During debate in the upper house on Tuesday, Mr Dean pointed out to his colleagues that all the nation’s major health organisations had backed the T21 bill, including the Australian Medical Association, the Royal Australian College of General Practitioners and the Cancer Council.
The bill was voted down 11 votes to 3.
There are only 15 members in the Tasmanian upper house.
This redefining adults to be children is a very popular notion with nanny staters at some margins. Somehow they never want to raise the voting age to 21 or the age of consent to 21. I think sensible people realise that this is a bad idea and, quite rightly, the Tasmanian upper house comprehensively rejected the proposal.
But … the public health lobby aren’t used to set backs and rather than admit that they had a dumb idea, they went for a conspiracy theory explanation.
So this appeared at the Tobacco Control blog. To be clear:
Tobacco Control is an international peer-reviewed journal covering the nature and consequences of tobacco use worldwide; tobacco’s effects on population health, the economy, the environment, and society; efforts to prevent and control the global tobacco epidemic through population-level education and policy changes; the ethical dimensions of tobacco control policies; and the activities of the tobacco industry and its allies.
The journal is essential reading for everyone with an interest in tobacco control, including public health professionals, researchers, policy makers and educators.
To be fair – perhaps their blog isn’t peer reviewed.
This is how Tobacco Control describe the set back:
An innovative legislative reform in Tasmania, Australia has been defeated, after what appears to be tobacco industry interference via third parties, with support from vaping lobby groups.
Both retailer organisations and vaping advocacy groups campaigned vociferously against T21, the latter under the guise of “harm reduction”. Advocates also organised meetings and events with members of parliament. During the debate on the T21 bill, some MPs used tobacco industry-favoured language such as “freedom of choice” and “unintended consequences”, and claimed the supposed ineffectiveness of policy measures.
Shocking! Those MPs were obviously bought off.
But wait … the same blog posts also boasts:
Tasmania is one of the few places in the world where the tobacco industry is not permitted by law to “tell lies” about the health effects of tobacco, nor legislation, under Sections 74 and 74AA of the Public Health Act 1997.
I went and had a look at those sections of the Act.
A manufacturer, supplier or retailer of any smoking product must not provide to any person information regarding any legislation or enactment of any jurisdiction relating to any smoking product or smoking that is false.
So retailer organisations were able to campaign against the proposal without providing information that was false?
Anyway, the Tobacco Control blog also contains this gem:
Tasmania has a long history of fighting political barriers, including crony capitalism and corruption in relation to big tobacco interference in its affairs. One Tasmanian government was brought down by British Tobacco (now British American Tobacco) through a bribery scandal in the 1970s.
That is a huge call. You’d think a story like that would be common knowledge.
So I clicked on the link and hunted down an ungated version of the paper. For background, the author of the blog post and the author of the conference paper setting out the evidence is the same person (so you’d think she would know what it was she had found).
This is the bottom line:
A key politician, Kevin Lyons MHA, who held the balance of power in the Tasmanian government, was known to have been paid a substantial sum by British Tobacco for his memoirs, which were never published. This politician brought down a Liberal government that had attempted to prosecute British Tobacco executives, had resumed land previously allocated to the company for a national park, and was about to impose a tobacco tax. Clearly the company had good reason to hope for the demise of the Bethune Liberal Government. This raises the question of whether or not British Tobacco was implicated in the downfall of a government in Tasmania. The answer to this may never be known. A police enquiry at the time cleared Kevin Lyons of wrongdoing. Most of the key senior tobacco executives and politicians involved in these events are now dead, no Royal Commission was held and, therefore, any hope of discovering more than that which is already on the public record is unlikely.
Notice the statement of fact:
One Tasmanian government was brought down by British Tobacco (now British American Tobacco) through a bribery scandal in the 1970s.
when investigated, is the conspiracy theory:
This raises the question of whether or not British Tobacco was implicated in the downfall of a government in Tasmania.
As the author concedes in the original article – there is zero evidence to substantiate the claim.
As I keep saying – you have to check every statement made by the public health lobby.