ACOSH Advocacy in Action - 9 July 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.

Health Minister Greg Hunt delays ban on vaping imports until next year

“Federal Health Minister Greg Hunt has made a last-minute decision to delay the ban on the import of nicotine-based e-cigarettes until the beginning of next year.

“The minister faced an industry campaign, petitions and lobbying from individuals in favour of vaping and coordinated pressure from some members of his backbench in response to his plans to implement a ban from this Wednesday, July 1.

“Under the prohibition, the import of vaporiser nicotine and e-cigarettes would only be approved with a doctor’s prescription. Those in breach of the ban could face a fine of up to $222,000.

“E-cigarettes containing liquid nicotine, and nicotine vaporiser refills are already banned from sale within Australia.

“Mr Hunt has reaffirmed his commitment to proceeding with the import restrictions, arguing it is a measure to prevent non-smokers from becoming addicted to nicotine.”



Why vapable nicotine juice via prescription is sensible public health policy

“Australia’s Health minister Greg Hunt has deferred the introduction by six months of his decision to prohibit the personal importation of vapable nicotine and to make nicotine containing vape juice available in Australia only by doctor’s prescription. The original decision was announced on June 19 , 2020 and was to be implemented from July 1 – just 11 days later.  This was always going to be far too soon to put in place the key mechanisms of the plan, and adequately advise vapers, GPs and pharmacists of the details of the scheme which are summarised here.

“But Hunt’s plan has been very welcomed by everyone in public health I’ve discussed it with.  Here’s why it’s a very smart and responsible move…” said Emeritus Professor Simon Chapman AO in his latest blog.



Aussie SOS to alt-right Koch brothers

The Australian Taxpayers Alliance (ATA) also known as Legalise Vaping Australia, My Choice, and Menzies House has reached out to the alternative right Koch Brothers for financial assistance.

“The ATA, first under founder Tim Andrews and now Brian Marlow, bills itself as the nation’s largest grassroots advocacy group representing taxpayers, but has surprisingly little to do with actual tax.

“The ATA does stick up for taxpayers – notably Google, Facebook, Netflix, and tobacco and vaping companies.

“But it leaves lesser bodies like the Tax Institute to handle humdrum issues like depreciation allowances, transfer pricing, thin cap rules or the OECD’s Base Erosion Profit Shifting reforms (except to say it’s bad).

“The ATA focuses on critical issues – attacking the World Health Organisation, climate change, the Murray Darling Basin Authority, political correctness, university links to the Chinese Communist Party, the ABC, “lollygagging environmental activists” (some of whom require prison terms), and public servants (or “taxpayer-funded goblins”, as the ATA calls them)…”



No letting up on Big Tobacco

“The Australian Medical Association (WA), the Australian Council on Smoking and Health (ACOSH) and Cancer Council WA marked this year’s World No Tobacco Day on 31 May by urging our State’s Minister for Health, the Hon Roger Cook MLA, to work with his fellow Health Ministers to limit the tobacco industry’s ability to addict children and youth to nicotine and tobacco.”

“… Disturbingly, there is currently no legislation in Australia that controls the contents or design on the world’s most addictive and lethal consumer product that kills more than 20,000 Australians each year – and 8 million globally.

“Australian Health Ministers should urgently introduce new legislation that controls the contents and design of tobacco products to reduce their addictiveness.”



FDA Puts Kids, Public Health at Risk by Allowing Philip Morris to Market IQOS Heated Cigarette as Modified Risk Tobacco Product

“WASHINGTON, D.C. – Setting a dangerous precedent that puts kids and public health at risk, today the U.S. Food and Drug Administration authorized the marketing of Philip Morris’ IQOS heated cigarette as a “modified risk tobacco product” despite the FDA’s acknowledgement that Philip Morris failed to show that IQOS presents a reduced risk of tobacco-related disease and without requiring Philip Morris to provide evidence, based on any U.S. data, that the product’s marketing won’t appeal to kids.

“With today’s action, the FDA has created a real danger that kids and adults will falsely believe IQOS has been proven to present a lower health risk and that kids will be exposed to marketing that portrays IQOS, a highly addictive tobacco product, as an appealing, cool alternative to cigarettes, in much the same way as e-cigarettes.”



Analysis of FDA’s IQOS marketing authorisation and its policy impacts

“Before marketing a new tobacco product in the USA, manufacturers must submit a premarket tobacco product application to FDA, and FDA is required to deny a marketing order unless the application demonstrates that the product is ‘appropriate for the protection of the public health’.

“FDA issued marketing orders for Philip Morris’ IQOS heated tobacco device and three flavours of IQOS Heatsticks in April 2019.

“FDA’s scientific review of the IQOS application and independent research show that IQOS does not reduce long-term disease risks, emits toxins with carcinogenic and genotoxic potential and the application did not adequately consider the health impacts of dual use, the product’s attractiveness to youth or consumers’ incorrect perceptions of addiction risks.

“FDA’s decision allowing IQOS to be marketed in the USA did not properly consider the science or the law, which may have adverse public health impacts in the USA and in other countries where IQOS is sold.”



