Tasmanian Times

Economy

Smoking, the shabby placenta, children and the Legislative Council

This is a story about promoting a smoke free generation, banning toxic additives and flavourings to cigarettes, reducing the number of retail outlets, especially near schools , improving public health, and the new policy initiative of the legislative Council.

The Legislative Council and tobacco reform in Tasmania.

There has been some surprise expressed that the Legislative Council has initiated a major health reform in August 2012. This is no surprise to me as I have been working with the Legislative Council on the passage of legislation for twenty years. As the public servant responsible for the development of the HIV/AIDS Prevention Act 1993, and funding for the AIDS Council, I stoically endured the spittle of Hon. George Brookes as he sprayed advisers forced to sit in the front row and powerless to speak, with his venom filled speeches denouncing homosexuality.

The Legislative Council of 2012 is a completely different place with a group of well informed, educated,intelligent and courteous members. Gone are the tirades against homosexuality and any attempt to improve public health we endured in 1993. A few of the enlightened members of the Legislative Council of yesteryear remain in the chamber and continue to make useful contributions. It is still of course conservative and careful, but tempered with consideration and an eye for reform in areas where it will benefit Tasmanians.

The new Legislative Council is not prepared to sit back and wait for Bills to be served up from the House of Assembly, nor to be restricted to picking the bones of legislative carcasses. The new Legislative Council appears to want more of a say on what goes on in Tasmania and is prepared to put forward new ideas. Well this can only be a good thing – yes?

The new Legislative Council contains members who are thinkers, who read briefs, who do research and are there to discuss ideas as well as deal with government legislation. One of those is Ivan Dean from Launceston, a former Mayor, and police officer and passionate advocate for smoking restrictions and tobacco control.

Many of the speakers from the Legislative Council were visibly moved and affected by the debate. Several recorded losing family members to smoking related illnesses.

The SmokeFree generation motion

Last week on the 21 August the Legislative Council passed a motion. The media covering the story only focussed on one particular point, that is, the idea of a smoke free generation. Even the Liberal member of the Legislative Council supported this motion. Although some expressed a few misgivings outside the Chamber, they voted for the well-worded motion.

The motion that the Legislative Council passed unanimously reads;

“That the Legislative Council calls on the government to initiate and promote measures, including if necessary further legislative measures, to restrict access to tobacco products and reduce smoking and the harmful effects of smoking by –
(1) supporting a tobacco-free Generation of children born this century in Tasmania;
(2) banning flavourings, additives and filter ventilation – including menthol – in tobacco products sold in Tasmania;
(3) progressively reducing the availability of tobacco products in Tasmania; and
(4) requiring the Education department to implement evidence-based, monitored and evaluated anti-tobacco education and smoking cessation programs in all government schools on an ongoing basis.”

Few reading this story would disagree with any of that, yet Jeremy Rockcliff of the Liberals thundered;

“What’s next, 50 lashes for people who break the rules?”

http://www.examiner.com.au/story/86711/tobacco-ban-idea-for-those-born-after-2000/

You will notice that this proposal includes several measures to reduce smoking, including getting rid of toxic additives and flavourings, and menthol as well as reducing availability which means fewer retailers in the longer term, especially near schools. It is not just about changing the smoking age.

The proposal does not criminalise smokers, as the law in Tasmania already does not. The proposal is aimed at stopping sales of cigarette products to anyone born after the year 2000. It is aimed at the retailers, not the smokers.

This proposal comes out of the World Conference on Tobacco or Health 2012 in March this year. My colleague, former WHO tobacco control expert Dr. Harley Stanton, a Tasmanian now living near Launceston, talked to Professor Jon Berrick who had given a presentation on the smoke free generation idea. Professor Berrick expressed an interest in coming to Tasmania to talk to the Minister as he was aware from news reports that Michelle O’Byrne was keen to reduce smoking rates in Tasmania, and seemed to be open to new ideas1.

