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Public Submission by Non-Smoker's Movement of Australia Incorporated - Draft National Tobacco Strategy 2010 - 2018

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Submission Form

Details of the person putting forward the submission

Title: Mrs

Name: Margaret Hogge

Mailing Address: P.O Box K860 Haymarket

State / Postcode: NSW 1240

Email address:

Telephone (optional) :

Is your submission on behalf of an organisation or professional association?

If yes, which organisation or professional association?
Non-Smokers' Movement of Australia Incorporated.

What is your position in the organisation?

Are you or your organisation in any way associated or affiliated with the tobacco industry, or receive funds or resources from the tobacco industry?

Please forward your submission to one of the following addresses:
Email: draftnts2012 at Healthcare Management Advisors , or
Post: Draft NTS 2012
Healthcare Management Advisors
PO Box 1311
Fitzroy North VIC 3068
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June 2012

National Tobacco Strategy 2012 - 2018

Everybody has the Right to breathe Clean Air, free from the Poisons in Secondhand Tobacco Smoke

We wish to thank you for the opportunity to make a submission on behalf Non-Smokers' Movement of Australia Inc.

We highly recommend strengthening current smoking and tobacco regulations, for the health and safety of all Australians and especially on behalf of all unborn, infants and children, frail-aged, and people with disabilities.

Our organisation was formed over 30 years ago, in 1977, to fight for every body's basic right .

We have every right expect our Governments to protect our right to breathe clean air.

Some may say that the battles for clean air rights are almost over but due to greed, ignorance, addiction and complacency, there are still 3 3 million Australians who smoke and expel the poisons in tobacco smoke.

If you can smell the tobacco smoke, the poisons are going into your lungs (and your family's lungs) and doing you harm (Thoracic Surgeon, NSW, 2009)

Australia's governments have known for nearly sixty years that tobacco kills.

Tobacco kills more Australians than any other single product.

We call on all of Australia's Governments, to protect all Australians from this totally preventable epidemic.

We have pressing concerns of alcoholism, obesity, and should set our sights on ridding Australia of tobacco quickly in order to concentrate more fully on these other problems.

Children continue to take up smoking at an alarming rate, with very few restrictions.
These are dreadful statistics, considering our knowledge of tobacco's dangers and how nicotine affects young bodies.

Even worse, innocent victims are forced to breathe in the poisons in secondhand smoke from those 3.3 million smokers - children, disabled people and the frail-aged are the silent and helpless victims and have rights which are far more valid than those of people who claim a right to smoke anywhere because they are using a so-called legal product. Chainsaws, cars and guns are also legally available products but are subject to sensible restrictions.

Basic Rights: Tobacco Control embraces such issues as the rights of the unborn, child abuse, the right to breathe clean air, the right to live safely at home protected from outside nuisance and danger from neighbours, civil liberties (smokers' right to use a legally available product but not where it may harm others),anti-discrimination (right to enter places where smokers may be allowed but not their smoke), the right to workplace safety, and a right to government protection of those who cannot protect themselves (so-called Nanny State).

Comments on the Draft National Tobacco Strategy 2012 - 2018

From our regard, the Priority Areas are appropriate, there are some gaps in the Actions, Monitoring and Progress are appropriate, some barriers are noted and comments made below.

Regarding 2.4 (pg. 10)
Smoking prevalence among culturally and linguistically diverse populations.

The lack of firm statistics in these groups is disturbing, with census showing a high percentage of non-English speakers.

The knowledge that high smoking rates are the norm in many non-English speakers' home countries should indicate an urgent call for statistical accuracy and interpreter-assisted smoker education and assistance, especially to prevent further generations taking up smoking.
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Regarding 2.6 (pg.11)
Smoking among secondary school students

See comment below #18 regarding criminal prosecution of suppliers.

