Big Tobacco condemned with Global Coffin Nail Award

25 May 2012

AMA NATIONAL CONFERENCE 2012 (Twitter: #amanc2012)

The 2012 Global Coffin Nail Award was today presented to the Big Tobacco industry for its desperate, devious and dishonest tactics in opposing the introduction of plain packaging for tobacco products.

The Award – presented by the AMA, the Australian Council on Smoking and Health (ACOSH), and Action on Smoking and Health (ASH) Australia – was announced at the AMA National Conference in Melbourne.  No representative from Big Tobacco was in attendance to accept the Award.

AMA President, Dr Steve Hambleton, said that tobacco is the only industry that markets and sells a product known to kill half of its regular users.

“Around the world, smoking kills nearly six million people each year,” Dr Hambleton said.

“Over a million Australians have died because they smoked since clear evidence about the dangers of smoking was published in 1950.

“During that time, Big Tobacco has done everything in its power to promote its products and delay or prevent action to reduce smoking.

“The tobacco companies have opposed plain packaging with a ferocity that confirms the importance of the Australian Government’s plain packaging legislation – both for Australia and as a model for other countries,” Dr Hambleton said.

Tobacco industry strategies to oppose the introduction of plain packaging include:

  • mass media campaigns using the loophole of ‘political advertising’ to get around tobacco advertising bans;
  • threats to flood the country with cheap cigarettes;
  • lobbying at all levels;
  • setting up and  using ‘front’ organisations to oppose and undermine health policies and to produce flawed reports to lobby politicians with unfounded claims;
  • online campaigns with false and misleading claims;
  • legal actions against the Australian Government;
  • funding legal action by countries such as Honduras and Ukraine to challenge plain packaging through action at the World Trade Organisation; and
  • flooding the Department of Health and Ageing with Freedom of Information applications to tie up resources and intimidate policy makers.

“Smoking is gradually decreasing in developed countries, but the tobacco industry is promoting its products ruthlessly in developing countries,” Dr Hambleton said.

“The World Health Organization estimates that the global tobacco death toll will rise to eight million by 2030.

“Big Tobacco is the world’s most lethal industry, and is a worthy recipient of the Global Coffin Nail Award.”


25 May 2012


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