Professor Berrick is a Mathematics Professor at Singapore and Yale Universities, has published extensively and an expert on “braids”.http://www.a-star.edu.sg/AwardsScholarships/PresidentsScienceandTechnologyAwards/PastNationalScienceTechnologyAwardsWinners/NSTAWinners2007/WinnerCitationDeptofMathematicsNUS/tabid/591/Default.aspx

His website is at http://www.tobaccofreesingapore.info/ and you can read the original proposal published here http://www.tobaccofreesingapore.info/the-facts/journal-article/

And here are some FAQs http://www.tobaccofreesingapore.info/the-facts/faqs/

In May 2012 Professor travelled to Launceston and Harley and Jon Berrick and I went to talk to Michelle O’Byrne. We presented her with a paper which had four ideas,

We proposed four initiatives

1. Support a tobacco free generation of children born this century
2. Ban flavourings and additives and filter ventilation (including menthol) in cigarettes sold in Tasmania
3. Sue the tobacco industry for health and social damages to Tasmanians
4. Consider progressively reducing availability of tobacco

The Minister told us that she was seeking legal advice on suing the tobacco industry and would consider the other three matters. She later decided to refer the matter of a tobacco free generation to the Children’s Commissioner for a report.

Professor Berrick then travelled to Hobart and gave presentations to non-government organisations at SmokeFree Tasmania and to researchers at the Menzies Research Institute Tasmania. He gave an interview to the Mercury which sparked a front page story, and led to other media taking an interest in the issue. The mercury editorial was very supportive.
http://www.themercury.com.au/article/2012/05/14/328195_editorial.html
http://www.themercury.com.au/article/2012/05/12/327411_todays-news.html
http://www.examiner.com.au/story/86711/tobacco-ban-idea-for-those-born-after-2000/

Hon Ivan Dean, always interested in smoking issues, took an interest in the issue and talked to many people, including cancer researchers, read widely and talked to me and Harley Stanton and Launceston doctors. He corresponded with Professor Berrick and other leading researchers. We gave him articles and information and background, as well as the proposal we had given to the Minister. Ivan felt that more need to be done on Education; hence he introduced the motion that was passed in the Legislative Council in August.

Ivan Dean said in the Parliament

“The tobacco industry has run false antismoking campaigns for children, which have in fact encouraged children to smoke. The tobacco industry is no ordinary industry. It has deceived the people of the world for over half a century. It has failed to make cigarettes safer even though it knows how to do so. It has been involved in deceptive activity and was said not to be upfront with the United Nations state congress. It is all on record.

In Australia it has illegally destroyed documents prior to and during a court case and it has been found guilty of misleading and deceptive conduct by the ACCC. This is an industry selling a product that they know very well is extremely harmful. “
……………………………..
“Point one – the smoke-free Generation proposal. The proposal is to end the sale of tobacco products to any person born since 2000. These people are now 12 years old or younger – there would be a six-year lead-in time if this were enacted within the next 12 months. It would mean we would have a Generation of people not exposed to tobacco products. It would be easier for retailers to enforce because, when they ask for ID, all they would need to see is whether the person was born since the year 2000. Currently, it is a mathematical exercise to identify whether or not a person is 18 years of age and can buy cigarettes. If it were related to the year 2000 it would be very clear, and easily identifiable by anybody.

Why would this work? Teenagers generally get cigarettes from their peers. A study in Minnesota in the USA discovered that of 4 000 smokers aged 15 to 16 who had ever given tobacco to an underageteen, 86 per cent gave it to a same-age friend or acquaintance, 37 per cent gave it to a younger friend or acquaintance and 19 per cent gave it to a stranger. Young people are more likely to give cigarettes to other young people. As the Generation reaches 18 years, there will be fewer of them smoking. While some of that Generation might smoke when they turn 18, as time goes on fewer and fewer will be able to gain legal access to tobacco products, and consequently fewer will smoke.

Furthermore, the whole idea of smoking being an adult choice, as promoted by the tobacco industry, provokes a backlash and rebellion in children who want to appear to be adults, and appear older. The signs you see in shops saying, ’18-plus – it’s the law’ are in fact tobacco industry signs, because their research shows this is more likely to encourage young people to smoke. In fact, our legislation as it currently stands – that you cannot legally smoke until you are 18 years – is sending the wrong message, and I have said time and time again that it is sending the wrong message. It creates a real conundrum for young people – it is saying that they cannot and/or should not smoke until they are 18, but from that time on it is okay, and it is not bad for them and we, as the leaders of this state, have made it lawful for them to smoke. It is just sending the wrong message – you cannot smoke before you are 18, but when you turn 18 you can legally smoke. It is just the wrong message.”

