Showing posts with label tobacco. Show all posts
Showing posts with label tobacco. Show all posts

Tuesday, 5 December 2017

U.S. court directs four American tobacco companies to publicly set the record straight on the dangers of their products

World Health Organisation (WHO), Statement, 29 November 2017:

GENEVA - In major victories for tobacco control efforts, four U.S. tobacco companies are publishing court-ordered “corrective statements” to set the record straight on the dangers of their products, while a major French bank has announced it will divest its interests in the tobacco industry.

Dr Douglas Bettcher, Director of WHO’s Prevention on Noncommunicable diseases department, says these moves reinforce to the world the need for accelerated action to protect people from tobacco.

“The tobacco control community has been saying for decades that tobacco kills, is addictive and that its manufacturers have known this, while profiting from the suffering of millions of their customers,” says Dr Bettcher. “But by being ordered by the courts to issue these corrective statements in American newspapers and on TV stations, the industry itself has been forced to come clean and acknowledge once and for all that its tobacco products kill.”

The publication of the corrective statements, which started 26 November 2017, follows a lawsuit filed by the U.S. Justice Department in 1999 under the Federal Racketeer Influenced and Corrupt Organizations law. The Federal Court first ordered tobacco companies to implement these corrective statement adverts in 2006, but years of tobacco industry appeals blocked their publication.

But last month, a U.S. court directed that four American companies, Philip Morris USA, R.J. Reynolds Tobacco, Lorillard and Altria, publish the corrective statements on the health effects of tobacco use, second-hand smoke, the false sale and advertising of low tar and light cigarettes as less harmful than regular cigarettes, that smoking and nicotine are highly addictive, and that they have designed cigarettes to enhance the delivery of nicotine.

The statements, appearing in advertisements paid for by the tobacco industry, were ordered to appear in more than 50 U.S. newspapers, as well as on American television stations.

Also, on 24 November, French bank BNP Paribas announced that it would stop its financing and investment activities related to tobacco companies, including producers, wholesalers and traders.

In its announcement, the bank acknowledged the efforts by WHO, and the focus of the WHO Framework Convention on Tobacco Control (WHO FCTC), to ensure people have access to the highest standard of health and “the importance of measures regarding the reduction of demand and supply in order to meet this objective.”

BNP is the latest financial institution to declare it is ending its association with the tobacco industry, including Axa SA and the Bank of New Zealand.

“The message we must take from all this is that the industry cannot be trusted, not now, and not in the future when it tries to market new products as less harmful, like heat not burn, and by funding new organizations that purport to be working for a smoke-free world,” says Dr Bettcher.

The admissions by the U.S. tobacco companies that its products kill and are designed for addiction should strengthen national tobacco control efforts, including implementation by governments of commitments in the WHO FCTC.

To assist in country-level implementation of the WHO FCTC, WHO has introduced the MPOWER package of technical measures and resources, each of which reflects one or more of the demand reduction provisions of the Convention.

These include monitoring tobacco use and the impact of prevention policies; protecting people from tobacco smoke by introducing smoke-free public and workplaces; offering people help to quit tobacco use; warning about the dangers of tobacco use, including by implementing graphic health warnings and plain packaging; enforcing bans on tobacco advertising, promotion and sponsorship; and raising excise taxes on tobacco.

Tuesday, 24 March 2015

How the Irish fought big tobacco and won

In December 2011 the Australian Parliament passed the Tobacco Plain Packaging Act 2011.

Using Australia as a role model, the Irish Government introduced plain packaging for tobacco into law on 9 March 2015.

MerrionStreet Irish Government News Service:

Published on Thursday 19th March 2015

Speech: Dr James Reilly, the Minister for Children and Youth Affairs was today the keynote speaker at the 16th World Conference on Tobacco or Health in Abu Dhabi in the United Arab Emirates