Regarding 5.3 (p.18) The Target

The targets are set far too low, considering the fact that the majority of smokers want to quit, that smoking harms not only the user but everyone around, as well as the environment, that tobacco has no useful purpose, that smoking is easily detectable, that smoking costs Australia far more than the revenue collected, and, most tellingly, there are viable and easily-obtainable alternatives available.

Further price rises, hopefully more often, but with similar good results, will bring cuts.

Social marketing campaigns motivating smokers to quit are essential and feasible.

Funding for Quitline should possibly be directed to more successful methods of reducing smoking rates, e.g social media and television campaigns. Calls from 3% of current smokers should not be regarded as trailblazing.

Removal of duty-free status, and lifting the cost of tobacco for special groups such as Defence personnel, will reduce smoking rates.

Plain packaging is expected to reduce uptake and to be a disincentive for young people.

Strong smokefree policies, without interference from vested interests, will also bring smoking rates down.

Vigorous defence against smuggling and black-market will also keep prices up and smoking rates going down.

Regarding 5.7
Protection of tobacco control policies - some examples of tampering with tobacco control policy for non-health purposes.

It is essential that all policies are protected from vested interests such as the gambling and hospitality industries, the "arts", as well as correctional service inmate-management programs.

For example: :1. Workers and patrons in NSW are being forced to endure a three year delay before the implementation of smokefree outdoor dining due to a commercial and not-legally binding Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) between the Libs/Nationals and Clubs NSW, the agreement ensuring that smoking gamblers would not be forced completely outdoors (thus breaking the gambling trance) for another three years. The Health Minister claims that the delay is due to a need to bring in change gradually, but the true reason had already been outlined.

2. Workers and non-smoking patrons at high-roller rooms in casinos around Australia are subject to unhealthy, smoky conditions indoors due to exemptions to smokefree regulations because casino proprietors have convinced their governments that
business will suffer if international gamblers are forced outside to smoke - a ridiculous stand-off continues between states.

3. Non-smoking prison inmates and corrective service officers, health workers and maintenance staff are subject to the deadly effects of secondhand smoke because administrators declare that inmates are entitled to use tobacco in their cells - this despite the fact that they are not allowed alcohol (another legally available substance). Death and disability continue amongst staff and possibly (probably) amongst inmates. There are several non-tobacco alternatives which should be provided for inmates indoors - they could be allowed to smoke at designated outdoor smoking spaces. There is no basic legal right to smoke.

4. Exemption for smoking tobacco on stage: Non-smoking actors and stage personnel, as well as audiences are, at times, still subjected to assault from tobacco smoke in the interests of "authenticity" on stage. This happens despite the fact that they don't drink real alcohol, don't have real sex, and don't use real bullets. A good actor, with a fake cigarette is much more convincing than a non-smoker actor trying not to do himself/herself damage with a real cigarette, pipe or cigar.

Regarding 6.3
Bolster and build on existing programs and partnerships to reduce smoking rates among Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people

Agreed, these are absolutely essential, and extremely difficult. Hopefully some realisation that quitting is possible, that life doesn't need to end at 60, and that passing on culture (as with Maori) is essential for it to survive, will help older indigenous Australians to quit, and messages about sport and music and that sharing tobacco isn't doing anyone a favour, will help some young people. For young mothers, possibly the message that their babies could suffer nicotine withdrawal symptoms (pain) from birth may help them to look out for their own health and to quit or at least cut back dramatically.
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Regarding 6.5
Eliminate remaining advertising, promotion and sponsorship of tobacco products.

See points below # 25 and #26
Re Films and television and re Media coverage of news items.

Regarding 6.5.7

Should read: Eliminate the advertising of tobacco products…….

Regarding 6.5.8

Should read Eliminate incentive programs…….

Regarding 6.5.9

Should read Remove tobacco from retailer shopper and reward……

Regarding 6.5.10

Should read Prevent tobacco company interference in public health policies…

Regarding 6.6.6

See also our point #18 below.
Criminal prosecution for supply of tobacco to minors.

Regarding 6.6.7

Should read Implement tobacco licensing schemes for retailers and wholesalers. No sale by minors.