Flavourings and additives:

Mr. Dean said

“I want to go to point 2 now: flavourings, additives, filter ventilation and pH levels. A 2007 World Health Organisation Technical Report entitled The Scientific Basis of Tobacco Product Regulation, says at page 37:

Published research strongly suggests that youth targeting through marketing and product modifications influences youth smoking behaviour.

Page 6, paragraphs 32 to 35:

Flavoured tobacco products may play a crucial role in this process, promoting youth initiation and helping young occasional smokers to become daily smokers by reducing or masking the natural harshness and taste of tobacco smoke. Their potential for increased harm at the individual and population level may go unrecognized without appropriate governmental regulation of the technology used in this new Generation of flavoured tobacco products.

At page 26:

Studies based on the tobacco industry’s internal documents suggest that flavouring agents may also play an important role in the industry’s targeting of young and inexperienced smokers. Menthol has been used to target new smokers across different ethnic groups, and additives such as chocolate, vanillin and licorice have been part of an intensive industry effort to increase the market share of the Camel brand within the youth market. Additives have also been shown to promote smoking among youths by masking the negative taste of tobacco smoke with flavours.”


What is filter ventilation and why ban it?

As well as additives filter ventilation needs to be banned.

http://www.tobaccoinaustralia.org.au/chapter-12-tobacco-products/12-4-general-engineering-features-of-australian-ci

The online website Tobacco in Australia provides detailed facts about the usage of tobacco2

“In about 90% of Australian brands, the tipping paper contains perforations—known as filter ventilation—to dilute the smoke with fresh air when the smoker takes a puff. This inconspicuous feature turns out to be highly important for the purpose of creating variety in taste and harshness/irritation, as well as for creating variation in tar, nicotine and carbon monoxide yields.13 Furthermore, filter ventilation is a design feature that enables ‘tar’, nicotine and carbon monoxideyields to be reduced, while enabling smokers to still obtain rewarding doses of nicotine.

Filter ventilation is the primary means by which the taste strength and harshness of Australian manufactured cigarettes is varied. The second most important means is the use of filters of differing densities and lengths. When filter ventilation level is increased, the density or length of the filter is usually also increased so as to keep the overall draw resistance of the cigarette within the range that smokers prefer.”

Smokers compensate for this by drawing in harder and thus inhaling more smoke, and therefore more carcinogens.

Kozlowski et al say

“Firstly, and possibly most noteworthy, ventilated filter cigarettes taste lighter and milder than their unvented counterparts. This lighter taste provides concrete and ill founded reassurance to the Light smoker. Secondly, filter ventilation facilitates compensatory smoking by promoting the taking of bigger puffs. Thirdly, vent blocking appears to be a substantial problem on 1 mg tar, heavily ventilated cigarettes, in addition to promoting still larger puffs. Filter ventilation is an ingenious device for an industry that acts to appease regulators and satisfy consumers. It directly reduces standard toxin yields, while at the sametime it carries to human beings a false sense of security through the milder taste and continued risk through bigger puff volumes and behavioural vent blocking on the most heavily vented brands. Filter vents should be recognised as a deceptive and defective design feature and their use banned. Governments should take ventilation into account in regulatory structures, particular yield maximums3.

What do Tasmanian children smoke

Ivan Dean went on to say in Parliament
“A report prepared for the Cancer Council on a survey of use of tobacco and other substances among Tasmanian secondary school students in 2008 noted on page 9:
The brand of cigarettes most commonly smoked by 12- to 17-year-old current smokers was Peter Jackson (44 per cent), with Longbeach the second most popular brand (29 per cent).

If you look at the contents of these cigarettes favoured by children, Peter Jackson and Longbeach, we find Peter Jackson brand variations have cocoa and cocoa products or chocolate and sugar. Longbeach has chocolate added as well as other unnamed flavourings and additives. General ingredients in Australian cigarettes includes – listen to some of these ingredients – oils of orange, parsley, pine needle, peppermint, carrot, celery seed, Hungarian chamomile and cinnamon, citric acid, carob bean, coffee cognac, coriander, ginger, honey, lemon, licorice, lovage, sugars and spearmint. Whew! Some of the additives that are in cigarettes. You would never believe it, would you? I had trouble understanding it and accepting it myself.