Who sells tobacco, who stops? A comparison across different tobacco retailing schemes

“The study reports on a telephone survey of tobacco retailers conducted in August 2018 across three Australian states with different tobacco licensing schemes; NSW, the most populous state in Australia, which requires retailers to register before they can sell tobacco, but does not charge an annual fee; Victoria, the second most populous state, which has no registration or licensing system, and Western Australia (WA), which has had an annual fee-based licensing system since 2007 (currently $A286, after six small increases since its inception).

“There is increasing interest in the use of tobacco retailer licensing as a strategy to move towards a tobacco ‘endgame’, whether defined as no legal tobacco sales or smoking prevalence close to zero.

“However, there is only very limited evidence examining the importance of tobacco sales to retailers, why some stop selling, and how licensing could contribute to lower tobacco sales.

“In what we believe is the first large-scale study of tobacco retailing under very different licensing schemes, we show that an annual licence fee to sell tobacco of less than $A300 may result in some retailers deciding to stop selling tobacco, but a licence fee at that level appears to be less important than other factors (eg, outlet type, perceived importance of tobacco sales and proximity to competitors) in the decision to sell.”



Singapore: Tobacco product packaging standardised from July 1

“All tobacco products sold in Singapore will be subject to standardised packaging from Wednesday (July 1).

“The packaging will include enlarged graphic health warnings, and will apply to all tobacco products, including cigarettes, cigarillos, cigars, beedies, ang hoon and other roll-your-own tobacco products, the Ministry of Health (MOH) said on Monday (June 29).

“These packaging measures, first announced on Oct 31, 2018, are part of a multi-pronged approach aimed mainly at discouraging non-smokers from picking up smoking, encouraging smokers to quit, and encouraging Singaporeans to adopt a tobacco-free lifestyle, which will ultimately lead to reduced smoking prevalence, said MOH.”



Spotlight on the status of tobacco control in the WHO European Region

“WHO has launched a new set of fact sheets which show that progress in the adoption and enforcement of tobacco control policies and measures remains uneven across the Region, in spite of many noteworthy achievements.

“The fact sheets put the spotlight on some of these WHO FCTC measures in the Region:

• Most countries of the European Region appear to be performing well in the measures monitoring tobacco use and prevention policies and warning about the dangers of tobacco, with 39 and 38 countries, respectively, implementing these measures at the highest level.

• The Region is also performing better than globally on raising taxes. In 25 countries tax represents more than 75% of the retail price of the most popular brand of cigarettes. However, the fact that over half of European Region countries levy taxes below best-practice level represents a missed opportunity to raise funds for tobacco control and the health sector broadly.

• The provision of support measure is at best-practice level in only eight countries. Some level of support is provided in another 42 countries.

• Prohibition of smoking, which helps protect from exposure to second-hand smoke, remains insufficient in government facilities, indoor offices, restaurants, pubs and bars, and on public transport across the Region;

• Only seven out of 53 countries had a comprehensive ban on all forms of direct and indirect tobacco advertising in 2018.”



UK: Tobacco firm funded attack on council quit-smoking services

“A PR campaign against council stop-smoking services, which has led to reports in local papers across England, is funded by British American Tobacco, the Guardian can reveal.

“The PR agency Pagefield last week sent news outlets press releases that appeared to attempt to discredit NHS and council stop-smoking services, which are understood to create vast net savings nationally by helping people kick the habit. Pagefield did not initially say it was working on behalf of the manufacturer of cigarette brands including Camel, Pall Mall and Dunhill.

“Citing NHS figures, the press release documented the cost per taxpayer for the schemes in their areas without taking into account the money saved by the health service through the reduced burden from smokers requiring treatment. BAT, which owns the e-cigarette brand Vype, suggested the campaign was intended to encourage smokers into vaping.”



Jordan bans smoking and vaping in indoor public spaces

“The Jordanian government has banned smoking and vaping in all indoor public spaces a week after a Guardian investigation revealed tobacco use in the country had become the highest in the world.

“The country’s health ministry said on Wednesday all enclosed public areas would now be “100% smoke-free environments”, building on an existing but widely flouted ban on smoking inside government buildings, and ending an exemption for hotels, cafes and restaurants provided they separated smokers from non-smokers.

“Public health campaigners cautiously welcomed the announcement as a major step forward in a country where more than 82% of men smoke or consume nicotine in some form, according to government and World Health Organization data published by the Guardian last week.”



Germany to curb tobacco advertising

“The German government announced it will limit the outdoor advertising of tobacco products from January 2022 after years of negotiations in the country’s governing coalition.

“Advertising of tobacco products will only be authorized in tobacco shops while, in cinemas, commercials for tobacco products may only be shown in films that are not aimed at under-18s. Distribution of free tobacco samples will also no longer be allowed outside of specialist stores.

“The restrictions on outdoor advertising are set to be implemented in stages – they will apply from January 1, 2022 for tobacco products, from January 1, 2023 for tobacco heaters and from January 1, 2024 for e-cigarettes. The new regulation for the advertising of tobacco products in movie theaters is expected to come into force at the turn of the year.”



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.



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