Regarding 6.7 Reduce exceptions to smoke free workplaces, public places and other settings

.See our points #6, 7, 8, 9, 10, 11, 12, 13, 14, 15, 16, 17.below.

Regarding 6.7.4

Should read Reduce children's exposure to secondhand tobacco smoke in their homes and when travelling in vehicles (including boats).

Some steps/points towards a truly smokefree and tobacco-free Australia

1. Commit to an end date for tobacco sales, preferably 31 May (World No Tobacco Day) 2017. By that date, sales must be restricted to licensed users only.

2. Confirm that everybody has the right to breathe clean air, free from the poisons in tobacco smoke.

3. Declare tobacco smoke a Toxic Air Contaminant
Government can provide a strong tool for developing far-reaching legislation and legal rights to gain everybody's right to clean, smokefree air in all aspects of their lives.
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4 Declare all tobacco products unsafe.

5. Protect unborn and babies (especially in indigenous communities) by doing everything possible to prevent women from smoking while pregnant and while caring for babies.

6. Smokefree vehicles. Protection simply for children is not enough. All passengers are entitled to protection from the dangers of secondhand smoke. A driver must be fully in control of a vehicle - for safety, they cannot be distracted by the multiple actions of finding and opening a packet, lighting a cigarette, ashing, stubbing out, and then carefully disposing of it. Governments must also prevent bushfires started by tossed butts which at last count caused 4000 bushfires each year around Australia.

7. Smokefree Homes - In the matter of secondhand smoke in the home, nobody should smoke at home where children, frail aged or disabled people are present. In any instance of smoking where children are present, a smoker should be prosecuted for child abuse.

"Child abuse doesn't have to mean broken bones and black and blue marks. Young growing tissues are far more vulnerable to carcinogens than those of adults. Knowingly subjecting children to respiratory tract diseases is child abuse."
Dr William Cahan, Sloan Kettering Cancer Center, USA, 1993

8. Smokefree Indoors, including Residential Institutions. No exceptions.
Residential institutions, such as psychiatric centres, hostels and prisons, if they continue to allow smoking indoors, continue to breach basic workplace safety regulations and their duty of care. The wide range of alternative nicotine therapies should be accessed if designated outdoor smoking area/spaces cannot be used, due to physical disability or sensitive security concerns.
Residents of such institutions should only be allowed to smoke at a limited number of Designated Outdoor Smoking Areas/spaces, strategically placed to prevent tobacco smoke from drifting inside buildings.

9. Smoke seepage, smoke-drift, smoke invasion from neighbours has grown into a huge health and social problem, which calls for strong and positive support, assistance and legislation from Government

"Tobacco smoke travels from its point of generation in a building to all other areas of the building. It has been shown to move through light fixtures, through ceiling crawl spaces, and into and out of doorways. Once exposed, building occupants are at risk for the irritant, allergic and acute and chronic cardiopulmonary and carcinogenic adverse health effects which are known to be associated with environmental tobacco smoke (ETS) exposure", California Chief of Occupational Health and Safety, 1993.

Governments should assist home-dwellers in protecting themselves and their families from secondhand smoke invasion from neighbours. Nobody should be forced to barricade themselves into their homes to protect themselves from neighbours' smoke.

Researchers Winickoff, Gottlieb and Mello in a recent article in New England Journal of Medicine (NEJM) dated 17 June 2010, have advised the USA government that, due to the nature of smoke seepage, and also, in order to protect the most vulnerable members of the community, multi-unit Public Housing should be declared smokefree.

All new-build Strata Properties should be declared smokefree from initial establishment and all others should be allowed to continue for a limited period, following which smoking residents could then apply to the owners' corporation, prove that their smoke is not affecting others, then be given limited dispensation to smoke on the property for a period before re-applying. This is similar to being allowed to keep a pet in a Strata Property - no permission unless it can be proved that secondhand smoke will not affect neighbours.

The same treatment should occur for all multi-unit housing.

