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Analysis and Comment (45)

Scotland strategy paving the way. Scotland strategy paving the way. Ale'streets

Scotland aims to be smoke-free by 2034 but what about e-cigs?

Given just how well established anti-smoking campaigns in Britain now are, many of today’s smokers, and younger smokers in particular, have taken up the habit with at least some awareness of the damaging…
Low birth weight is associated with smoking. Low birth weight is associated with smoking. Ariel Schalit/AP

An incontrovertible truth: smoking harms foetuses

Tobacco smoke contains thousands of compounds, many of them toxic and capable of causing injury throughout the body. Because of this high toxicity of tobacco smoke, many diseases have long been causally…
The clock is ticking for Coles and Woolworths to announce they’ll stop selling cigarettes. The clock is ticking for Coles and Woolworths to announce they’ll stop selling cigarettes. Image from shutterstock.com

US chain CVS stops tobacco sales: over to you, Coles and Woolworths

The announcement by CVS, one of the largest drug store chains in the United States, that it will cease selling tobacco by October this year will have Coles' and Woolworths' public relations in a spin…
Pop up e-cig bar. Pop up e-cig bar. Lefteris Pitarakis/AP

Explainer: what do we know about e-cigarettes?

E-cigarettes are increasingly popular in a number of countries including the UK, while in others such as Norway and Brazil they are banned altogether. So amid all these differences in policy, what do we…
Stormy weather hits New Zealand’s capital, Wellington. Stormy weather hits New Zealand’s capital, Wellington. Flickr.com/wiifm69 (Sean Hamlin)

An insider’s story of the global attack on climate science

A recent headline – Failed doubters trust leaves taxpayers six-figure loss – marked the end of a four-year epic saga of secretly-funded climate denial, harassment of scientists and tying-up of valuable…
Statistics on tobacco deaths have become banal for many. Statistics on tobacco deaths have become banal for many. Image from shutterstock.com

Beyond statistics: the hidden face of smoking-related cancer

The Russian dictator Joseph Stalin infamously said that a single death is a tragedy, a million deaths a statistic. And in tobacco control, there are statistics to die for. Tobacco caused about 100 million…
Just over 15% of Australians smoke daily and a further 1.5% smoke each week. Just over 15% of Australians smoke daily and a further 1.5% smoke each week. Flickr/benessere

Health Check: how harmful is social smoking?

If you only light up when you’re drinking or out with friends, you probably don’t identify as a smoker or consider the health impact of the occasional fag. Social smokers don’t usually smoke every day…
Not so appetising when you think about it. Not so appetising when you think about it. GS+

There’s no such thing as a free lunch from tobacco companies

Almost all companies contribute money to charity and many would argue that corporate donations make a positive difference in the world. But this hopeful take on corporate philanthropy sits uneasily with…
E-cigarettes are battery operated units that vapourise fluids into fine particles that can be inhaled deep into the lungs. E-cigarettes are battery operated units that vapourise fluids into fine particles that can be inhaled deep into the lungs. Image from shutterstock.com

Explainer: what are electronic cigarettes?

As rates of smoking fall in Australia, electronic cigarette manufacturers are moving in. Liberty Flights last week released an (awful) online ad to “create awareness” of electronic or e-cigarettes in the…
Boarded up: how companies are trumping our health. Boarded up: how companies are trumping our health. Eschipul

Beware, secret trade deals can seriously damage your health

If I asked you to name some of the current threats to your health, “international trade law” probably wouldn’t be on the tip of your tongue. Yet trade agreements, and the way we negotiate them, can affect…
Tobacco, like other substances, are likely to become part of the prison contraband trade. Tobacco, like other substances, are likely to become part of the prison contraband trade. Image from shutterstock.com

Total smoking bans aren’t the answer to better prisoner health

From May next year, Queensland prisoners will no longer be able to smoke cigarettes. Smoking in cells was prohibited in Queensland facilities in 2008, but as of next year the prohibition will extend to…
Algal genes are introduced into tobacco cells that grow into plants. Algal genes are introduced into tobacco cells that grow into plants. Peggy Lemaux/UC Berkeley

