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June 7th, 2012:

Facts get smoked on cigarette tax initiative

Thursday, June 7, 2012

Shame on the tobacco industry. Its outrageously deceptive, nearly US$50 million campaign appears to have worked. Prop. 29, which would have raised cigarette taxes by $1 a pack to fund cancer research and antismoking efforts, was teetering on the brink of defeat Wednesday. If the result holds, the industry can go back to its business of hooking people on a product that causes cancer and myriad other health problems.

Big Tobacco mastered the art of deception in confusing and misleading voters. Its claim that none of the Prop. 29 revenue would go to “cancer treatment” was a classic half-truth – the money would go to research. Its warning that there was no guarantee that the money would be spent in California was flat-out disingenuous – the intent language and the composition of the panel that would distribute the funds virtually assured otherwise. Its shills rolled out the tired old warning that the higher cigarette tax – still modest by national standards – would lead to rampant bootlegging.

All Californians, smokers and nonsmokers alike, pay the price of smoking’s health consequences – in both their private insurance premiums and the tax dollars they contribute to public medical coverage. Make no mistake: All of us are subsidizing the true cost of smoking. Big Tobacco would have it no other way.

This article appeared on page A – 19 of the San Francisco Chronicle

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Daily Dish!

Cannabis more dangerous than tobacco, says report

Description: Photo / AP

Photo / AP

Cannabis smoking poses a 20-times greater risk of lung cancer per cigarette than tobacco smoking yet most users of the drug are unaware of its dangers, a report says.

The UK’s most popular illicit recreational drug is used by more than a third of people under 24, but 88 per cent believe it is less dangerous than tobacco. One in three said it did not harm health, despite research linking it to respiratory, circulatory and psychiatric problems.

The British Lung Foundation, which commissioned the survey, said the findings were “alarming”.

“New research continues to reveal the multiple health consequences of smoking cannabis, [yet] there is still a dangerous lack of public awareness of quite how harmful this drug can be,” said Dame Helena Shovelton, BLF chief executive.

“Young people in particular are smoking cannabis unaware that each cannabis cigarette they smoke increases their chances of developing lung cancer by as much as an entire packet of 20 tobacco cigarettes.”

She called for a public health campaign to “dispel the myth that smoking cannabis is somehow a safe pastime”.

The reason cannabis is more dangerous than tobacco, per cigarette, is thought to be related to the way it is smoked. Cannabis smokers inhale more deeply and hold it longer than tobacco smokers.

The average puff on a cannabis joint is two-thirds larger and is held four times longer than the average puff of a tobacco cigarette. As a result, the cannabis smoker inhales four times as much tar and five times as much carbon monoxide.

Cannabis smoking has been linked with a wide range of respiratory problems, while the concentration of tetrahydrocannabinol(THC) – the drug’s psychoactive ingredient – has doubled since the 1990s, according to analysis of samples from police seizures.

Unlike tobacco, cannabis does not contain nicotine and so is not addictive.

However, the generation that grew up in the 1960s was the first to use cannabis on a large scale and is too young to have been followed into old age, so the long-term effects of the drug are still not known.

– Independent

By Jeremy Laurence

Copyright ©2012, APN Holdings NZ Limited

Cancer hospital chairwoman’s link to tobacco

THE chairwoman of one of the nation’s leading cancer hospitals has defended her legal work for tobacco giant Philip Morris, arguing she no longer accepts business from the company and is a committed non-smoker.

Wendy Harris SC was appointed Peter MacCallum Cancer Centre chairwoman last year by the Baillieu government, making her the effective custodian of Victoria’s major cancer treatment operator.

But it has emerged that Ms Harris helped launch her career as a lawyer by working as a solicitor for Philip Morris while on the staff of law firm Arthur Robinson & Hedderwicks. Labor said Ms Harris should never have been made chairwoman of the Peter MacCallum board.

“While Ms Harris is probably qualified for the position, we have concerns about her appointment given her background,” said opposition health spokesman Gavin Jennings.

Now a prominent barrister, Ms Harris disclosed in her Bar profile she had worked on tobacco regulation and media and constitutional law from 1993-97.

Documents seen by The Australian show Ms Harris was a solicitor on her then law firm’s litigation team and a contact point in 1996 for Philip Morris, which manufactures and sells cigarettes around the world.

Ms Harris said past employment did not disqualify her from working for a cause she was deeply committed to.

“You will have observed that it is many years since I was an employee solicitor at Arthur Robinson & Hedderwicks, where I was engaged — among many other matters, and with many other clients — in work for Philip Morris,” she told The Australian.

“The work I was engaged in at that time — now more than 15 years ago — was principally advertising regulation. I had no involvement in product liability work for Philip Morris.”

Peter MacCallum chief executive Craig Bennett said Ms Harris had been appointed a year ago. “Ms Harris has been a strong advocate for Peter Mac, offering informed advice and working with the utmost integrity and commitment to promote good governance,” he said.

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