It’s an honour to address you here today as a Minister but I feel particularly privileged as a doctor.
Recently, Ireland became the second country in the world and the first in Europe to enact plain packaging legislation.
This has been a long journey.
We first considered this policy after it was introduced in Australia in December 2012 - and I’d like to pay particular tribute to them.
The road to passing the legislation had far more twists and turns than we anticipated – both in Ireland and in Europe.
It was clear from the outset that there would be additional hurdles to passing legislation for plain packaging in Ireland due to our obligations to comply with European Directives.
At the time, a 2001 Directive was in force which did not permit picture warnings on the front of the packet.
A draft Directive – that would make plain packaging far more effective and legally sound – was progressing slowly through the European bureaucracy.
By a happy coincidence, Ireland held the Presidency of the European Union at the beginning of 2013.
With the support of other countries, we succeeded in passing a new Directive through the Council of Ministers in just six months.
This Directive permitted warnings – including pictures – to occupy 65% of the front and back of the packet and explicitly permitted countries to introduce plain packaging.
It was only when the Directive made its way to the European Parliament that we saw the full power and influence of the tobacco industry at work.
Leaked tobacco industry documents show that 161 lobbyists were hired and millions of euro was spent by one tobacco company alone.
Members of the European Parliament complained that the scale of lobbying on this Directive was unprecedented.
Key parts of the Directive were under serious threat.
There was a very real danger that the European Parliament would vote in favour of reducing the size of warnings and even that the Directive wouldn’t get through the European Parliament.
In an unprecedented response, I and 15 other European Health Ministers co-signed a letter urging Members of the European Parliament to progress the Directive.
At the same time, the Irish Prime Minister and I wrote to every Member of the European Parliament in the largest grouping urging them to keep large warnings on the packets and to progress the Directive.
Thankfully, the tobacco industry’s lobbying was not successful in diluting picture warnings or the right of member states to introduce plain packaging. Ireland’s legislation was evolving in tandem with these events in Brussels.
After the Tobacco Products Directive was passed in Europe, the tobacco industry shifted their focus to Ireland.
Their response was unprecedented and global.
From Members of the European Parliament to US Congressmen. From Indonesian farmers to Irish retailers.
We were lobbied on a scale that Irish politics had never seen before but we had built a strong coalition that proved impenetrable to tobacco industry lobbying.
Politicians from all parties and none joined forces to support this measure. Committed NGOs - from both the public health sector and the protection of children sector - worked tirelessly to maintain public support.
We formed a coalition whose resolve was unshakeable.
When the tobacco industry realised this, they changed tactics.
Japan Tobacco International, Imperial Tobacco and Philip Morris all threatened the Government with legal action should our legislation proceed.
The legal letter from Japan Tobacco International was especially aggressive.
Not only did they attempt to tell a sovereign Government that we did not have the authority to enact plain packaging legislation, they attempted to tell us how far we could progress it through our Parliament and insisted that we provide them with a written undertaking – within a matter of days - not to progress it any further.
They did not receive any such undertaking.
Our plain packaging Bill was passed through our Upper House and Lower House without a single Member of Parliament or Senator voting against it.
There has been a battle to progress this legislation every step of the way.
But these were all battles worth fighting The Irish Philosopher, Edmund Burke said “The only thing necessary for the triumph of evil is for good men to do nothing”.
If we do nothing, the tobacco industry will delay and thwart public health legislation.
If we stand up to them – if we meet them head on – we will defeat them.
Because their only aim is to protect their profits.
Our aim is to protect the health of our people, especially that of our children.
We have the truth on our side.
Truth - as an old lady once told me - is not fragile. It will not break - nor will we.
I’ve been asked repeatedly why don’t we wait to see how a larger country - one with a bigger legal arsenal – gets on with plain packaging before we proceed.
Ladies and Gentlemen, there is a time to follow and there is a time to lead.
When one addiction is responsible for almost one in five deaths in our country – it is time to lead.
We have taken the lead from Australia but we are now giving the lead to Europe.
The UK are following and France intends to move next.
If Europe follows, can the rest of the world be far behind?
I’ve worked as a doctor for almost three decades. I’ve seen first hand the consequences of smoking.
I’ve seen the painful deaths – watching patients gasp for air or waste away from cancer as their lungs fail. I’ve seen the devastation on the faces of their families.
All these deaths are entirely preventable. All these deaths for what? For nothing. This addiction gives nothing to smokers lives and robs us all of so much.
Robs us of 5,200 Irish people who die of smoking every year.
Robs us of 700,000 Europeans who die of smoking every year.
That’s almost the population of Amsterdam annihilated every single year.
That’s 700,000 families who must live their lives without their loved ones. Children without their parents; partners without their partners.
While the economic impact of this can be estimated, the human toll cannot.
But there is hope. Throughout the developed world, smoking rates are falling.
We now know the policies that work.
When we meet again in three years time, I hope cigarettes will be sold in plain packaging, not just in Australia and Ireland, but in the UK, France, Norway, Finland, New Zealand and many other countries.
I hope plain packaging will be driving down smoking rates throughout the world. Throughout the world we have committed NGOs and politicians who are showing the determination required to tackle this scourge head on.
That is why conferences like this are so important. We learn from each other. We learn what works. We learn to stand together. Despite their billions of euros and hidden connections, the tobacco industry can be defeated.
We must  rise to the challenge to protect our children from a killer addiction that ends the lives of half of those who become addicted to it.
Remember: “The only thing necessary for the triumph of evil is for good men to do nothing”.
We won’t stand idly by - our children can’t afford us to fail. Standing together - we can, we must, we will prevail.

