Newsletter for a Tobacco-Free Quebec
number 65 September 2006
Developing countries affected more severely by tobacco globalization
he World Conference on Tobacco or Health (WCTOH) was host to a record 5,740 participants for its 13th edition, held at the Washington DC Convention Centre from July 12th to 15th. Although all agreed that tobacco control today must be operated on a global scale, the event revealed the development gap that affects the Global South’s capacity to stop the smoking pandemic from getting worse. This year’s theme – “Building capacity for a tobacco-free world” – is indicative of the evolution of tobacco control advocates’ needs. According to a survey of pre-registered attendees, the single
most important obstacle to tobacco control efforts is insufficient funding, in both developed and developing countries. However, several presenters raised the fact that most funding is only available in the developed world. The high cost of attending events such as the WCTOH is limitative, as reflected by the conference attendance: 75 % of participants were from developed countries, including 40 % from the United States alone. If the current trend continues, by 2020, a whopping 70 % of tobacco induced deaths will occur in the Global South. Cigarettes alone will kill more than 10 million people every year, projects the newly
Chair of the Framework Convention Alliance, Malaysia-native Mary Assunta deplores the insufficient amount of tobacco control resources available to the developing world.
revised edition of the Tobacco Atlas, launched during the WCTOH. Many of the WCTOH’s over 850 presentations highlighted issues currently under debate in the tobacco control community. Promotion of reduced-harm tobacco products and tobacco-free nicotine, pharmaceutical industry sponsorship and strategies for shifting the current tobacco industry towards a not-for-profit model are just a few examples. The next edition of the WCTOH will be held in 1999 in Mumbaï (formerly known as Bombay), the commercial and movie industry capital of India.
CNN’s Larry King interviewed Charles Everett Koop, US Surgeon General from 1982 to 1989, during the WCTOH opening plenary session.
Info-tabac’s condensed English edition
This is the condensed edition of Info-tabac, Quebec’s tobacco control news magazine, published six times every year. The original French edition of no. 65 is 16 pages long and was published August 30th, 2006. It is available online at www.info-tabac.ca/bull65/sommaire. Condensed English nos. 54 through 64 are also available thanks to Physicians for a Smoke-Free Canada, at www.smoke-free.ca/info-tabac.
More WCTOH coverage Screen Out!: Movie smoking Tobacco Act under attack Community Health Survey Discount vs du Maurier Smuggling inaction lawsuit Secondhand smoke: New Surgeon General’s Report
2 2 3 4 5 5 6
2 WASHINGTON 2006
no 65, September 2006
FCTC slowed by political obstacles
While previous World Conferences on Tobacco or Health led to the creation of the Framework Convention on Tobacco Control (FCTC), the 13th edition recapped the progress in implementing this first international public health treaty, but also shed light on some political hurdles still left to clear. “The FCTC is the most rapidly embraced treaty in United Nations history”, emphasized the American Cancer Society CEO, Dr. John Seffrin. In the last three years, over 70 % of the World Health Organization’s member nations have ratified the FCTC, thereby committing themselves to making the treaty’s conditions part of their domestic legislation. In the US, the Senate is still waiting for the President to present the treaty for ratification, which was signed in 2004. This lack of political will was condemned by WCTOH attendees during a demonstration organized by the participants of a youth advocacy skills-building workshop held during the conference. Recent research presented by Dr. Simon Chapman, the Director of the University of Sydney School of Public Health, explained how politicians are generally convinced of the necessity of investing in tobacco control, just not of the urgency of doing so. – J.C.
Laurent Huber, Executive Director of the Framework Convention Alliance, receiving the Outstanding Organization award.
Luther Terry Awards
Named after Luther L. Terry, the first US Surgeon General to warn of the dangers of smoking, an award ceremony recognizing exemplary individual or organizational contributions to tobacco control has been a part of every WCTOH since 2000. The full list of winners is available on the Infotabac website.
