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ACOSH Advocacy in Action - 21 March

Welcome to the fifth edition of the ACOSH Advocacy in Action e-bulletin for 2019. 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.

Tougher tobacco laws to further protect WA children and community health

Tough new amendments to the Tobacco Products Control Act 2006, announced in September last year, came into effect this week.

“It has been long overdue given how outdated the act already was when we arrived in government. The strengthened reforms are aimed at improving community health – in particular reducing tobacco exposure to children,” said Hon Roger Cook, Deputy Premier; Minister for Health; Mental Health. 

The strengthened tobacco legislative changes are as follows:

Sales
• Shopping reward schemes are not allowed to include tobacco purchases.
• The sale of fruit and confectionery-flavoured cigarettes and split-pack cigarettes are banned/outlawed.
• Tobacco licences will not be issued for the sale of tobacco products at sporting, cultural or other events, such as music festivals or market stalls.

Signage and display
• Updated health warnings must be displayed next to where tobacco information or price signage is publicly displayed.
• Tobacco price information signs or price boards will be reduced in size to no larger than A4.
• Specialist tobacco retailers are no longer allowed to display tobacco products or smoking implements where they can be seen from a public place outside the premises.

Restricted smoking areas
• Smoking is not allowed within five metres of a public entrance to an enclosed public place, and within 10 metres of air conditioning intakes.

Administration of the Act
• Enforcement agencies, such as the Department of Transport and local councils are able to appoint restricted investigators following guidelines issued by the Director General of the Department of Health

Cancer Council WA in partnership with ACOSH published a media release in support of these new laws.

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Smoking and pancreatic cancer: yet another reason to quit

“Thousands of cases of pancreatic cancer could be avoided in the coming decades if current smokers could kick the habit, prompting one expert to call for a renewed commitment to making tobacco control and smoking cessation “public health priority number one”.

Research published in the MJA estimated that, if smoking prevalence remains unchanged, 21.7% of future pancreatic cancer cases would be explained by current or recent smoking.”

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An Update on Hardening: A Qualitative Review

As smoking rates decline, some people have argued that a greater proportion of the remaining smokers are likely to be ‘hardcore’ smokers who are unwilling or able to quit (also known as the ‘hardening hypothesis’); however, the evidence does not uphold this theory.

The latest qualitative review by John R Hughes in Nicotine & Tobacco Research concluded:

“These results convincingly indicate hardening is not occurring in the general population of smokers. On the other hand, the prevalence of smoking is declining less among older and women smokers, and smokers with low education, low income, psychological problems, alcohol/drug abuse, medical problems, and greater nicotine dependence, than among those without these characteristics, presumably due to less quitting. Why this has not lead to decreased success in stopping smoking in the general population is unclear.”

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Another way that e-cigs are causing harm: Undermining smokefree home and car policies

Jeremy E. Drehmer and colleagues published “Parental Smoking and E-cigarette Use in Homes and Cars” in Pediatrics showing that parents who are dual users of cigarettes and e-cigarettes are less likely to have and enforce smokefree policies in their homes and cars than parents who just smoke.

“The finding that a large majority of parents who use e-cigarettes permit vaping inside homes and cars is an alarming trend,” said Jeremy Drehmer, lead author of the report.

“We are concerned that parents have been misled by the marketing of vaping products and now believe that the aerosol produced by these products is harmless to children. Pediatric health care providers need to help set the record straight and inform parents that e-cigarette vapour is not safe for children,” said Mr Drehmer.

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The public health consequences of e‐cigarettes: a review by the National Academies of Sciences. A call for more research, a need for regulatory action

“Of the nearly 50 conclusions in the NAS report, the strongest evidence (deemed as substantial or conclusive) is listed in Box 1. Are ENDS harm‐reducing or harm‐creating? The answer is probably both. That is, ENDS may be harm‐reducing for smokers seeking to quit (i.e. when the comparator is combustible tobacco), while harm‐creating for former or never smokers, particularly among youth, for whom ENDS use appears to increase the risk of future use of combustible tobacco.”
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As “safe as drinking coffee”? Research spoiling the e-cigarette rehabilitation of nicotine party.

“The global effort by the vaping & tobacco industries to rehabilitate nicotine as benign & “just like coffee” is willfully blind to a lot of evidence about nicotine as a tumour promoter & its role in psychosis.”

“After you read these [articles], ask yourself: does this sound like a benign drug that should not be regulated (as was NRT) and made as freely available as coffee? Or should it be strictly regulated so that we don’t repeat the massive mistake that was made with treating cigarettes as a somehow above regulation of their ingredients and highly engineered chemistry.”

Read more on Emeritus Professor Simon Chapman’s blog.

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Altria shares fall after FDA’s Gottlieb describes ‘difficult’ meeting on Juul

Shares of Altria dropped 2.5 percent in a sudden move after Food and Drug Administration Commissioner Scott Gottlieb said a meeting last week with the company and its e-cigarette investment Juul was “difficult.”

Gottlieb said he did not come away with any evidence that public health concerns drove Altria’s decision to invest in Juul, and instead says it looks like a business decision. Altria took a $12.8 billion stake in the e-cigarette maker late last year.

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Thursday 21 March is Close the Gap Day 2019

National Close the Gap Day is an opportunity to send our governments a clear message that Australians value health equality as a fundamental right for all. The aim is to bring people together to share information, and most importantly, to take meaningful action in support of achieving Indigenous health equality by 2030.

The Close the Gap Campaign has released its 2019 priorities for the next government of Australia.  The proposed policy agenda will, if fully funded and implemented, provide a pathway forward for an incoming government to achieve tangible improvements in life expectancy and other key health indicators.

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From the Archives

‘Whatever you do, just don’t smoke.’ 

As part of the 1986 WA Quit Campaign, a Yul Brynner TV advertisement was produced.

The original version of the advertisement was made available by the American Cancer Society.

A new introduction featuring the then Australian Medical Association (WA Branch) President, Dr David Watson, was added.

When the Australian Broadcasting Tribunal effectively banned the advertisement, extensive publicity and media coverage of their decision was orchestrated.

The 1986 Quit campaign events and activities, including reference to the Yul Brynner controversy, received massive television news and current affairs coverage.

Tobacco Control News

Vaping is an urgent threat to public health – The Conversation

Juul Labs hires former Apple employee to lead the fight against counterfeits – TechCrunch

Tobacco control needs evidence-based action by Governments – ACOSH Media Release

3 myths about mental health and quitting smoking – Truth Initative

San Francisco officials look to ban sale of e-cigarettes – Reuters

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