Smoking and Meningococcal – the risk


SmokeFree Tasmania has urged people to quit smoking if they are primary carers of small children, because of the risk of invasive meningococcal disease. As a first step all Tasmanian children and adolescents should be vaccinated.

Children in contact with smokers are at greater risk of contracting invasive meningococcal disease, and should be vaccinated urgently”, Dr. Nick Towle, Spokesman for SmokeFree Tasmania said.

Dr. Norman Swan on the ABC said:

“…the most potent factor was having a carer who smoked.

The link wasn’t the smoke in the air, as you might have thought. It looks as though people who smoke have damaged airways, which are more likely to carry the meningococcal germ.

So smokers are more likely to be harbouring the bug – not something that taking your cigarette outside can change.

Another reason to quit.”

We also urge the government to conduct targeted campaigns in late winter and early spring, as recommended by clinicians and experts from Queensland” Dr. Towle said.

The Tasmanian Government has a Fact Sheet available online regarding meningococcal disease.

Information about free vaccination for 15-19 year old teenagers  is also online.

The Journal Internal Medicine by Queensland  experts indicated

“….. an established association between risk of invasive meningococcal disease (IMD) and exposure to cigarette smoke and highlights the risk to young children from primary caregiver smoking. The risk of IMD in young children could be further reduced if primary caregivers did not smoke.

There is an opportunity to use this message in targeted antismoking campaigns. Such campaigns might have more impact during peak periods of IMD (late winter/early spring).”

“Vaccination of children and teenagers against meningococcal disease is the primary recommendation, though this government needs to reconsider stronger measures to reduce the uptake of smoking, and continue sufficient funding to help parents and caregivers to quit smoking”. Dr. Towle said.


Final Meningococcal media release Augst 30 2017

southern Queensland

teenagers and smoking and meningococcal


International media interest in the TFG and SmokeFree Tasmania.

A film crew from Korea flew to Tasmania to interview Hon Ivan Dean and Dr. Kathryn Barnsley on 9 December 2016.

Hon. Ivan Dean being interviewed by Korean TV crew and medical practitioners.
Hon. Ivan Dean interview at Parliament House Hobart on 9 December 2016

The Legislative Council Committee  brought down its report on the TFG and says there is no legal impediment to its implementation!

Dr. Harley Stanton says “kite flying” no way to improve health.

Tobacco Free Generation better than MLSA – Tasmanian Times.

 MLSA is ‘symbolic gesture politics’ says Prof Simon Chapman.

Mercury story on the MLSA and TFG Feb 22 2016.

ABC news, Prof Haydn Walters interview on the MLSA and the TFG.

If we can ‘recall’ lettuce – why not cigarettes? Tobacco is radioactive, poisonous and carcinogenic. See Croakey story.

Interview with Ivan Dean MLC on ABC radio.

Big Tobacco targets our children – AGAIN!

Leading Launceston journalist Barry Prismall writes in the Examiner and describes the harrowing experience of the lung cancer of a close friend.

Another myth busted! New study shows little weight is gained after quitting smoking!

The Lancet Respiratory Editorial praises Tasmania.

Our  media release on 10 October 2016 on the “light” cigarette scandal. final-lights-101216

See our media release about the Australian Hotels Association, the tobacco free generation and the government proposal to raise the “smoking age”. Final-media-release-TFG-SFT-and-AHA-and-MLSA-Feb-2016

If we can recall lettuce – why not tobacco?

Litvinenko, Polonium-210 and the big tobacco industry cover-up. Cigarettes are radioactive, and contain Polonium-210, the same substance that was used to murder Litvinenko in the UK. Richard Proctor wrote about it in the New York Times. The CDC in the USA also records the evidence on Polonium-210 and cigarettes.

Ivan Dean MLC interview on ABC radio.

Great video of the Tobacco Free Generation bike ride in Singapore .

Dramatic falls in tobacco consumption in Australia, according to Canberra report.

The Conversation has published an article about the Tobacco Free Generation. And the Mercury mentions the article.

Mercury 030415 Haydn letter. Disappointment  about the government taking advice from a previous Health Minister.

Lancet Editorial media statement 27 March 2015 from SmokeFree Tasmania

The TFG proposal has now been considered by the Legislative Council and referred to a Committee to consider the detail. Unfortunately the current Minister appears to be taking advice from a former Health Minister who failed to take decisive action against big tobacco, and indeed had a “voluntary” agreement with them about tobacco advertising. