ACOSH Advocacy in Action - 29 May

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.

Exit strategy: we can do it for COVID-19, why not tobacco?

Professor Mike Daube AO & Professor Rod Moody write in InSight+ … “smoking remains a national catastrophe – our largest preventable cause of death & disease.”

“Now, more than ever, we have clear evidence about exactly what is needed to end the tobacco epidemic. Business as usual will result in some 20,000 tobacco deaths annually for decades ahead. Seventy years on from the certainty that smoking kills, this is unacceptable. The time is long overdue for Australian governments to plan an end to this preventable pandemic.”


The Evolving Landscape of e-Cigarettes: A Systematic Review of Recent Evidence

“Much-needed clarity was brought to the debate surrounding e-cigarettes by the 2018 report of the National Academies of Sciences, Engineering and Medicine (NASEM), which summarized and drew conclusions based on the current understanding of e-cigarettes at the time. However, the e-cigarette landscape continues to evolve rapidly, with constant development of new devices and an exponentially growing body of scientific literature.
The current review provides a comprehensive update of data on the potential health effects of e-cigarettes since the NASEM report. We have provided focused discussion of the scientific literature that will help inform the general public, health-care practitioners, and policy makers of the effects of e-cigarette use on health.”

World No Tobacco Day – 31 May 2020

Protecting youth from industry manipulation and preventing them from tobacco and nicotine use

“For decades, the tobacco industry has deliberately employed strategic, aggressive and well-resourced tactics to attract youth to tobacco and nicotine products. Internal industry documents reveal in-depth research and calculated approaches designed to attract a new generation of tobacco users, from product design to marketing campaigns aimed at replacing the millions of people who die each year from tobacco-attributable diseases with new consumers – youth.

“In response to the tobacco and related industries’ systematic, aggressive and sustained tactics to attract a new generation of tobacco users, World No Tobacco Day 2020 will provide a counter-marketing campaign and empower young people to engage in the fight against Big Tobacco.”


Big Tobacco’s enduring interest in children: insights from its internal documents

“Tomorrow is World No Tobacco Day. This year its theme is the targeting of children by the tobacco and vaping industries.

“In 2001 I led a team of researchers at the University of Sydney’s School of Public Health on a 5 year US National Institutes of Health grant. Our aim was to explore many millions of pages of previously internal tobacco industry documents on the transnational tobacco industry’s activities in Australia and Asia.

“We published 40 papers from this grant, including 32 in these two Tobacco Control supplements on Australia and Asia.

“As we excavated the relevant documents housed in University of California at San Francisco’s Legacy  (now numbering over 14 million) our team would make screen shots of important passages and add these to powerpoint sets, as well as filing whole documents in various work-in-progress files.

“This morning I revisited one of these powerpoints, containing 72 slides on what we found about the tobacco industry’s interests in children. As you will expect, these show naked, intense interest by the industry in children, sometimes very young children. They also show the ways in which the industry tried to deny this interest whenever confronted with it,” said Emeritus Professor Simon Chapman AO.


Oakland Votes to End Sale of All Flavored Tobacco, Eliminating Loophole Tobacco Industry Exploited

“WASHINGTON, D.C. – Oakland’s City Council today took an important step to protect the health of its kids by unanimously (8-0) ending the sale of all flavored tobacco products at all locations with no exemptions. This action – which covers flavored e-cigarettes, cigars and menthol cigarettes – is the right move to reverse skyrocketing youth use of e-cigarettes and stop tobacco companies from targeting and addicting kids with flavored products. It also couldn’t come at a better time as health experts are warning that smoking and vaping can worsen the effects of COVID-19. It’s more critical than ever to keep our lungs healthy. This measure is necessary to prevent flavored tobacco products from addicting a new generation of kids and reversing the enormous progress we have made in reducing youth tobacco use.”


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

“The City of Melbourne has unanimously passed a motion proposing a ban on e-cigarettes and vaping in selected areas throughout the city.

“The move comes after councillors voted in favour of a motion to amend council’s local law to align with the Tobacco Act 1987 by including vaping using an e-cigarette at the Future Melbourne Committee meeting on May 5.

“The proposed amendment to the council’s Local Law will now go through a public consultation process, before councillors have the final vote on the ban later this year.

“The proposed changes aim to strengthen our existing smoke-free initiatives by further protecting children and young people from accessing, using and being exposed to e-cigarettes,” Lord Mayor Sally Capp said.


WHO launches reports on novel tobacco products to help bridge gap between science and policy

“WHO is publishing 3 reports to inform countries on the current state of scientific knowledge, and regulatory and policy options available on novel tobacco products such as electronic nicotine delivery systems (ENDS), electronic non-nicotine delivery systems (ENNDS) and heated tobacco products (HTPs).”

Read the reports

Electronic nicotine and non-nicotine delivery systems: a brief

Heated tobacco products: a brief

Country case studies on electronic nicotine and non-nicotine delivery systems regulation, 2019. Brazil, Canada, the Republic of Korea and the United Kingdom



Big Tobacco Front Group Still Spending Millions on Spin, Not Science

“Initial analysis of the Foundation for a Smoke-Free World’s 2019 tax return provides further evidence that it operates primarily as a PR arm of tobacco giant Philip Morris International.