Tobacco re-imagined as a future fuel source

Tobacco doesn’t immediately conjure up ideas of fuel for cars and planes. But that’s precisely what a three-year, $4.8m project from the US Department of Energy’s ARPA-E PETRO (Plants Engineered to Replace…
Plain packaging isn’t really plain - it has warnings not branding. Plain packaging isn’t really plain - it has warnings not branding. PA/Niall Carson

Industry trumps evidence in tobacco packaging U-turn

The government’s disappointing U-turn over plain packaging of tobacco has dealt a blow to campaigners and shows a government attempting to subvert its own consultation process. The Conservative party’s…
We don’t know if anti-smoking campaigns have worked, or if they’re causing more harm than good. We don’t know if anti-smoking campaigns have worked, or if they’re causing more harm than good. Rusty Stewart

Anti-smoking campaigns failing Indigenous youth

How can anti-smoking campaigns be targeted more effectively at Australia’s Indigenous youth? It’s a good question, and one that, as yet, has proven difficult to answer. Almost half of all Aboriginal and…
There’s little evidence to support a ban based on the health harms of cigarette smoke in wide, open spaces. There’s little evidence to support a ban based on the health harms of cigarette smoke in wide, open spaces. AAP/April Fonti

Blanket bans on outdoor smoking no panacea for tobacco control

Support for smoke-free laws is near universal in Australia. In the late 1980s and 90s, these laws were primarily advocated and adopted on the premise that employees shouldn’t be continuously exposed to…
New Zealand wants to largely be tobacco free by 2025; Finland has set 2040 as its target date. New Zealand wants to largely be tobacco free by 2025; Finland has set 2040 as its target date. Iago A R

Should we set a date for a tobacco-free Australia?

It’s been 100 years since the first medical textbook identified a link between smoking tobacco and lung cancer. So how strange is it that in 2012 we can walk into Coles and Woolworths and buy cigarettes…
Former health minister Nicola Roxon has won numerous awards for the plain packaging legislation. Former health minister Nicola Roxon has won numerous awards for the plain packaging legislation. AAp/Tracey Nearmy

In praise of Australia’s best minister for prevention

It isn’t often that an Australian minister visits the United States to acclaim, is hailed as a “global champion” and receives a major award to accompany assorted national and international awards already…
The first public health laws governed sanitation and led to clean piped drinking water. The first public health laws governed sanitation and led to clean piped drinking water. Darren Stueber

Filling the regulatory gap in chronic disease prevention

OBESE NATION: It’s time to admit it - Australia is becoming an obese nation. This series looks at how this has happened and more importantly, what we can do to stop the obesity epidemic. Today, we look…
Cigarettes are the only commercial product that kills one in two of its regular users when consumed as intended. Cigarettes are the only commercial product that kills one in two of its regular users when consumed as intended. Jayaprakash R/Flickr

Why work with Big Tobacco?

Big Tobacco’s desperate efforts to oppose the introduction of tobacco plain packaging have been supported by a potpourri of consulting, legal, advertising, public relations and lobbying organisations…
Australians should be more aware of the health effects of pollution. Australians should be more aware of the health effects of pollution. OZinOH

Why petrol bowsers deserve the same treatment as cigarette packs

Every time smokers pull a cigarette pack out of their pocket, they’re reminded of the harms their habit is likely to cause. In much the same way, Australian petrol stations should display health warnings…
Patches, gums and sprays don’t increase your chances of quitting. Patches, gums and sprays don’t increase your chances of quitting. Alexa Graham

Chew on this, smokers: nicotine replacement therapies rarely work

Pharmaceutical companies have aggressively promoted nicotine replacement patches, chewing gums, inhalers and nasal sprays as effective tools to improve smokers' chances of quitting for more than 20 years…
Plain packaging is one of many health reforms to enter or pass through parliament last week. Plain packaging is one of many health reforms to enter or pass through parliament last week. AAP

