig smoking

“The evidence that e-cigarettes are a gateway for smoking is strong and consistent. Now John Pierce and his colleagues have made that connection even stronger by showing that e-cigarette use strongly predicts daily cigarette smoking. (Previous studies measured current cigarette smoking, meaning in the past 30 days.) Their paper, “Use of E-cigarettes and Other Tobacco Products and Progression to Daily Cigarette Smoking” published in Pediatrics also shows that youth who use more different tobacco products are also much more likely to end up smoking cigarettes every day,” said Professor Stanton Glantz.


E-Cigarettes: A Public Health Threat, Not a Population Health Intervention

“Public health professionals should focus messaging and communications strategies on where the public health data lead us. Population health data indicate, and the meta-analysis by Wang et al. supports, that e-cigarettes are not a viable tool to combat tobacco smoking as a mass market consumable. Public health professionals should discourage their use, and these products should be tightly regulated. Any recommendation of e-cigarette use should be relegated to clinicians as a targeted clinical intervention for smoking cessation. Preventing initiation of smoking of both combustible tobacco products and e-cigarettes and increasing successful cessation must continue to be top public health priorities. E-cigarette use, at best, has a limited role to play.”

See also
E-Cigarette Use and Adult Cigarette Smoking Cessation: A Meta-Analysis – Wang et al.

AJPH special section on e-cigarettes – February 2021



Campaigns work: Cost Effectiveness of the Tips From Former Smokers Campaign—U.S., 2012–2018

During 2012–2018, the Tips From Former Smokers campaign was associated with an estimated 129,100 premature deaths avoided, 803,800 life years gained, 1.38 million quality-adjusted life years gained, and $7.3 billion in healthcare sector cost savings on the basis of an estimated 642,200 campaign-associated lifetime quits. The Tips From Former Smokers campaign was associated with cost savings per lifetime quit of $11,400, per life year gained of $9,100, per premature deaths avoided of $56,800, and per quality-adjusted life year gained of $5,300.

Mass-reach health education campaigns, such as Tips From Former Smokers, can help smokers quit, improve health outcomes, and potentially reduce healthcare sector costs.”



The effects of tobacco control policies on global smoking prevalence

“Substantial global effort has been devoted to curtailing the tobacco epidemic over the past two decades, especially after the adoption of the Framework Convention on Tobacco Control by the World Health Organization in 2003.

“In 2015, in recognition of the burden resulting from tobacco use, strengthened tobacco control was included as a global development target in the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development.

“Here we show that comprehensive tobacco control policies—including smoking bans, health warnings, advertising bans and tobacco taxes—are effective in reducing smoking prevalence; amplified positive effects are seen when these policies are implemented simultaneously within a given country.

“We find that if all 155 countries included in our counterfactual analysis had adopted smoking bans, health warnings and advertising bans at the strictest level and raised cigarette prices to at least 7.73 international dollars in 2009, there would have been about 100 million fewer smokers in the world in 2017.

“These findings highlight the urgent need for countries to move toward an accelerated implementation of a set of strong tobacco control practices, thus curbing the burden of smoking-attributable diseases and deaths.”



Dirty Money and Shady Spending: How the Tobacco Industry Gets Its Way

“Some of the industry’s nefarious spending is done publicly, under the guise of altruism, and publicized so that the industry can later reap the business benefits. Other times, it’s hidden from the public eye, only detectible to those willing to do the digging.

“No matter the target, the spending of this dirty money serves specific purposes: delay or block life-saving tobacco control policies, discredit public health research and distract the public and policymakers with so-called charitable spending. The money reaches far and wide, and you don’t have to be a tobacco user to be affected.”



Tweet of the week

“Shame on Big Tobacco for seeking to overturn California’s law stopping flavored tobacco products. Gov. Newsom is right: “This is Big Tobacco’s latest attempt to profit at the expense of our kids’ health. CA will continue to fight back & protect children.” (via @TobaccoFreeKids)

California’s ban on flavored tobacco sales blocked as referendum qualifies for ballot – Los Angeles Times


Tobacco Control News

TikTok is being used by vape sellers marketing to teens – Televisor

The temporary ban on tobacco sales in South Africa: lessons for endgame strategies – Tobacco Control

Hundreds of smokers fined after lighting up in cars with kids – The Sydney Morning Herald

Lawsuit Alleges Collaboration Between Philip Morris International and the Supposedly Independent Foundation for a Smoke-Free World – Statement of Campaign for Tobacco-Free Kids and STOP

Monitoring and Exposing Tobacco Industry Interference in U.S. Public Policy – Tobacco Control Blog

British American Tobacco  – Tobacco Tactics