“PMI is one of the world’s largest transnational tobacco companies. In 2019 it shipped over 700 billion cigarettes worldwide, with a net revenue of $78 billion. Despite the Foundation claiming it is a scientific organisation, almost a third (31%, $24.52 million) of its $80 million budget in 2019 was spent on salaries, PR, legal and other fees. Only about half ($41.09 million) went on grants, according to an initial analysis of the tax return by the Tobacco Control Research Group (TCRG) at the University of Bath, a partner in STOP.”



Tobacco industry tactics to circumvent and undermine the menthol cigarette ban in the UK

“Leaked Philip Morris International (PMI) documents reveal that it opposes flavour bans, and our monitoring of industry activity indicates that tobacco companies have been exploiting loopholes in the menthol ban and related legislation in the UK, particularly in the months leading up to the ban. The purpose of the paper is, therefore, to expose these gaps and loopholes that other jurisdictions may need to close when developing similar legislation.”


COVID-19 Related Deaths At Tobacco Factory In Indonesia Are Latest Example of Prioritizing Profits Over Workers

“Global tobacco industry watchdog STOP (Stopping Tobacco Organizations and Products) and Action on Smoking and Health (ASH) are urging caution following a rash of reports that tobacco industry practices may be putting their workers at risk for COVID-19. The alert comes amid news that two factory workers have died from COVID-19 and dozens of others tested positive at HM Sampoerna, a Philip Morris International affiliate in Indonesia.”


Does vaping lead to smoking? Accumulating evidence of a gateway effect

“Four years ago, there was uncertain evidence that e-cigarette use by adolescents might lead to more smoking later on. Since then, a number of additional studies have been done. While the resutls vary, the evidence now consistently shows that early e-cigarette use is associated with subsequent uptake of smoking.

This post highlights four studies that show how evidence of a “gateway” effect has become progressively stronger over four years.”



Blowing Unsmoke – Organised Crime and Corruption Reporting Project

“Philip Morris International, one of the world’s largest tobacco companies, is promoting its new star product, the IQOS, as everything except what it really is: a tobacco delivery device.

“After decades of pressure from anti-smoking groups, the world’s major tobacco companies have been forced to admit that cigarettes cause cancer and other serious health conditions like heart disease and emphysema.

“In many countries they have been hit with major restrictions — bans on advertising and promotion and strict limits on indoor smoking — stemming from the landmark Framework Convention on Tobacco Control (FCTC), an international treaty that aims to reduce the demand and supply of tobacco.

“So 14 years on, the industry is also pivoting. PMI launched a global campaign last year called “Unsmoke Your World,” urging smokers to give up cigarettes. “Society expects us to act responsibly,” it proclaims on its website. “And we are doing just that by designing a smoke-free future.”

“Cigarette sales are declining everywhere in the world and we are going to accelerate this decline,” chief executive Andre Calantzopoulos told the BBC last year.

But while PMI says it wants the world to be smoke-free, it has no intention of making it tobacco-free.”



Global recognition for RACGP smoking cessation guidelines

“The college has been named as one of the recipients of the WHO World No Tobacco Day 2020 awards.

“The awards recognise the contributions to tobacco control of individuals or organisations in each of the six World Health Organization (WHO) regions.

“Published on the World Health Organization (WHO) website, the awards are announced ahead of World No Tobacco Day on 31 May.

“The RACGP, one of the Western Pacific Region awardees, has been recognised for its Supporting smoking cessation: A guide for health professionals.

“The updated guidelines were released in early 2020 and provide up-to-date, evidence-based recommendations that can be used by a wide range of health professionals when assisting patients to quit smoking.”



Tweet of the Week

“From the release: @RACGPPresident also said….“When we released the guidelines it was unfortunate that our position on vaping was misrepresented by some pro-vaping organisations who claimed we were coming out ‘in support’ of vaping….the RACGP does not endorse vaping.” said Dr Sarah White, Director Quit Victoria (@SarahWhisar)


From the archives: 70th anniversary of landmark article by Wynder and Graham

May 27th marks 70 years since the publication of a landmark article by Wynder and Graham, ‘Tobacco Smoking as a Possible Etiologic Factor in Bronchiogenic Carcinomas: A Study of Six Hundred and Eighty-Four Proved Cases’, which found a seven-fold increase in the risk of lung cancer associated with smoking.

See also
Anniversaries and action – Daube M. Tobacco Control.

Tobacco Control News

Calling out companies responsible for putting cartoons on e-juice labels – Nicotine & Tobacco Research

Big Tobacco use menthol cigarette ban to promote rival products – The Bureau of Investigative Journalism

Vaper, Beware: The Unique Toxicological Profile of Electronic Cigarettes – Environmental Health Perspectives

Public Health and Medicine’s Need to Respond to Cannabis Commercialization in the United States: A Commentary – Center for Tobacco Control Research and Education

Tobacco industry and public health responses to state and local efforts to end tobacco sales from 1969-2020 – PLoS ONE