Sunday, 31 October 2010

Smokers get royal treatment in Maclean

The Lower Clarence Services Club in Maclean  has gone to great lengths and spared no expense to ensure its patrons who want to have a durrie or two can do so in very comfortable surrounds.

Here are a couple of pics of the new palatial smokers' room which is housed in a new extension the club added to its premises.

Maclean locals are reported to have said they have no idea how much the new building must have cost the club, but they reckon the architect's fees alone were probably a six-figure sum.

Club members and visitors who use the room are reported to be tickled pink and really appreciative of the club's management for making what they describe as "a very bold move".

Patrons who are partial to the dreaded weed said they are sick and tired of having to put up with the terrible antics of club patrons who are on the premises simply for tippling purposes, feeding one-armed bandits or having punts on the TAB and Keno.

"It's about time we were looked after", one patron told NCV. "We've had a gutful of having to hide in toilets and similar locations in the club. Drinkers and gamblers wouldn't put up with the conditions we've had to endure."

Wednesday, 30 July 2008

Stub smoking out

Hip! Hip! Hooray!

At long last the NSW Government is moving to introduce tougher smoking laws.

The move comes two years after the NSW Parliament moved to establish a joint select committee to inquire into tobacco smoking in NSW.

The Committee received 70 written submissions, conducted four public hearings with 40 witnesses, held a public forum and conducted two site visits to the respiratory unit at Concord Hospital and a licensed venue (the Old Fitzroy Hotel in Woolloomoolo).

The Committee's report, which contained 26 recommendations, was tabled on 30 June 2006. The Government then had six months to respond. Read the Government's response here.

Today's Sydney Morning Herald reports:

The new measures approved by NSW cabinet include fines for smoking in cars in which there are children under 16 and a ban on cigarettes being displayed in shops.

Heart Foundation NSW chief executive Tony Thirlwell said smoking was the single biggest cause of heart disease and cancer.

"These measures are a major step forward in protecting young people from the harmful effects of cigarette smoke," he said on Wednesday.

Putting tobacco products out of sight in shops was the most important measure in the package, which also includes a ban on buying cigarettes using shopper loyalty points, Mr Thirlwell said.

"Cigarette packets and displays are powerful forms of tobacco advertising and significantly influence the uptake of smoking among young people," he said in a statement.

"Tobacco kills 15,000 Australians every year and worryingly, nine out of ten smokers start when they are children."

Quit also welcomed the proposed measures, saying other states should follow suit.

Quit executive director Fiona Sharkie said it was important the NSW government had proposed a total ban on the display of cigarettes, rather than leaving room for some displays.

Under the measures, large stores will have six months and smaller shops a year to put tobacco products out of sight.

"You'd be naive to think these tobacco displays in shops are anything other than showy advertisements for a product that will eventually kill half of long-term users," Ms Sharkie said in a statement.

"They are the first thing most people see when going into a shop, usually near ordinary items like newspapers, bread and lollies.

"This gives the false impression that these products are harmless."

The Australian Medical Association (AMA) NSW said taking tobacco products off display would be a powerful disincentive to children.

President Brian Morton said the association also welcomed the ban on smoking in cars with children.

"The confined space of a car means young lungs can inhale high concentrations of tobacco smoke," he said.

"We hope the other states and territories which have not already done so will follow with similar laws."

The laws are expected to be introduced in the spring session when parliament returns from recess.