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Thread: Goods news and bad journalism - Today's Herald Sun

  1. #1
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    Goods news and bad journalism - Today's Herald Sun

    This "might" be good news given how pig headed Nicola Roxon is:

    Page 2: "Roxon gets nod to lay down the law"

    Looks like she may end up Attorney General (I have no idea how THAT power might affect the "debate") but it looks like Ms Plibersek is likely to replace her as health minister. Anybody know if SHE can read and understand basic science?

    Unfortunately later on page 7: "Smoking Out Big Tobacco"

    "The unhealthy habit costs the nation at least $31.5 billion in health care" - WRONG!

    That $31.5 billion was the total estimated social cost of smoking for 2004-2005. The actual health care costs were $315 million.

    I have emailed the author to point out this correction, as well as a short piece on the idiocy of Australia policy that we aren't even considering safer tobacco alternatives, and all attempts to engage our government on the matter have fallen on deaf ears.

  2. #2
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    The following is the email I sent to the author of The Herald Sun piece. Doubt I'll get a response, but worth a crack:

    Good afternoon Jessica,

    I wanted to respectfully point out a correct to your piece in today's Herald Sun. You wrote "The unhealthy habit costs the nation at least $31.5 billion in health care."

    This figure of $31.5 billion was calculated by the economists David Collins and Helen Lapsley at the request of the Australian government. It was for 2004-2005 and represents "the total social cost of tobacco abuse" in Australia. Its is made up of both tangible costs (health care, subsidies of drugs for those affected by tobacco related disease, cost to business by absenteeism and reduced workforce, fire caused by smoking, associated crime and subtracting savings from nursing homes, aged care, etc) and intangible costs (estimated value of a year of life lost due to tobacco related disease, and "pain and suffering due to accidents").

    These intangible costs make up the bulk at the $31.5 billion dollar number at $24.683 billion.

    The actual amount of the tangible costs "more than half were bourne by households, 42% were bourne by business, and only 7.6% were bourne by governments. By their nature, all intangible costs are bourne by the individual".

    So our government bears 7.6% of the tangible costs (this includes health care) which represents $141.1 million. Compare this to the approximately $6.5 BILLION raised through tobacco excise and duties and GST(Source: tobaccoinaustralia.org.au) and it becomes clear that although smoking does indeed place a heavy burden on society, when you just look at what the government makes vs what it pays and the budget is clearly in the black.

    When you compare that $6.5 billion raised to the amount spent on cancer research in Australia ($378 million in 2000-01) and the total cost of cancer treatement ($3.8 billion in direct health care costs) it raises the question: Where is the rest of the money going?

    Nicola Roxon has clearly stated of many occasions that the goal of our public health tobacco control measures is to reduce smoking rates in Australia to less than 9% by 2020. It is important to point out that the vast majority of the harm caused, or contributed to, by tobacco usage is by the act of smoking itself. Smokeless tobacco products like "Swedish Snus" have been proven over the last 20-30 years to have no major impact on cancer risk. They also completely eliminate the risk of lungbased diseases like lung cancer and COPD. Electronic cigarttes are "too new" to have long term data, but all studies and tests conducted so far suggest that the short, medium and possibly even long term harm from use to be no more than drinking a few cups of coffee each day.

    Swedish Snus was banned in Australia in the early 90's on the precautionary principle. Since then it has been proven to be "safe". With electronic cigarettes the only real risk of immediate harm would be in children or toddlers if they drank the actual nicotine solution used inside them. Yet even this is an unlikely hypothesis since a) the human response to ingested nicotine is immediate vomiting and b) the real world risk is no greater than that of approved nicotine replacment therapies or essential oils.

    Despite all of this evidence, and the governments clear desire to reduce smoking rates, both of these considerably safer alternatives (more harm is done by smoking for just two more months than switching to a smokeless tobacco product for life) are illegal in Australia for retail sale. Worse still, despite a small "grass-roots" movement with limited support from academia to engage our health departments and politicians in the Tobacco Harm Reduction debate, all attempts at communications thus far have fallen on deaf ears. I am personally aware of over 100 attempts by individuals to engage our government at local, state and Federal levels yet every attempt has been met with "form responses" that actually quote rather misleading information.

    The success rate of switching to smokeless tobacco products from smoking is around 70%, compared to just 7% for the methods currently endoursed by our government and organisations like the Cancer Council and QUIT. A solution to the "smoking problem" is already available - our government (for whatever reason) just doesn't want to even entertain the idea.

    The irony is that our government, for all its rhetoric about reducing the smoking rate and savings lifes, is currently causing more unncesary suffering and death by continuing to stick with policies based on both bad science, and flawed ideology.

    Something needs to be done about it, but nobody wants to listen to reason.

    If you made it this far, thank you for your time, and I hope I have given you something to think about.

    Regards,
    Sana Nolan

    P.S. If you are interested, I run a blog about electronic cigarettes and smokeless tobacco alternatives at http://smokescreen.info
    mink and mobtek like this.

  3. #3
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    WoW

    Thats really good stuff, a tiny hint of exasperation there-
    (Dont know how you stay so polite SaS) ..very good letter and this should surely elicit some response. Hopefully-
    you really do your research! too

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    damn, I am just so glad you are on our side SAS.
    In order of useful: Provari V2 and V1, vamo, eGo twist, Katana v3, Hex, Orion v2, LavaTube, eGo x 6, VMAX, 510N, Tick V2, Tick V1, noEgo 18650, noEgo 14650 , Indulgence x 2, 905 6v mod, KR808D



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    The other good news is that I got in contact with one Monica Barratt, a Research Fellow at Curtin University.

    http://theconversation.edu.au/profil...a-barratt-1830

    She's currently doing study into synthetic drug usage (legal highs) and although interested in learning more about e-cigs, currently knows nothing. Unfortunately this lack of knowledge is common on the medical profession - most GPs don't know anything about them either.

    Off topic, I find it a tad disconcerting when I tell a GP that I've switched smoking for inhaling a propylene glycol vapor, and they just look at me blankly.

    Anyway, back on topic: Ms Barratt is very interested in meeting with me in the new year to go give a lesson on e-cigs, mod culture and solution preparation, in exchange for pointing us in the right direction as far as how the laws get made and changed.

    It *should* be a brilliant opportunity (fingers crossed)
    margyb, mobtek and craigus006 like this.

  6. #6
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    WOW that really is great SAS . I wish your meeting with her could be recorded in some way

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    Quote Originally Posted by margyb View Post
    WOW that really is great SAS . I wish your meeting with her could be recorded in some way
    It will be, at least audio. I don't have the world's best memory

  8. #8
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    I like her goal
    Quote

    "My ultimate goal is to drive meaningful engagement between people who use drugs and the researchers and policy makers who have the power to shape drug policy."


    It would be great to get someone like this interested in electronic cigarette usage in australia and to actually do some research on it.

  9. #9
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    Soundasleep, you most likely know allready but one of your Smokescreen articles has turned up on dickpuddlecotes blog- Yay!
    http://dickpuddlecote.blogspot.com/
    (debunking the eCig overdose nyth)
    Last edited by gert; 12-12-11 at 07:06 PM.

  10. #10
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    Well done "soundasleep" - one voice of sanity in a debate where the opposition just put their heads in the sand and are more interested in ego and votes than public health.

 

 
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