Plain packaging wraps up a big year for health legislation in 2011

The final sitting of federal parliament last week lacked no drama, ending with the sudden induction of Peter Slipper as speaker. It was also a mammoth week for health legislation, with the passing of the…
It’s expected that the removal of trademarked images, designs and colours from tobacco packaging will make smoking less attractive. It’s expected that the removal of trademarked images, designs and colours from tobacco packaging will make smoking less attractive. Valentin.Ottone

Big Tobacco’s looming High Court challenge to plain packaging law

Health Minister Nicola Roxon announced today that the implementation of plain packaging for tobacco products will be pushed back until December 1 next year. The Tobacco Plain Packaging Bill passed through…
Over time, smokers gain as much weight as the rest of the population. Over time, smokers gain as much weight as the rest of the population. Flickr/Difei Li

Monday’s medical myth: smoking helps control your weight

One of the few positives put forward by smokers to justify their habit is that it helps keep their weight in check. And while smoking may be harmful to their health, so is obesity. So how does this claim…
Don Draper may like a smoke but the madmen of the tobacco industry do all they can to undermine public health. Don Draper may like a smoke but the madmen of the tobacco industry do all they can to undermine public health. collider.com

Tobacco’s mad men threaten public health

Non-communicable diseases – Matthew Rimmer examines plain packaging as a way to curb tobacco use. Smoking is one of the biggest causes of non-communicable diseases. In an episode of the television show…
More than seven thousand Australians die each year of lung cancer but not all are smokers. More than seven thousand Australians die each year of lung cancer but not all are smokers. Flickr/Social is better

Lung cancer patients deserve greater support, whether they smoke or not

Each year 40,000 Australians die from cancer-related illness – the number one cause being lung cancer. Surprised? You’re not alone. According to a recent Galaxy poll which asked asked Australians which…
roxon plain pack. roxon plain pack. AAP

World-first plain packaging for tobacco products a step closer to becoming law

Legislation requiring tobacco products to be in plain packaging was passed by the House of Representatives last night. This is the first such measure in the world to come so close to becoming law. We asked…
Hookahs are actually more dangerous because users are likely to puff more frequently. Hookahs are actually more dangerous because users are likely to puff more frequently.

Monday’s medical myth: hookahs are less harmful than cigarettes

After decades of successful anti-tobacco campaigns, we’re all familiar with the risks of smoking. But how do the health harms of cigarettes compare with those of other smoking devices? The hookah, also…
Big Tobacco will exploit the proposed investment provisions in the TPPA to undermine regulatory attempts. Big Tobacco will exploit the proposed investment provisions in the TPPA to undermine regulatory attempts. AAP

Big Tobacco v Australia: dangers looming in the Trans Pacific Partnership Agreement

With the tabling of the Plain Packaging Bill in Parliament this week, Australia again stands at the forefront of the struggle against Big Tobacco. But this stance is under attack in a whole new set of…
Health promotion has a lot of catching up to do on social media. Health promotion has a lot of catching up to do on social media. Steve Kay

Quit-smoking texts send clear message to outdated health promoters

Smokers who quit with the assistance of a text messaging service are nearly twice as likely to be smoke-free six months later than smokers with no support, according to a study published this week in The…
Is legal action becoming a bad habit for tobacco companies? Is legal action becoming a bad habit for tobacco companies? effb/Flickr

Big Tobacco v Australia: taking the battle to the global stage

This week’s legal action by tobacco giant Philip Morris to overturn the federal government’s plain packaging proposals is not its first attempt to stifle anti-tobacco legislation. Philip Morris is also…
Mentally ill Australians have a life expectancy 25 years lower than the rest of the population. Mentally ill Australians have a life expectancy 25 years lower than the rest of the population. AAP