Of course, most of these ingredients are benign in food but once you light them and smoke them and breathe in the fumes, they can have all sorts of toxic effects on the lungs and throat of the smoker. So it is a whole different thing once you do all of that with it. It is important that we understand it is not just the additives that go into cigarettes that are a problem, it is the emissions and what is in the smoke that comes out and goes into people’s lungs, eyes, skin and around them as a result of lighting that cigarette.

An additive that is benign when eaten can be toxic when smoked. Therefore, regulations must control emissions as well as additives.”

Alkalinity of cigarettes

“Finally, there is a question of alkalinity in cigarettes. Tobacco, in its original form, had a high pH and was very hard to inhale. We should make cigarettes uninhalable by raising the pH, that is, making them more alkaline with a pH above 8. Cigarettes have been designed to create and sustain addictions but they could easily be redesigned to be far less deadly and not at all addictive. These are the words of Robert Proctor in his new book, Golden Holocaust. This is an interesting book. Some of you might want to get it and have a look at it.”

Cigarettes would be far less lethal, for example if the pH of cigarette smoke were restored to the levels before the invention of flue-curing. Flue curing lowered the pH of cigarette smoke allowing it to be inhaled: this fatal design flaw has spread throughout the world, part of efforts to make cigarettes ‘milder’.

By returning smoke pH back to where it was prior to nineteenth century, cigarettes would no longer be inhaled, and most of the lung cancer hazard would vanish. Much of the appeal of smoking would also disappear, especially for starters, that is children. That is the area that we are targeting, Madam President – children, that is where we need to stop it.

The tobacco companies developed flue-cured tobacco and reduced the alkalinity so that smokers could breathe the smoke right into their lungs. This is the big secret behind lung cancer. If you look at, and you question, cigars, they have a higher alkalinity and cigar smokers generally do not inhale, which is why they are less likely to get lung cancer, but more likely to get mouth, head and neck cancers, so there are problems there as well.”

Reducing availability

“In order to proceed with a method of reducing tobacco sales outlets and availability of tobacco, it would be advisable to prepare a discussion paper canvassing all the options, ideas and literature from other countries on the subject. It is already being discussed. I urge the government to prepare a discussion paper for public consultation on this proposal so that all in the community can have their say including the retailers, including those people who are selling the product. I reckon there would be some interesting comments coming back from it.”


The paradox

The paradoxical situation created by our current legislation, that when you reach 18 it is lawful and quite okay for you to smoke, must be addressed quickly. The smoke-free 2000 Generation strategy alone would address that and many other situations.

Pregnant women and smoking – the shabby placenta…

Hon Ruth Forrest made a powerful statement based on her work experience as a midwife

“The other big concern that I have raised many times in this place is the issue of women smoking while they are pregnant. It just appals me and I remember as a midwife trying to encourage women to understand the risks they impose on their baby. You have one period of time, 40 weeks, to as much as possible control the environment of your baby. You get one shot at that. If we can get women to not smoke during pregnancy then their child has significant benefits, we know that. I have had to counsel women after having stillborn babies that are pretty much directly attributed to their level of smoking. They were told and told and told, during their pregnancy to at least cut right back if they cannot give up. They did not take the advice, the baby is slow growing, the evidence is there and you do an ultrasound to show them what is happening: the lack of fluid around their baby, the shabby, small-looking placenta and they still continue to smoke and then their baby dies in utero and then they have to go through a labour with a dead baby, and then sometimes they cannot even accept any responsibility at that point. What do you have to do?

Menthol

Hon.Ruth Forrest went on to talk about menthol, which is used to hook children and make them addicted to smoking.

In another paper called ‘Effect of Menthol on the Penetration of Tobacco Carcinogens and Nicotine across Porcine Oral Mucosa Ex Vivo’ -It is by Squiere et al. It says menthol is a flavoured tobacco additive claimed to mask the bitter taste and reduce harshness of cigarette smoke. In the introduction to the paper, which I will read, it says:

Menthol is a monocyclic terpene alcohol that occurs naturally in plants of the Mentha species and is the major component of peppermint oil. It is used in products such as chewing gum, lozenges, and liniments because of the minty flavor, aroma, and cooling sensation that are produced when menthol contacts the skin and mucous membranes. As a tobacco additive, it has the effect of masking the bitter taste and reducing the harshness of cigarette smoke. It was first introduced into cigarettes in 1926 and claimed to make the smoke less irritating and soothing for sore throats.

