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ACOSH Advocacy in Action - 30 July 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.
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WHO reports progress in the fight against tobacco epidemic

“The eighth WHO Report on the global tobacco epidemic launched today summarizes national efforts to implement the most effective demand reduction measures from the WHO Framework Convention on Tobacco Control (WHO FCTC) that are proven to reduce tobacco use. These measures are known collectively as “MPOWER”.

• Since 2007, 102 countries have introduced one or more MPOWER measures at the highest level of achievement.

• More than half of all countries are now covered by graphic health warnings on tobacco packaging at best-practice level

• While being the most effective way to reduce tobacco use, taxation is still the MPOWER policy with the lowest population coverage and has not increased from the 13% achieved in 2018.

• Of the 5.3 billion people protected by at least one MPOWER measure, over 4 billion live in low- and middle-income countries (LMICs) (or 65% of all people in LMICs).”

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WHO report: Need to tackle threats posed by new nicotine and tobacco products

“For the first time, the 2021 report presents new data on electronic nicotine delivery systems, such as ‘e-cigarettes’. These products are often marketed to children and adolescents by the tobacco and related industries that manufacture them, using thousands of appealing flavours and misleading claims about the products..

“WHO is concerned that children who use these products are up to three times more likely to use tobacco products in the future. The Organization recommends governments to implement regulations to stop non-smokers from starting to use them, to prevent renormalization of smoking in the community, and to protect future generations..

“Nicotine is highly addictive. Electronic nicotine delivery systems are harmful, and must be better regulated,” said Dr Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus, WHO Director-General, “Where they are not banned, governments should adopt appropriate policies to protect their populations from the harms of electronic nicotine delivery systems, and to prevent their uptake by children, adolescents and other vulnerable groups.”.

“84 countries lack safe-guards to protect from unregulated proliferation of electronic nicotine delivery systems.”

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Corporate rewards tobacco company as supplier of the year

“IMAGINE an airline announcing that a “superspreader” had won its Passenger of the Year Award. Metcash – “Australia’s leading wholesale distribution and marketing company”, has managed a similar coup with its recent announcement that British American Tobacco (BAT) has received the Metcash Supplier of the Year Award.”

“We have known for more than 70 years that cigarettes are lethal. Even now, they kill more than 20 000 Australians each year and an estimated 8 million people globally. Recent Australian research has shown that cancer risks are significant even for so-called “light” smoking (1-5 cigarettes a day). Cigarettes are so harmful that they may not be sold to children and adolescents, advertised or even displayed in stores, and their packaging has to carry gruesome warning labels.”

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Parents of WA student addicted to ‘vaping’ plead with Education Dept to ‘take it seriously’

“As principals at some WA schools brace for an e-cigarette epidemic among students, parents of a 16-year-old with severe nicotine addiction from vaping say it’s time the Education Department “take it seriously”.

“John and Joanne, who spoke exclusively to The West Live on the condition of anonymity, said their son, a student at a prominent public school in the western suburbs, knew “smoking was stupid” but began experimenting with vaping last year under the impression it was a cool, healthy alternative to traditional cigarettes.

“Within months, the family found themselves in front of a GP, in desperate need of assistance to break what had become a serious nicotine addiction.

“Australian Council on Smoking and Health chief executive Maurice Swanson said all the anecdotal evidence pointed to a spike in the use of vaping devices by Perth teenagers, which follows a well-publicised spike in the Eastern States.

“Mr Swanson said John and Joanne’s experience did not come as a surprise, because a single vape pod, which often come in sweet flavours desirable to young people, could deliver as much nicotine as a full pack of 25 cigarettes.

“In terms of young teenagers, if they start to use these devices they can become very quickly addicted,” he said.”

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Nearly two-thirds of TikTok vaping videos glamorise e-cigarettes, new research warns

“Nearly two-thirds of vaping videos on TikTok glamorise e-cigarettes, a new study warns — and more than a quarter feature children.

“Confronted by the worrying data, researchers have stressed an “urgent need” for age restrictions on vaping videos.

“University of Queensland researchers analysed 808 videos with popular vaping hashtags such as #vapelyf and #vapenation. Collectively, these videos had been viewed more than 1.5 billion times.

“In research published in the journal Tobacco Control, they found that 63 per cent of the videos — accumulating 1.1 billion views — depicting vaping in a positive light.

“Just last month, Australian Council on Smoking and Health chief executive Maurice Swanson warned that teenagers could “easily” be addicted.

“Those messages are being sponsored by tobacco companies … and it’s highly targeted at young people, particularly teenagers,” he told the West Live.

“And now there’s very solid evidence that young people who are non-smokers … who get hooked on nicotine from vaping, are three or four times more likely to graduate to smoking ordinary cigarettes.”

See also:
Vaping on TikTok: a systematic thematic analysis – Tobacco Control Journal

‘Urgent need’ for age restrictions on TikTok vaping videos, Australian study finds – The Guardian

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NT urged to take action over smoking rates

“Aboriginal Medical Services Alliance NT chief executive John Paterson said lessons learned from the response to the COVID-19 pandemic provided the “perfect opportunity” to review the Territory’s current tobacco strategy.