Mental illness is no excuse for turning a blind eye to smoking

Almost half of all cigarettes smoked in Australia, the US and the UK are smoked by people with a mental illness. It’s a startling statistic and it paints a grim picture for the physical health of the one…
Dame Elisabeth Murdoch says a price on carbon is a good idea. Dame Elisabeth Murdoch says a price on carbon is a good idea. AAP

Climate sceptics steal the big tobacco playbook: create doubt, cause delay

How interesting to see Rupert Murdoch’s mother, Dame Elisabeth, gracing the front pages of Fairfax papers, signing a letter supporting putting a price on carbon. Her son, Rupert Murdoch has also stated…
Plain packaging could spell the death of the cigarette brand in Australia and beyond. Plain packaging could spell the death of the cigarette brand in Australia and beyond. thana/flickr

Spluttering on: why big tobacco just can’t butt out on plain packaging

British American Tobacco Australia has launched yet another attack on the Australian government’s plain packaging legislation. On top of its latest “Where’s the proof?” campaign, launched today, it is…
When branding is removed smokers rate the product as less appealing. When branding is removed smokers rate the product as less appealing. AAP

The evidence is in – plain cigarette packs turn young smokers off

For a policy the tobacco industry claims “won’t work” or that there “is no evidence” to support its implementation, plain packaging has elicited a deafening chorus of conflicting arguments as to why it…
Young smokers would need to sit an interview before they could buy cigarettes. Young smokers would need to sit an interview before they could buy cigarettes. AAP

A licensing scheme to make smokers butt out for good

Under this proposal, anyone who wanted to buy a tobacco product would need to have a licence. This wouldn’t happen overnight – we would need to identify a starting point to the scheme, which might be five…
The WTO allows countries to take measures “necessary for public health.” The WTO allows countries to take measures “necessary for public health.” AAP

Smoke and mirrors: Big Tobacco’s last gasp legal challenge to plain packaging

The Government’s plan to introduce plain packaging for tobacco products has been raised at the Council for TRIPS meeting in Geneva this week. In a note to TRIPS delegates, the Indonesian Government has…
Part of the British American Tobacco Australia campaign launched today. Part of the British American Tobacco Australia campaign launched today.

Big Tobacco’s death-defying campaign on plain packaging

The tobacco industry has launched a national media campaign today, questioning the Federal Government’s proposed plain packaging legislation. It will also release a series of confidential government documents…
People in the developing world are more likely to have lifestyle and infectious diseases. People in the developing world are more likely to have lifestyle and infectious diseases. AAP

How to combat the deadly epidemic of lifestyle disease

On Sunday, China banned smoking in public places such as restaurants, bars and other indoor spaces. But a lack of public understanding about the dangers of smoking in the nation of 300 million smokers…
The AAR campaign against plain cigarette packaging is funded by big tobacco. The AAR campaign against plain cigarette packaging is funded by big tobacco. Jessica Rabbit/Flickr

Tobacco PR push runs out of puff as retailers play victim

Ever since Pope Urban VII spent part of his 13-day reign in 1590 threatening smokers with excommunication, smoking regulation has been controversial. And the response from tobacco supporters and companies…
Although banned from sale in Australia, e-cigarettes are readily available online. Although banned from sale in Australia, e-cigarettes are readily available online. AAP

E-cigarettes aren’t a solution – they’re part of the problem

On a recent long-haul flight, with very limited movie options, I watched the Angelina Jolie and Johnny Depp movie The Tourist (two thumbs firmly down). A particular scene on a train to Venice did catch…
Incremental measures have reduced smoking among men from 72% in 1945 to 21% in 2007. Incremental measures have reduced smoking among men from 72% in 1945 to 21% in 2007.

Plain cigarette packaging will change smoking… slowly

When it comes to branding and advertising, much of what we are exposed to creates only marginal difference. But even small differences can tip the balance toward a particular choice, and plain packaging…

Research and News (4)

Research Briefs (6)

Brain changes make quitters moody

Findings from a brain imaging study may provide clues for why some individuals with heavy cigarette-smoking habits experience…