Fake cigarette packs present MPs with life-saving choice

Cancer Research UK

Strict Embargo: 00:01hrs Monday February 13, 2006

Today (Monday 13 February 2006) all MPs will receive a fake cigarette pack bearing a very real health warning: SECONDHAND SMOKE KILLS BAR WORKERS.

Sent by Cancer Research UK to coincide with tomorrow’s Health Bill vote, the fictitious brand, ‘Your Choice’, will bring home the life-saving impact MPs’ votes could have. Workers will continue to die needlessly unless they back a comprehensive smokefree law without exemptions.

The Government has given MPs three options: to vote for the original proposals, which exempt private member’s clubs and pubs that do not serve food; to exempt private member’s clubs only; or to vote for a comprehensive smokefree law for all workplaces, including all pubs and private members’ clubs.

To spell out why a comprehensive law is the only viable option, Cancer Research UK has filled the packs with mock cigarette cards outlining the major arguments and dispelling persistent myths.

Professor Alex Markham, chief executive of Cancer Research UK, said: “The message couldn’t be any louder or clearer. Our cigarette packets drive home the message that making all workplaces - including private members’ clubs - smokefree without exemption is the only sensible option. One bar worker a week dies from exposure to secondhand smoke and anything other than a comprehensive law would allow this needless waste of life to continue.

“It’s a disgrace that bar workers and the general public in England might not enjoy the same rights to health as those in Scotland and Northern Ireland. We call on all MPs to seize this monumental opportunity to improve the health of the country and vote for a comprehensive smokefree law.”

Any partial law is widely acknowledged to be unworkable, safeguarding the health of some workers while leaving many of those who are most at risk unprotected. And repeated polls have shown that more than 70 per cent of people support a comprehensive smokefree law.

Workers’ health should be at the heart of the new law. Secondhand smoke is a health and safety risk, increasing the overall chance of developing lung cancer and heart disease by almost 25 per cent. Current proposals leave thousands of workers unprotected and many pubs, particularly those in poorer areas, could stop serving food to allow smoking to continue.

Private members’ clubs are workplaces too and all employees deserve an equal right to protection from secondhand smoke at work. There are over 20,000 private members’ clubs in England and Wales, including working men’s clubs, golf clubs and leisure centres.

The tobacco lobby and some sectors of the hospitality industry often claim that going smokefree will damage profits. But the objective evidence does not support this. No independent peer reviewed study has ever found a significant negative economic impact and a review of smokefree laws across Europe shows that they do not damage profits.

ENDS

For media enquiries please contact Sophy Gould on 020 7061 8318, or, out-of-hours, the duty press officer on 07050 264 059.

References

  1. Report of the Scientific Committee on Tobacco and Health. Department of Health, 1998.
  2. Secondhand smoke: review of evidence since 1988: update of evidence on health effects of secondhand smoke. London: Department of Health, 2004.
  3. Health Select Committee Report: Smoking in Public Places: HC 485-1 December 2005. See http://www.parliament.the-stationery-office.co.uk/pa/cm199900/cmselect/cmhealth/27/2702.htm
  4. Joint ASH/Cancer Research UK survey of pubs and bars. Carried out by IFF Research Ltd, September 2005. See http://www.smokefreeaction.org.uk
  5. Department for Culture, Media and Sport statistical bulletin on liquor licensing, England and Wales, July 2003 - June 2004.
  6. Joint Lords/Commons Committee on Human Rights sixth report. 11 January, 2006. See http://www.publications.parliament.uk/pa/jt200506/jtselect/jtrights/96/9602.htm
  7. BMRB Poll: attitudes to smoking in the workplace, January 2005 See http://www.smokefreeaction.org.uk
  8. Joint ASH/Cancer Research UK Smokefree Omnibus survey, July 2005. See http://www.smokefreeaction.org.uk
  9. Joint ASH/Cancer Research UK Smokefree YouGov survey, December 2005. See http://www.smokefreeaction.org.uk
  10. Presentation from Siri Naesheim, Norwegian Directorate for Health and Social Affairs. The Norwegian smoking ban: update and impact. Cancer Research UK International Expert meeting on smokefree policies. March 2005. See http://science.cancerresearchuk.org/news/meetings/smokefree
  11. The National Institute for Alcohol and Drug Research. Smokefree bars and restaurants in Norway, 2005. (Prepared by Marianne Lund, SIRUS. See http://www.sirus.no)
  12. Valerie Robinson, Office of Tobacco Control, Ireland. The Irish Smoking Ban: update and impact. Cancer Research UK International Expert meeting on smokefree policies. March 2005. See http://science.cancerresearchuk.org/news/meetings/smokefree
  13. Office of Tobacco Control, Ireland. Smoke-free workplaces in Ireland. A one-year review, March 2005.
  14. Joint ASH/Cancer Research UK Smokefree Omnibus survey. December 2005. See http://www.smokefreeaction.org.uk
  15. Can ventilation control secondhand smoke in the hospitality industry? OSHA Ventilation Workshop Analysis. Repace Associates, Inc, June 2000.
  16. Kotzias D. Ventilation as a means of controlling exposure of workers to environmental tobacco smoke (ETS). Paper presented by Dimitrios Kotzias at the Smokefree Europe conference, June 2 2005. See http://www.smokefreeeurope.com/assets/downloads/dimitrios_kotzias.doc
  17. Scollo M, Glantz S. Review of the quality of studies on the economic effects of smoke-free policies on the hospitality industry. Tobacco Control 2003; 12: 13-20.
  18. Smokefree Europe Partnership. Smoke Free Europe makes economic sense. A report on the economic aspects of smokefree policies. 2005. See www.smokefreeeurope.com/economic_report.htm
  19. NHS Health Scotland. International review of the health and economic impact of the regulation of smoking in public places. See http://www.hebs.com/researchcentre/pdf/InternationalReviewFullReport.pdf
  20. The state of smoke-free New York City: A one year review. New York City Department of Finance; New York City Department of Health and Mental Hygiene; New York City Department of Small Business Services; New York City Economic Development Corporation, March 2004.
  21. Fong, G. The impact of smokefree workplace legislation on smokers in Ireland. Findings from the ITC-Ireland/UK survey. Presentation by Geoffrey Fong at the Smokefree Europe Conference. June 2, 2005. See http://www.smokefreeeurope.com/assets/downloads/geoffreyfong.pdf
  22. Fichtenberg CM, Glantz SA. Effect of smoke-free workplaces on smoking behaviour: systematic review. British Medical Journal 2002; 325:188.