It was Wood in 1959 who said that. It was added to soothe the sore throat and make it easier to smoke. According to this article, it also targeted blacks and women, particularly black women. They were the real target. The other document suggests that now adolescents are the target of this to try to make it easier for them to take it up because once they have got them addicted, it is very hard to give up. I support point 2, noting that we do not have to ban flavourings because we have already achieved that, but the menthol is a particular issue. The cigarette companies have targeted young people with menthol and it is important that we address that. Basically it is used to attract children and get them started.”

Hon Kerry Finch talked about his former 60 a day smoking habit and the loss of his father

“The other thing is how you used to kid yourself. I was feigning a cough a while back. I remember Dad had a cough. He was a heavy smoker and he had a cough. We would say, ‘I cannot shake off this cold. I cannot shake off this cough from that cold I had a while back.’ He kidded himself all the time that the cough was from a cold and it was from smoking and eventually emphysema was his big issue in life and that is a very inglorious and unpleasant way to pass away.”

Hon Rosemary Armitage said

“It is a fact that people die from smoking. My mother smoked for 30 years and she gave it up probably 40 years ago and has not touched it since. My father was an on-and-off-again smoker who did die of cancer – not lung cancer but then you wonder whether having smoked causes other sorts of cancer because he did have a stroke when he was about 50. “ 

Hon Rob Valentine wisely said

“If this were to go forward, it is important that there be actions to confine the retailing of the product rather than demonising the individuals. “

Hon Dr. Vanessa Goodwin is the only Liberal in the Legislative Council, she said amongst other things;

Of course, everyone has a personal story but my personal story is that my father smoked. He was a chain smoker for many years and he literally was one of these people who would smoke one cigarette and then immediately light up another one. He used to smoke when he was driving, when I was in the car. My mother would not let him smoke in the house but he smoked everywhere else and he smoked constantly. To his credit, he managed to give it up about 20 years ago. For someone who smoked that much, that must have been quite an effort for him to do that. Only the other day, he was starting to complain about not being able to swallow well and so he headed off to have an endoscopy. I was thinking he probably has some sort of cancer as a result of the smoking.

Because he spent such a huge portion of his life smoking and in such great quantities I am really concerned that he will end up with some form of cancer and that will be what kills him. I am sure that there are other honourable members who have family members or friends who are in the same situation and it really is a frightening thought. It is a frightening thought that there are children out there who are taking up this habit and who can also end up in that situation so I agree that we have to do everything that we can to prevent people from taking up smoking.

The Liberals have publicly rejected this proposal , and made sneering comments about punishing people with forty lashes, but Vanessa Goodwin very commendably and bravely supported it in the Legislative Council.

In summing up Ivan Dean said

“Madam President, the honourable member for Hobart made a comment about demonising the individual user. As I said in my speech, it is not about penalising, or punishing, the individual. Currently the law is that way, but I don’t think the police have ever charged a young person for smoking. If they have, you could probably count the instances on one hand, over 20 years. Police target the supplier – they target the retailer – and so do the inspectors employed by the health department.

Also, I honestly believe that prohibition would work, if it happened over a period of time. It would happen with a Generation who have never been smokers and could not legally smoke until they are 18 years of age. It would not be a law like the American prohibition on alcohol, where people were engaged in an activity, and all of a sudden the law said it must stop. That is not the way it would occur. This is a different type of prohibition, brought in in a different way. I would ask members to think about that because when I first heard of this I took exactly the same approach as some have taken. I said, ‘No it couldn’t happen. It couldn’t work.’

It wasn’t until I started reading about the subject, reading the views of other people, reading a part of the book that I referred to and some of the other literature on this subject, that I was convinced it could work. I am confident it will work if somebody takes it on.

Professor Berrick, being a mathematician, was intrigued by the proposition by one of the Greens that twinsmight have been born before and after midnight on 31 December 1999, and one would be able to smoke and the other not.