“Mr Paterson said Aboriginal health organisations had helped keep Indigenous communities safe throughout the COVID-19 pandemic and, if resourced properly, could lead the way in solving other long-standing health problems such as smoking.

“Why we’ve been so effective is because we’ve had the resources, we’ve been funded to get arms and legs on the ground, pumping those [COVID-19 safety] messages out,” Mr Paterson said.

“There needs to be more investment if we are serious and fair dinkum about reducing the number of Indigenous Australians who are smoking.”

“David Thomas, an academic with the Menzies School of Health Research and the NTTCAC chair, agreed.

“In an era where the NT government is doing world-class public health in response to the COVID epidemic, it is time they do world-class public health in response to the tobacco epidemic,” he said.

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Tobacco industry capitalises on the COVID-19 pandemic

“The COVID-19 pandemic does not seem to have done much damage to the tobacco industry. “Beyond disruption to supply chains, analysts believe the short-term impact of COVID-19 on the tobacco industry will be relatively limited”, states British American Tobacco (BAT) on their website. They add that “it is likely that key cigarette volumes were only slightly lower than expected in 2020”.

“The most visible activities over the past 18 months or so have involved so-called corporate social responsibility, largely in the form of donations of equipment or cash. Article 5.3 of the WHO Framework Convention on Tobacco Control (WHO FCTC) recommends that parties reject partnerships with the industry. “When the tobacco industry makes donations or invests in a community, it is not doing so out of generosity; there are always strings attached”, points out Dr Adriana Blanco Marquizo, head of the secretariat of the WHO FCTC (Geneva, Switzerland). “They will try to use corporate social responsibility as leverage and will later pressure countries not to institute strong tobacco control measures.”

The Lancet Respiratory Journal

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Quit smoking support needed after baby

“Smoking mothers should have more support to quit after their first pregnancy, an extensive Australian study has found.

“A longitudinal study published by Curtin University researchers on Wednesday examined 23 years’ worth of records and histories of 63,540 Australian women with more than one child who smoked during their first pregnancy.

“Lead researcher Gavin Pereira, from Curtin’s School of Population Health, said more than one third of women who smoked during pregnancy were able to stop for their next pregnancy.

“(This) could reduce the risk of early birth in subsequent pregnancy by as much as 26 per cent,” Professor Pereira said.

“What is clear from the study, is that maintaining quit messages and support for women who smoked during pregnancy, even after birth can have a significantly positive outcome for both them and their subsequent babies.”

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Smoking and vaping among Canadian youth and adults in 2017 and 2019

“In May 2018, Canada changed their regulatory framework for e-cigarettes and permitted the sale of nicotine-containing e-cigarettes and e-cigarette advertising/promotion.

“Studies have highlighted increases in youth vaping following Canada’s new framework, but there is little research at the population level. This study is therefore the first to examine how smoking and vaping evolved between 2017 and 2019, using data from two nationally representative surveys.

“Between 2017 and 2019, the prevalence of current smoking among Canadians decreased (15.1%–11.9%) and, in 2019, current smoking was higher among adults than youth.

“Between 2017 and 2019, the prevalence of vaping doubled in Canada (past 30-day: 2.8%–4.7%, daily: 1.0%–2.1%). Never smokers, youth, and young adults accounted for most of this increase.

“In 2019, over half of all past 30-day vapers and almost half of daily vapers reported using e-cigarettes for reasons other than smoking cessation, abstinence or reduction.

“Findings suggest that e-cigarettes should be better targeted toward adult smokers for the purpose of smoking cessation in Canada.”

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Who Is ‘Big Tobacco’?

“The short answer: “Big Tobacco” refers to the world’s four largest transnational tobacco companies: Philip Morris International, British American Tobacco, Japan Tobacco International and Imperial Brands. We also refer to these companies as the Big 4.*

“The longer answer: The Big 4 and their subsidiaries, or branches of their companies that they operate around the world, are the force behind the tobacco epidemic that currently kills more than 8 million people every year. While the world spends trillions on tobacco-related costs, the Big 4 continue to rake in massive profits year over year. These companies don’t just attempt to fight tobacco control measures that could save lives. They help drive youth uptake of tobacco use, their products wreak havoc on the environment and—even though some claim to be moving away from cigarettes—continue to make, advertise and sell hundreds of billions of cigarettes every year. They’re the companies that keep the tobacco epidemic going.

“To end the tobacco epidemic, we need to recognize these companies, counter their tactics and prevent them from meddling in life-saving policies. Here are brief introductions to each of the Big 4.”

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Tweet of the week

." “New resources for parents, teachers and teens highlighting the risks associated with teen vaping are now available at http://quit.org.au/teenvaping. Commissioned by the Department of Health Victoria and @DETVic” via @QuitVic

Tobacco control news

Cannabis part of the future says tobacco giant – BBC News

Government has failed to deliver on smoke free pledge for England – Medical Xpress

E-cigarette or vaping product use-associated lung injury (EVALI) masquerading as COVID-19 – BMJ Case Reports

Heated tobacco products: The next generation of smoke-free alternatives targeting teens – ABCNews.go.com

Tobacco firm Philip Morris calls for ban on cigarettes within decade – The Guardian