US parents rallied against movie smoking
A new information booklet entitled Screen Out! : A Parent’s Guide to Smoking, Movies and Children’s Health, developed by renowned tobacco control advocate Stanton Glantz, Professor of Medicine at the University of California at San Francisco, was launched during a press conference at the Washington WCTOH and will soon be distributed to parents across the US. With this tool, Professor Glantz hopes to convince Hollywood studios to identify movies that contain smoking scenes with an “R” rating, as is already the case for violence or nudity. Professor Glantz created the Smokefree Movies Action Network (SMAN) because in-house awareness campaigns, led by directors and actors, have been largely ineffective. SMAN’s Screen Out! guide directly targets its message at movie production studios, by way of America’s parents. Parent surveys show a marked interest in having movie smoking identified. Research also shows that 30 to 50 % of current teen smokers were influenced by seeing smoking in movies when they first lit up. Movie smoking contributes to the smoking initiation of more than 390,000 American youth every year. – J.C.
The new Director of the WHO Tobacco-Free Initiative, Dr Yumiko Mochizuki Kobayashi, paid hommage to the late Dr Lee Jong-Wook.
On a screen near you
The Canadian take on movie smoking can be found on the Physicians for a Smoke-Free Canada website, at www.smoke-free.ca/movies. In Quebec, movie smoking will be the central theme for 2006-2007 of the Oxygen Commandos project, run by the Quebec Council on Tobacco and Health. “Our goal will be to get kids to recognize that it’s possible for them to be influenced by the movies”, explained project coordinator Linda Couture.
A special post-humous tribute was paid during the conference to the former World Health Organization Director-General, South Korean doctor Lee Jong-Wook (1945-2006), who died on May 22nd due to sudden illness, as well as to British epidemiologist Sir Richard Doll (1912-2005), who proved that smoking causes lung cancer, and American lawyer/professor Ruth Roemer (1916-2005), whose work inspired the Framework Convention on Tobacco Control.
Led by Essential Action’s Anna White, a group of WCTOH delegates marched against movie smoking.
no 65, September 2006
QUEBEC LEGISLATION 3
Quebec’s Tobacco Act still under attack by several bar owners
espite public support for the new Tobacco Act, it remains contested before the Superior Court by the Quebec Bar Owners Union (Union des tenanciers de bars du Québec or UTBQ) and its President, Peter Sergakis. The group, created in March for the purposes of the case, requested a court injunction on July 25th that would suspend the smoking ban in bars until the end of the legal proceedings, scheduled to start this fall. Inspectors from the Quebec Tobacco Control Service visited 7,532 establishments and issued only 30 fines between May 31st and July 16th. However 232 establishments have been qualified as “atrisk”, meaning that an infraction was witnessed by an assistant-inspector, who doesn’t have the authority to issue a fine. The UTBQ claimed during a press conference that the Act has already cost their members 30 % of their revenue and hundreds of jobs. The data was presumably collected by a survey available on the UTBQ website (www.utbq.org),
which includes questions such as “Check here if you are expecting to close because of the Tobacco Act”. Renaud Poulin, President of the Quebec Corporation of Bar, Pub and Tavern Owners (QCBPT), says it’s too early to measure the real impact of the Tobacco Act on the bar business: “We’ve observed an overall drop of only 6 % in alcohol sales by our members so far”. He also added that alcohol sales have been continuously dropping for over 8 years, and that a summer slump in bar revenue is normal. Mr. Poulin reports no closures or lay-offs due to the Act’s entry into force. “I doubt that lost alcohol revenue could possibly amount to 30 % in Quebec, he explained, because the major brewing companies told us that their sales only dropped 5 to 8 %”. Health and Social Services Minister Philippe Couillard stated that the Act will not be repealed or weakened. During an August 8th press briefing, he said that everywhere similar legislation was adopted, bars faced in initial adaptation period but that the instability was quickly resolved.
Universities and CEGEPs observe a new smokefree rule 9m outside all entrances.
Quebec school boards are currently experiencing their first back-to-school season with new smokefree school grounds legislation in effect. To prevent youth from starting smoking and to protect those in school environments against secondhand smoke, Minister Couillard included the schoolyard ban to the new Tobacco Act. Since September 1st, neither staff nor students can smoke on elementary or high school property during hours when students are present. It is also prohibited to provide tobacco to minors inside a school or on school grounds. Fines for smoking on school property can range from $ 50 to $ 300. For students, the maximum is set at $ 100. The school where an infraction is committed faces a $ 400 to $ 4,000 fine. According to the last edition of the Quebec Survey on Gambling and Tobacco, Alcohol and Drug Use by Secondary School Students, conducted in 2004, teens smoke the most during breaks at school and on weekends. The same study states that school environments tend to foster the exchange and sale of tobacco products between smokers. The sale of tobacco products is now prohibited on postsecondary campuses. Along with adult education centres and technical schools, these institutions must also observe an outdoor smoking ban within 9 metres of every entrance. – J.H.