Notes to Editor

Images of the fake cigarette packets and cigarette cards are available below. Click on an image to download a high resolution version:





















Full text of the fake cigarette cards

1. Current proposals leave thousands of workers unprotected

Secondhand smoke is a workplace health and safety risk. Overall, it increases risk of lung cancer and heart disease by almost 25% 1,2. A number of Government reports and reviews conclude that a comprehensive law is the only solution 1, 3. Under current proposals, the numbers of unprotected workers could increase. Many pubs, particularly those in poorer areas, could stop serving food to allow smoking to continue 4.

2. Private members’ clubs are workplaces too

All employees have the right to breathe clean air at work.

There are over 20,000 licensed and registered private members’ clubs in England and Wales. These include cricket clubs, leisure centres, casinos and bingo halls 5.

The Joint Lords/Commons Committee on Human Rights concluded that any partial law would be discriminatory 6.

3. Smokefree laws are popular and easy to enforce

In repeated polls, over 70% of the public in England support a smokefree law 7, 8, 9.

The six countries that have already introduced comprehensive legislation - Ireland, Italy, Norway, Sweden, Malta and New Zealand - have not had problems enforcing the law 10, 11, 12.

93% of hospitality venues in Ireland were smokefree a year after the law came in to effect in March 2004 13.

Public support in England is already higher than it was in Ireland prior to legislation 14.

4. Ventilation is ineffective

There is no safe level of exposure to secondhand smoke.

No product currently on the market can effectively remove the 69 cancer causing substances and other harmful chemicals in smoke.

Air flows equivalent to those produced by tornadoes and wind tunnels would be needed 15, 16.

5. Smokefree laws do NOT damage profits

No independent, peer reviewed study has ever found a significant negative economic impact of going smokefree 17.

A review of smokefree laws across Europe18, and research conducted prior to Scotland going smokefree19, shows that they do not damage profits.

New York City demonstrates just how positive going smokefree can be. One year on, tax revenues in restaurants and bars were up 8.7% 20.

6. A comprehensive law would be good for everyone

Going smokefree has not increased smoking in the home in Ireland or elsewhere 21. It can even reduce smoke exposure at home through encouraging smokers to give up 22.

We need a comprehensive law now. It’s about health and about time.

Save lives: vote to protect all workers from secondhand smoke.

Cancer Research UK

  • Cancer Research UK's vision is to conquer cancer through world-class research.
  • The charity works alone and in partnership with others to carry out research into the biology and causes of cancer, to develop effective treatments, improve the quality of life for cancer patients, reduce the number of people getting cancer and to provide authoritative information on cancer. Cancer Research UK is the world's leading independent charity dedicated to research on the causes, treatment and prevention of cancer.
  • For further information about Cancer Research UK's work or to find out how to support the charity, please call 020 7009 8820.
  • For further information about Reduce the Risk please visit the Reduce the Risk website.

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