He sent me this piece:

“1. We agree that the principle of not discriminating according to date of birth is an appealing one.
2. Of course, a feature of what makes politics challenging and important is the weighing of different principles and the balancing of one against another (otherwise we could just leave the job to public servants and wouldn’t need politicians at all).
3. The Greens have established a strong reputation for placing a high value on the welfare of future generations.
4. So, in this case, the question is: what is the balance between the date-of-birth principle and the welfare of future generations of Tasmanians? To be blunt, if there are currently 500 premature deaths a year from tobacco, and the measure is 80% effective (to be conservative), then that would ultimately mean 400 premature deaths avoided every year. Is the date-of-birth principle really more important than those 400 Tasmanian lives each year?
5. The question just raised is made clearer because the principle has already been conceded on a number of occasions.
(a) Tobacco. In 1934, an act introduced prevention of sale of tobacco to Tasmanians under 16 where previously there was no restriction. Then in 1997 the legal age was raised to 18. So, someone born in 1979 could continue to buy cigarettes, while someone born in 1980, even though they were buying them legally the previous day, could not continue to buy them legally. Even now, on say 30 August 2012, someone born at 11.59pm on 30 August 1994 can legally buy cigarettes, someone born at 12.00am on 31 August 1994 cannot.
(b) Infant vaccinations. For nearly 30 years now, Vitamin K is routinely given to newborn babies, but only to those born subsequent to the measure being introduced. Those born the previous week and already discharged from maternity wards would have missed out.
(c) Schooling. Introduction of compulsory schooling, introduction of compulsory subjects in school curriculum (e.g. Australian History in 2008).
(d) Superannuation, age pensions. Introduction of compulsory superannuation, changes to taxation of superannuation and age of receipt of age pension.
(e) Health insurance. Within the last decade there were changes introduced to taxation deductibility of health insurance premiums, benefitting only those under 30 at the time.”
(f) Conscription. In the 1960s, 18-year-old males were chosen for conscription according to birthdate.
In sum (and independently of whether one approves of the measures on other grounds), the process of grandfathering is quite common.
6. Alignment with other Greens’ policies. While legislative details will of course be the subject of negotiations between the Government parties, the form that has been suggested would legislate only against providers of tobacco products to those born from 2000. There would be no penalties for possession or for growing for personal use. (Untreated tobacco is too alkaline to inhale and so is much less addictive and harmful.) This is consistent with policies to decriminalize possession of cannabis.
7. Alignment with Greens’ principles. In particular, its website states that the Australian Greens believe that “children and young people should have access to resources and opportunities necessary for a full and healthy life” and that “preventative approaches … are necessary to address inequities in health outcomes”.

I have been disappointed by the negativity of the Greens and the Liberals about these proposals and I hope that they take the time to read the Hansards and at least some of the research surrounding this issue.

If you read this entire article well done! Have a nice cup of tea!
Kathryn Barnsley

1 Professor Berrick obtained a BSc from Sydney University and then went as Shell Scholar (Science/Engineering) to Oxford University where he earned a DPhil and became a member of its Mathematics Faculty before joining Imperial College London. He moved to National University of Singapore in 1981, where he has been a full professor since 1996, and will soon be inaugural Professor of Science (Mathematics) at its Yale-NUS College. He has authored or co-authored three monographs and edited several others. He has published over sixty research articles, predominantly in mathematics, but has also had research collaborations in neurophysiology and anatomy, in addition to tobacco control. For work on the mathematics of braids, Professor Berrick received Singapore’s National Science Award in 2007. His involvement in tobacco control was triggered in 2003 by a multinational tobacco company’s attempt to establish a university scholarship in Singapore. He argues for a tobacco-free generation approach to tobacco eradication.

2 Scollo, MM and Winstanley, MH [editors]. Tobacco in Australia: Facts and Issues. Third Edition. Melbourne: Cancer Council Victoria; 2008. Available from: http://www.tobaccoinaustralia.org.au

3 Tob Control 2002;11:i40-i50 doi:10.1136/tc.11.suppl_1.i40 Cigarette filter ventilation is a defective design because of misleading taste, bigger puffs, and blocked vents L T Kozlowski, R J O’Connor

• TOBACCO DONATIONS ONE STEP CLOSER TO BEING STUBBED OUT!
One Part of Greens’ Political Donations Reform Push

Paul O’Halloran MP
Greens Health spokesperson
Tuesday, 28 August 2012


The Tasmanian Greens today welcomed the tabling of legislation to enact the promised state-based ban on political parties or candidates accepting political donations from tobacco companies.