Similarly, householders in free-standing homes must have legal recourse against smoke from neighbours, with smoke-drift from outside one's property to be dealt with as property invasion and/or assault.

10. Legislate that children may not enter any smoking-allowed areas, indoors or outdoors(similar to not being allowed in gambling areas).De-normalise smoking in children's eyes - there is nothing normal about smoking.
Nobody can say how much tobacco smoke will trigger life-threatening asthma, Sudden Infant Death Syndrome (SIDS), heart and lung conditions. Governments should designate all areas to be smokefree with the exception of a limited number of designated outdoor smoking areas/ spaces.

Dr. Andrew Penman, CEO of Cancer Council NSW says, "We are recommending to the government that outdoor smoking needs to move…to the assumption that smoking is prohibited from all outdoor areas unless otherwise stated."
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11. Public Transport Waiting Areas- Bus, Boat, Airport, Ferry, Train, Tram and Taxi waiting areas and Vehicle and bicycle Parking Areas should all be declared smokefree, within at least a 10 metre buffer zone Public transport users often wait long periods for their smokefree and environmentally-friendly transport. They are "doing the right thing" by using public transport and are entitled to protection.

12. Smokefree Beaches, Waterways and Jetties
Smoking along all waterways and at jetties (within 10 metres) should be totally banned. The ban should not be limited to patrolled areas. Poisonous cigarette butts cause untold damage to our marine life.

13. Smokefree Zones around Children's Care Centres, Schools, Play -Centres, and Services.
Schools and child-care centres carry high concentrations of children, for at least thirty hours each week. All such centres should have a 10 metre smokefree zone around their borders, not only to protect from the smoke but also to de-normalise smoking in children's eyes.

Similarly, hospitals and medical centres should also have 10 metre smokefree zones surrounding their borders.

14. Smokefree Outdoor Dining and Drinking - Cafes and Restaurants, Pubs and Clubs

These areas are used for long periods, with people of all ages sitting in close proximity to each other. The impact from tobacco smoke in such circumstances can be as bad as indoors. Children and employees should not be allowed near such spaces. Smoking should only be allowed at Designated Outdoor Smoking Areas/Spaces, well-distanced from building openings.

15.Smokefree Parks, Sporting Fields, and all spectator Areas

Sport, active play and smoking simply do not mix. No child should see smoking as a normal part of sport or play. There is nothing normal about smoking.

16. Smokefree Publicly-sponsored Events

Events held on Public Land (e.g. markets/ concerts/festivals/Christmas carols)

All should be declared smokefree, with a simple clause included in contracts. Short announcements, combined with the usual sun-safe messages are sufficient - "This is a smoke-free event"

17. Designated Outdoor Smoking Areas/Spaces All potentially crowded public spaces, such as central business districts, markets, concerts, festivals, and sporting arenas, should have a limited number of Designated Outdoor Smoking Areas/spaces. Designating such spaces should not be regarded as condoning smoking, but as a means to restrict and contain both the tobacco smoke and cigarette butts. When placed at a distance from thoroughfares and building openings they also serve to take smoking out of sight of children, therefore de-normalising smoking in their eyes. There is nothing normal about smoking.

Non-smokers should not be forced to find smokefree spaces. Smokers should search out a space where their secondhand smoke does not affect others.

18. Criminal Prosecution for Suppliers of Tobacco to Minors.

Institute vigorous criminal prosecution of suppliers (including parents and friends). of tobacco products to minors. Such measures are under consideration in several countries, in efforts to stop early take-up by children and potential long-term addiction.

The message "Every cigarette is doing you harm" is especially important where young people experience peer pressure to use abundantly available tobacco and alcohol.

Suppliers must face the legal consequences, with heavy criminal penalties and full publicity.

19. Rigorous testing of all quitting therapies, including non-drug therapies. Subsidies and effective follow-up assistance must be available to smokers when committing to escape from tobacco's stranglehold.

