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July 12th, 2016:

Letter on $110 million funding cut for CDC and OSH

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Sunbury’s foodie precinct calls for permanent smoking ban

A trial smoking ban in Sunbury’s foodie precinct has been hailed a tremendous success, with restaurateurs calling for a permanent ban ahead of statewide restrictions from late 2017.

The east side of O’Shanassy Street will stay smoke free between Station and Brook streets until at least April next year after Hume council passed a proposal put by Sunbury Community Health, Sunbury Business Association and traders.

District 3429 owner Ami Tran and Vic’s Food and Wine’s Vic Scerri said reaction to the trial ban, which started on April 4, had been overwhelmingly positive, even though the ban had been largely self regulated.

“It means families, parents, old people … they can actually enjoy their food without having to worry about smoke,” Ms Tran said.

“Smokers, too, have been good about it, just going elsewhere to have a cigarette. It’s been great for the area.”

Mr Scerri said diners had quickly adjusted to the change. “There’s no reason it shouldn’t continue.”

Council’s city communities director, Margarita Caddick, said the trial ban was being monitored and evaluated.

“Hume officers regularly patrol the area and we’re pleased that people have done the right thing and refrained from smoking,” she said.

“The trial is almost three months old, and no fines have been issued to date. Diners and local businesses have provided positive feedback.

“We think it’s going very well.”

A survey of more than 150 people last year found 88.5 per cent supported the trial ban.

In February, Cr Jack Medcraft said it could be the first step to a ban in other public places, such as carparks and shopping centres.

“We would cop flak over it from some people … but the survey with the O’Shanassy Street proposal showed the community is saying, if you want to smoke, go to another spot.”

Reaction to $2.1 million of streetscape improvements unveiled last November also continues to be favourable.

Powerlines were put underground and kerbs and drainage upgraded.

Wider paths have given traders more room for outdoor tables and chairs, while new council policies allow businesses to set up permanent structures.

But perhaps the most popular addition has been the fairy lights in the street’s elm trees.

Ms Tran, Mr Scerri and council planning and development director Kelvin Walsh said the project had helped solidify O’Shanassy Street’s growing reputation as a foodie destination and “a spectacular place to dine”

University of Waterloo receives grant for tobacco policy research

A big boost for researchers at the University of Waterloo.

The U.S National Cancer Institute has given the University $8.8 million to evaluate the public-health impact of government policies that aim to regulate tobacco products, including e-cigarettes.

The grant is for the University’s International Tobacco Control Policy Evaluation Project– which has evaluated the impact of national-level tobacco control policies in 28 countries.

Waterloo and the Medical University of South Carolina are the two lead institutions in the larger research grant involving 11 institutions and totalling $20 million.

In a release, The University says “they are pleased to be one of two lead institutions involved in this large-scale international project that will further the strides already made in public health related to tobacco products, as well as evaluate the impact of government policies on public health.”

International tribunal upholds states’ rights to protect health through tobacco control

GENEVA, 12 JULY 2016 – An international tribunal has upheld the sovereign authority of states to protect health through tobacco control. The World Bank’s International Centre for Settlement of Investment Disputes (ICSID) has confirmed that tobacco control measures applied by the Government of Uruguay did not violate the terms of an investment agreement between Uruguay and Switzerland, under which the dispute was initiated.

The decision was informed by a joint submission or amicus brief, from the World Health Organization (WHO) and the WHO Framework Convention on Tobacco Control (WHO FCTC) Secretariat. The brief provided an overview of global tobacco control, including the role of the WHO FCTC. It set out the public health evidence underlying Uruguay’s tobacco packaging and labelling laws and detailed state practice in implementing similar measures.

The Tribunal accepted submission of the amicus brief on the basis that it provided an independent perspective on the matters in the dispute and contributed expertise from “qualified agencies”.1 The Tribunal subsequently relied on the brief at several points of the factual and legal analysis in their decision. 2

In accepting submission of the amicus brief the Tribunal noted that given the “public interest involved in this case” the amicus brief would “support the transparency of the proceeding”.3. Now that the decision of the Tribunal has been released, the WHO and WHO FCTC Secretariat make available below their submissions to the Tribunal.

The tribunal’s award affirms that Parties to the WHO FCTC can confidently implement the Convention and its Guidelines to protect present and future generations from the devastating consequences of tobacco consumption.


1. Philip Morris Brand Sàrl (Switzerland), Philip Morris Products S.A. (Switzerland) and Abal Hermanos S.A. (Uruguay) v. Oriental Republic of Uruguay (ICSID Case No. ARB/10/7), Procedural Order No. 3 (February 17, 2015) at paras. 25 and 28.

2. Philip Morris Brand Sàrl (Switzerland), Philip Morris Products S.A. (Switzerland) and Abal Hermanos S.A. (Uruguay) v. Oriental Republic of Uruguay (ICSID Case No. ARB/10/7), Decision on the Merits (July 8, 2016)

3. Abal Hermanos S.A. (Uruguay) v. Oriental Republic of Uruguay (ICSID Case No. ARB/10/7), Procedural Order No. 3 (February 17, 2015) at para. 28

Melbourne City Council to consider smoking ban on major streets

Melbourne City Council is considering a smoking ban on footpaths along Swanston, Russell, La Trobe, Victoria and Lygon streets.

FOOTPATHS on some of Melbourne’s major streets, including Lygon St, could become smoke free in a city-first proposal.

Melbourne City Council is considering whether to stop people lighting up on footpaths along Swanston, Russell, La Trobe, Victoria and Lygon streets.

People would also have to butt out on the footpaths outside the City Baths.

Council’s chair of people city portfolio Richard Foster said the response to previous smoking bans, covering nine city areas, was “overwhelmingly supportive”.

But the new proposal hinges on community consultation, which is open now and closes August 19.

“Smoke-free areas allow people to breathe easy and support the health of children and young people, older adults and people with health conditions,” Cr Foster said.

The smoking ban could affect popular Lygon St.

“In previous consultations around 85 per cent of respondents were in favour of introducing more smoke-free zones.

“Our approach helps to de-normalise smoking and support people who are trying to quit, or have recently quit.”

The council is considering the bans after a plea for help from RMIT university, which has a campus-wide ban but borders Swanston and La Trobe streets.

Property services executive director Chris Hewison said the university received regular complaints about smoking on footpaths outside RMIT doorways.

“Passive smoking or exposure to second-hand smoke affects the health of both smokers and nonsmokers,” he said.

“It can cause serious health disease and conditions — there is no level of exposure to second-hand smoke that is free of risk.”