During a press conference where Info-tabac was told it was unwelcome, Peter Sergakis’ group explained their reasons for filing an injunction order against Quebec’s smoking ban in bars.
A “good thing” for restaurants
A survey of Quebec Restaurant Association members, conducted in early August, found that 76 % consider the smoking ban as “a good thing”, while only 13 % consider it “a bad thing”. In 2003, 69 % of restaurants were in favour of instituting smokefree policies in all restaurants. The recent poll also shows that the levels of both sales and patronage have remained unchanged since the arrival of the new Tobacco Act.
Renaud Poulin and the QCBPT have launched a $ 250,000 lawsuit against Peter Sergakis and the UTBQ for public slander. Mr. Sergakis allegedly claimed during several interviews that Mr. Poulin had been “bought out” by the Ministry of Health and Social Services for $ 300,000. Mr. Sergakis refused to comment the issue at his July 25th press conference, but stated his intention of defending himself against the allegations.
4 SMOKING RATES
no 65, September 2006
Quebec focused on reducing prevalence to 18 % before 2012
The new 2006-2010 version of the Quebec Tobacco Control Strategy (Plan québécois de lutte contre le tabagisme or PQLT) addresses the challenges left despite the fact that smoking is now banned in most public places. 24 % of Quebec residents still smoke and the Ministry of Health and Social Services wants to see that ratio reduced to 18 % before 2012 by encouraging more smokers to quit and by better preventing youth initiation to smoking. Released on May 31st, the 52-page document presents the government’s commitment to tobacco control for the next five years. It calls for special focus on the following at-risk populations: youth aged 12 to 17, as well as their parents; pregnant women; members of First Nations communities and underpriviledged The PQLT is available online at communities; and finally, young adults aged 18 to 25. In addition to representing the next www.gouv.qc.ca/loi-tabac. generation of parents, members of this last group also act as role models for today’s teens. The plan’s introduction, by Health and Social Services Minister Philippe Couillard, proposes that smoking reduction can be achieved by “pushing back tobacco marketing to the limits of what is acceptable”. Although it recognizes the responsibility of the tobacco industry in smoking perennity, the government prefers denormalizing tobacco products and their use instead of the companies that promote them. The PQLT includes no measures directly targeted at cigarette manufacturers. – J.H.
The Fatal Trap
A novel intended to help smokers kick the habit was just launched by Swiss publishers Éditions Jouvence. The author of Le piège fatal (The Fatal Trap), tabacologist Jean-Pierre Cicchelero, describes his book as a “therapeutic thriller”. It recounts the story of a young man, Aimé Tu, who starts smoking in his teens and gradually notices his health change as he grows older. Further details on smoking and the tobacco industry are woven into the intrigue, in the hopes of changing the way readers who smoke will think about tobacco. Still not available in Canada, the book can be ordered over the Internet via Infotabac’s external links: www.info-tabac.ca/ liens65.
Smoking rates still dropping, especially among youth
Canadian smokers continue to quit and less youth are picking up the habit, according to the preliminary results of the 2005 Canadian Community Health Survey (CCHS), released mid-June. Last year, 21.8 % of the Canadian population smoked (5.9 million people), which is slightly lower than the results of the previous 2003 survey (prevalence of 23 %) and significantly lower than the 2000-2001 survey (26 %). The survey of 132,947 Canadians aged 12 and over indicates that smoking rates have dropped for every age group. The most significant decline was for 12 to 17 year olds: 14 % smoked in 2000-2001, but only 8 % did so in 2005. 18 to 34 year olds still represent the largest group of smokers (28 %). In general, more men smoke than women, except for the 12 to 17 year old group, where more girls (9 %) smoke than their male counterparts (7.2 %). Quebec is the province (excludes the territories) with the highest smoking rate : 24.4 %, down from 26 % in 2003. Among all the provinces, British Columbia is still the nicotine-free champion, with its 17.8 % ratio of smokers, the lowest in the country. No province shows a hike in their smoking rate, while the Northwest Territories and Yukon counted 400 and 1,400 more smokers in 2005 than in 2003, respectively. Nunavut’s decline from 64.9 % to 53.1 % in only two years is particularly remarkable. – J.H.
