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June 22nd, 2011:

Time to ban smoking in cars

22ND JUNE 2011

British Lung Foundation chief executive Dame Helena Shovelton argues that it is time to ban smoking in cars.

Every year more than 300,000 children in the UK present passive smoking-related illnesses to their family doctor.

This is a preventable statistic and a preventable cost to the NHS, with £10 million worth of primary care visits and asthma treatments, and £12 million in hospital admission costs, caused directly by passive smoking.

In the confines of a car, children are exposed to concentrations of passive smoke, equivalent, according to Aberdeen University research, of levels in a smoke-filled pub.

Smoking indoors in public places is banned so why should children suffer because smoking is not banned in cars?

British Lung Foundation research found 51% of 8-15-year-olds surveyed had been exposed to cigarette smoke in cars but were too scared or embarrassed to ask the adult smoker to stop. Some 86% of children want smoking made illegal in cars.

Steps have been taken elsewhere, notably in Canada, where a national media programme was supported by legislation in some states. Areas where legislation on smoking in cars when children are present was implemented saw a dramatic drop in exposure to smoke compared with states that just focussed on education and awareness campaigns.

In America, concern over the dangers to children of smoking in cars has been raised in California, Arkansas and Louisiana.

In Wales, similar concerns have been raised, while the Health Department of Jersey is already considering passing the ban and Stockton North MP Alex Cunningham has raised the issue in the UK Parliament.

It is now time for Westminster to take the lead in enacting legislative change in this vital aspect of child health.

MP’s links to tobacco industry is of concern

YESTERDAY (June 22), The Telegraph exposed five Tory MPs, two of them very
senior MPs and one of those our very own MP, Edward Garnier (current
Solicitor General) of accepting hospitality in excess of £1,000 from Japan
Tobacco International (JTI). It turns out that this was for morning coffee
and lunch for Garnier and his wife at this year’s Chelsea Flower Show and
totalled £1,132.80. JTI owns Benson & Hedges and Silk Cut cigarettes.

Last year, Garnier backed a legal challenge to the ban on the display of
tobacco by shopkeepers. It now emerges that JTI, the company from which
Garnier has accepted substantial hospitality, is currently pursuing an
application for judicial review of the ban on the display of tobacco by

This isn’t the first time Garnier has accepted hospitality from the tobacco
industry – there is a trend. In 2003 he received a day’s shooting in
Bedfordshire as a guest of the Tobacco Manufacturers’ Association. 2001 and
2002 were particularly rich years in terms of link-ups between Garnier and
the tobacco industry – in 2002, he and his wife were guests of Imperial
Tobacco at the Men’s Finals at Wimbledon and later that year, he accepted a
day’s shooting in Bedfordshire as the guest of the Tobacco Manufacturers’
Association. In 2001, Garnier and his wife enjoyed a day’s shooting and
overnight accommodation, near Kelso, as the guest of the Tobacco
Manufacturers’ Association. Later that year, he accepted another day’s
shooting in Bedfordshire as the guest of the Tobacco Manufacturers’
Association. In 1999, Garnier undertook a day’s shooting at Luton Hoo as a
guest of the Tobacco Manufacturers’ Association.

In the World Health Organisation Framework Convention on Tobacco Control, a
UN ratified treaty to which the UK is signed up, there is agreement to
“prohibit, or ….restrict, tobacco sponsorship of international events,
activities and/or participants…”. It states that it is “Seriously concerned
about the impact of all forms of advertising, promotion and sponsorship
aimed at encouraging the use of tobacco products”. “Tobacco sponsorship”
covers “any event, activity or individual with the aim, effect or likely
effect of promoting a tobacco product or tobacco use either directly or
indirectly”, whilst “tobacco advertising and promotion” applies to “any form
of commercial communication, recommendation or action with the aim, effect
or likely effect of promoting a tobacco product or tobacco use either
directly or indirectly”.

Both seemingly apply to Garnier’s links with the tobacco industry.

It is an obligation of this international treaty that “in setting and
implementing their public health policies with respect to tobacco control,
Parties shall act to protect these policies from commercial and other vested
interests of the tobacco industry in accordance with national law.”

Given the seniority of Garnier and his links therefore with other
governmental policy makers, one has to wonder of the probability of transfer
of interests.

The treaty recommends a complete ban on tobacco industry advertising,
promotion and sponsorship and calls for a minimum requirement of disclosure
of such (as Garnier has had to do).

We consider it an indictment of the British government that in the face of
overwhelming evidence of the deadly effects of tobacco, it does not apply a
total ban on such. Furthermore, we question the moral values of those who
fraternise with, and accept hospitality from an industry whose products so
blatantly kill its users.

When used as intended, it has been scientifically established that tobacco
kills up to one in two of its users and kills more people every year than
alcohol, Aids, car accidents, illegal drugs, murders and suicides combined.

That our MP and the Solicitor General is so strongly tied to the tobacco
industry, is an issue of grave concern to us, his constituents.

To further explore the links between our politicians and the tobacco
industry, please visit:

Sandie Harwood and Oasim Chowdary

Philip Morris Asia Limited (Hong Kong) v. The Commonwealth of Australia

Case description
This arbitration is conducted under the UNCITRAL Arbitration Rules of 2010 pursuant to the Agreement between the Government of Hong Kong and the Government of Australia for the Promotion and Protection of Investments.

Name(s) of claimant(s) Philip Morris Asia Limited (Hong Kong) ( Private entity )
Name(s) of respondent(s) The Commonwealth of Australia ( State )

Case number 2012-12

Administering institution Permanent Court of Arbitration (PCA)

Case status Pending

Type of case Investment arbitration

Subject matter or economic sector Manufacturing

Rules used in arbitral proceedings UNCITRAL Arbitration Rules 2010

Hong Kong Tobacco tax by year