20. Licence to purchase tobacco.
Adults only, fee-paying smart-card or photo-licence scheme, replacing tax revenues and providing frequent opt-out with possible refunds for proven quitting attempts.
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Such a scheme, provided by a Government fully committed to reducing take-up and reducing smoking rates, is well worth immediate consideration. Full public consultation, (national and international), should generate a successful scheme.
See Prof.Simon Chapman's suggestions.

21. Call on Australia's Federal Government to remove duty-free status from all tobacco products and not to provide tobacco products to residents of institutions, but to provide alternative therapies instead. E.g. for refugees and asylum seekers. Australia's taxpayers should not be forced to contribute unwittingly to death and disease from tobacco.

22. Support significant and relatively frequent price increases on all tobacco products.

23 Ban tobacco industry donations/sponsorship of political parties, as well as banning political sponsorship by Big Tobacco's partners such as the Gaming and Hospitality Industries who continue to encourage smoking by providing sheltered, comfortable gambling, dining, and drinking spaces for smokers.

24. Tobacco Sales only from fee-paying licensed retailers with minors prohibited from selling or handling tobacco products. Immediate licence removal if conditions breached. No tobacco vending machines.

25. Media News coverage of all tobacco-related stories should be accompanied by graphic warnings depicting dangers of smoking. The majority of news items about tobacco continue to depict people "enjoying" tobacco products, thereby constituting a form of unpaid advertising - children see these images often and must regard smoking as a "normal" everyday pastime.

Any media item showing smoking, whether in a positive or negative context, continues to normalise smoking in children's eyes.

26. Films/Television shows depicting smoking - to be accompanied by adult rating, and prefaced with warnings.

27. All internet/digital sales to be banned, as proof of age is not possible.

28. Black-market and smuggling activities to be heavily attacked. Funding for protection to be supplied from tax and licensing revenues.

29. Reducing financial support of Big Tobacco.
Remove government and quasi- government investment (e.g. superannuation funds) into all aspects of the tobacco industry.
Also, regulate that tobacco's financial links be completely and openly exhibited to allow public scrutiny and deliberate withdrawal of investors from unintentional funding of the production, packaging and marketing of its deadly products.

30. Strengthen tobacco package warnings Substitute the message of Tobacco Kills, with stronger messages e.g. "Tobacco kills slowly and painfully". Also, "Secondhand tobacco smoke kills slowly and painfully".

31. Sue Big Tobacco for damage caused. Reports indicate that Australia's Health Ministers are carefully considering advice from USA, which could lead to recovery of some of the costs from injury and disease caused by tobacco.

32. Protection of environment: With continuous annual reporting from environment groups (Clean-up Australia etc.) that cigarette butts are the products which cause the most rubbish numerically in Australia, Big Tobacco and its victims/smokers/customers must be forced to provide proof of correct disposal by a system of returning filled butt containers (provided with packaging at point of sale) with an equivalent quantity of butts before further purchase could be made. Retailers, as dealers in the selling chain, would need to provide appropriate environmentally sound disposal. An international search for a viable scheme would undoubtedly generate enthusiastic and feasible responses.

Our land and marine environment must be protected from the well-documented poisons and from the eyesore of these abandoned packages of poison.

Governments and business should not be forced to clean up debris from this particularly offensive product. Current favourable discussions about container deposit and return systems (bottles, cans, etc.) indicate a strong turnaround against "picking-up after tossers".

A smoker licensing scheme, previously mentioned, could include such a butt-return system.

33. Financial incentives for Smokefree Communities
Small communities should be offered incentives and assistance on committing to smokefree lives for an extended period. W.A. Government has funded smokefree youth facilities, etc. with its Healthways scheme. Example: Smokefree Perth Show, Smokefree Collee Speedway.

34. Australia must vigorously maintain its commitment to the international Framework Convention on Tobacco Control.

M. Hogge
Non-Smokers' Movement of Australia Inc. PO Box K860 Haymarket NSW 1240
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Page currency, Latest update: 13 March, 2013