Smoking prevalence in Canada
British Columbia Manitoba Ontario Canada Prince Edward Island New Brunswick Nova Scotia Alberta Newfoundland & Labrador Saskatchewan Quebec Yukon Northwest Territories Nunavut 17.8 20.5 20.9 21.8 22.2 22.5 22.7 22.8 23.1 23.9 24.4 30.4 36.1 53.1
no 65, September 2006
ECONOMIC ISSUES 5
“Discount” brands gaining ground
The low price of cigarettes is encouraging more and more smokers to switch from their regular brand to a “discount” brand, according to several tobacco industry representatives in an article called Bloodied, but unbowed, published in the January/ February edition of Your Convenience Manager (YCM), a Canadian magazine for convenience store owners and managers. “Today’s consumer is searching for value, says Derek Guile, Vice-President of Sales for Rothmans Benson & Hedges. At least 40 % go in and look for cheaper alternatives, where once 95 % were brand loyal. That tells us price is more of a factor than brand loyalty.” 53 % of Canadian smokers still prefer “premium” brands, but not in Quebec. “Discount” brands – which cost between $ 1.50 and $ 2 less per pack – are now equally popular and represent 44 % of total sales in the province, up from 18 % in 2003. “Cigarettes have lost some of their ‘attractiveness’ because more smokers now choose them for their price and not the constructed image tobacco companies promoted them with, adds Francis Thompson, Policy Analyst for the Non-Smokers Rights Association. However, a widespread drop in price could lead to a rise in smoking prevalence”. – J.H.
Three joints equal to a pack of cigarettes
Contrary to popular rumour, smoking “pot” is no less harmful to your health than smoking tobacco. Three joints are equal to an entire pack of cigarettes, according to French consumer awareness magazine 60 millions de consommateurs. According to their study, marijuana smoke contains seven times more tar and carbon monoxyde than tobacco smoke. The joints prepared for the study contained both cannabis herb and resin, which increases the measured quantities of benzene and toluene. Pure herb joints also exposed smokers to higher levels of tar and carbon monoxyde. Relative harmfulness was evaluated by the same smoking machines normally used to measure cigarette smoke emissions.
New du Maurier pack design
To discourage du Maurier smokers from switching to a “discount” brand, Imperial Tobacco Canada (ITC) recently launched a new 8-sided package. The “Signature” design won the 2006 Giovanni Barezzi Award (www.barezziaward.com), a cigarette paper manufacturing company-sponsored prize aimed at “increasing interest in all the themes connected with cigarette production”. The February edition of the pro-tobacco magazine Tobacco Reporter said that the new pack design reinforced the du Maurier brand market share by 1.8 %.
Tobacco at the dawn of the 21st century
Quebec and Ottawa accused of not intervening on First Nations land
Steve Lépine Enterprises (SLE), a small cigarette manufacturer from Berthierville (Lanaudière), is suing the provincial and federal governments for more than $ 4.5 million in lost revenue, which the company attributes to First Nations smuggling operations. Created in 1999, the company has been the subject of public attention for its supposedly “additive-free” cigarettes, sold under the brand names Lépine, Match 1 and Match 2. SLE claims that its nine-fold drop in sales – from $ 3.2 million in 2002 to $ 362,590 in 2005 – is due to government inaction in the face of a significant rise in smuggling. “Quebec and Ottawa’s inertia discriminates against the companies that respect the law and submit to regular inspections”, the plaintiff’s motion states. Although SLE admits that police have conducted several smuggled cigarettes seizure operations, it insists that inspectors haven’t set foot on First Nations territory in years. The Quebec and Canadian Attorneys General have asked that the case be denied on the grounds The Attorney General says that that SLE can’t hold the governments accountable smuggling can be tolerated by Revenue in such a way, and moreover, that no Canada if doing so is in the best interest governmental fault led to SLE’s losses. – J.H.
of all Canadians.
