Tobacco giants ‘feared WA’s lead’

New research has revealed international tobacco companies feared tobacco controls in Western Australia and closely monitored the state for more than 50 years.

smoking

In 1998, a legal battle forced four of America’s biggest tobacco companies to release millions of confidential documents.

Curtin University in Perth has spent the past two years sifting through more than 50 years of documents.

The documents show the companies were deeply concerned about tobacco controls in WA, including the banning of tobacco advertising, education programs and health warnings on cigarette packets.

Professor Mike Daube says the companies were getting regular reports on what was happening in the state.

“They were desperately worried about WA as a national leader. They were worried that action in WA might encourage other states to act,” he said.

Professor Daube says he has one memo written by a head of tobacco giant Philip Morris.

“He says, ‘This doesn’t sound good at all, they are taking the lead!! This will spread elsewhere’,” he said.

He says WA remains a leader in tobacco controls, and it is likely the companies still fear the impact of smoking regulations in the state and the flow-on effects to the rest of Australia.

The research will be formally released later today.

source: http://www.abc.net.au/

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