Greens Health spokesperson Paul O’Halloran MP, whose successful motion last year secured Labor’s support for the initiative, said that this important electoral and public health reform is an important step to tackle tobacco impacts on the community and on our health system.

“We are one step closer to stubbing out for good Big Tobacco political donations, thanks to the legislation tabled which seeks to enact the Greens’ successful motion of just under 12 months ago to introduce a state-based ban,” Mr O’Halloran said.

“Elected representatives need to have the guts to stand up and show leadership when it comes to tackling areas of key social reform, and this Greens’ move to cut the link between tobacco companies and those responsible for making our laws is a significant leap in the right direction.”

“As the only State Party still accepting tobacco company political donations, the spotlight will now fall on the Liberal Party to see whether they are prepared to cut their funding umbilical cord to Big Tobacco.”

“It is time the Liberals show leadership and vote in the public’s interest instead of defending their own vested interest.”

“If it is good enough for sports clubs, associations and events to say no to tobacco company sponsorship, then it is good enough for political parties and candidates to also say no.”

“The Greens have a long and proud track record advocating for more transparent political donation and parliamentary reforms, and banning big tobacco donations is just one part of those necessary reforms. It is timely to move on this area of political donations now, given the recent attacks and threats by big tobacco against plain packaging at the Federal level.”

“We look forward to the debate on this legislation which will once again provide the power-sharing Parliament with the opportunity to deliver a dual win for our democracy, and for public health policy,” Mr O’Halloran said.

Text of Greens’ motion passed, 28 September 2011,calling for a ban on tobacco political donations:
Paul O’Halloran MP on tomorrow to move –

That this House:

1. Notes that Tasmania has the highest smoking rates of all Australian states with Braddon recording a smoking rate of 29.7%, which is approximately 10 % above the national average;

2. Condemns efforts by big tobacco companies threats to campaign against the Federal Government’s plain packaging plans;

3. Applauds moves by New South Wales and other states to implement state-based political donation reforms which prohibits the acceptance by political parties of donations by tobacco companies; and

4. Calls for an immediate commitment to the introduction of Tasmanian state-based political donations restrictions that will prohibit political donations by tobacco companies being accepted by either state parties or individuals.
Motion passed TG & ALP vs Libs, 28 Sept 2011.

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2 Comments

2 Comments

  1. Laurie Knight

    August 31, 2012 at 3:41 am

    “This is a story about promoting a smoke free generation, banning toxic additives and flavourings to cigarettes”

    No it’s not, it’s a story about a truly nasty, authoritarian, illiberal bunch of nazi’s trying to tell companies and people what they can do.

    Banning toxic additives? When tobacco itself is so dangerous? Banning menthol from being added to tobacco, are you lot actually serious or is this satire?

    Just which other industries are on the cards to have their rights of representation completely removed? Fast food, sugar, fat, alcohol? Porn? Spelunking equipment manufacturers?

    Who decides?

  2. Luke Boversham

    August 28, 2012 at 3:25 am

    My guess is that Greens voted it down because Tas Labor only supported it in the first place in order to be seen to be positive by people who are conscientious. But neither Greens nor Labor wanted to actually incur the wrath of those who object to being told what to do. So no doubt the spin doctors who are each paid several hundred thousand in salary and have PhD’s in Psychology and marketing, saw this as an optimum move to win Tas Labor, with all their corrupt baggage, some credit in the eyes of voters who might otherwise have been tempted to vote Liberal.

    I’d say the Tas Greens are happy to incur the wrath of the conscientious voters if in turn Tas Greens can keep Tas Labor in power as opposed to Tas Liberals being majority elected in 2014 and Greens thereby ending up with no influence in this state.

    A vote for Greens is a vote to keep Labor’s corruption going in this state after 13 long years and so many “empires” built within the public service by Labor’s corrupt cronies. Hopefully we can get some genuine independents elected to the Tas Lower House though the Greg-James/Warriner Indipol independent support group currently seems to be once again going nowhere, which is very sad.

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