Authored by Mohammed Ben Amar, a pharmacology professor at Université de Montréal, and Nancy Légaré, a pharmacist at Montreal’s Philippe-Pinel Institute, a new book on tobacco dependence and pharmacology was launched on June 15th. Le tabac à l’aube du 21e siècle explains nicotine’s effect on the brain and offers a review of available pharmacological treatment. It includes “alternative” smoking cessation aids like hypnosis, acupuncture or laser treatments, as well as a list of possible pharmacological interactions with other common or prescription medicines. The book can be ordered online ($20) via the Centre québécois de lutte aux dépendances website (www.cqld.ca).
6 SECONDHAND SMOKE
no 65, September 2006 BRÈVES
Info-tabac is published with support from:
Report of the Surgeon General
Secondhand smoke risks reaffirmed
A new 700-page review of secondhand smoke-related science, The Health Consequence of Involuntary Exposure to Tobacco Smoke, confirms that only total smoking bans can adequately protect non-smokers from tobacco smoke since there is no level of exposure can be considered as safe. “The scientific proof is undeniable: secondhand smoke is not a mere irritation, stated Surgeon General Richard H. Carmona during the June 27th press conference where his report was released. It is a serious public health problem and can cause the premature death of non-smoking children and adults”. The report also outlines tobacco industry strategies used to entertain controversy on Full-length and condensed secondhand smoke research, including recommending versions of the document ventilation systems that have proven to be ineffective. are available at According to the report, even brief moments of www.surgeongeneral.gov/ exposure to tobacco smoke can lead to both chronic and library/secondhandsmoke. acute health problems. Non-smokers that inhale tobacco smoke at home or at work increase their risk of heart disease by 25 to 30 % and their risk of lung cancer by 20 to 30 %. Secondhand smoke can induce respiratory distress, asthma attacks, ear infections in children and Sudden Infant Death Syndrome. – J.H.
The views expressed in this newsletter do not necessessarily reprent those of the MSSSQ or of Health Canada.
Published six times per year by the not-for-profit organization of the same name, Info-tabac is distributed free of charge to members of the media, Parliament or health advocacy organizations. Please inquire about existing conditions for other subscription categories. Current and back issues are available online in HTML and PDF formats at www.info-tabac.ca. This site features a search engine covering all articles published since the inaugural issue in 1996. Legal deposit: Bibliothèque nationale du Québec; National Library of Canada, Nov. 1996. ISSN 1480-1833. French print circulation: 5,000 copies Printing: Impart Litho, Victoriaville French copy editor: Andrée Hamelin Translator: Julie Cameron English copy editor: Steve Valin Comments and suggestions: Josée Hamelin, Editor-in-Chief firstname.lastname@example.org Administrative : Denis Côté, Coordinator email@example.com Partnerships and subscriptions: Julie Cameron, Development Officer firstname.lastname@example.org Info-tabac 1988 Sainte-Catherine Street East, Suite 205, Montreal QC, H2K 2H7 Telephone: (514) 525-7025 Fax: (514) 525-6044
US replaces Surgeon General Carmona
Shortly after the publication of his report on secondhand smoke, Dr. Carmona’s contract as Surgeon General was not renewed. He has been temporarily replaced by Kenneth P. Moritsugu. Some members of the American media pointed at the substantial financial support the US administration receives from many industrial sources, including tobacco multinationals, as a possible explanation.
INSPQ report on secondhand smoke
The Institut national de santé publique du Québec (INSPQ) recently launched an extensive review of scientific literature on secondhand smoke, including its health effects and protective legislations. The 250-page document is available online at www.inspq.qc.ca/ pdf/publications/487-FumeeTabacSecondaire.pdf.
Japan Tobacco International (JTI) recently added a courtesy guide for smokers to its website. The funny, illustrated guide recommends refraining from cigarette butt littering and asking those around if its ok to light up. “Every one likes smoked salmon, but maybe not smoked fruit salad, smoked steak or smoked apple pie, so make sure everyone is done eating before lighting up”, advises JTI. Seemingly limited to the unpleasant odor of secondhand smoke, the guide completely avoids any mention of health risks.
New Tobacco Leaf
The second edition of The Tobacco Leaf is now available. The newsletter, published by the Quebec and Labrador First Nations Health and Social Services Commission, is focused on raising awareness among members of First Nations communities of the dangers of cigarette smoking. The new issue includes a short summary of tobacco use by First Nations populations. For more information, contact Isabelle Verret at (418) 842-1540.
1996 - 2006
Celebrating 10 years in print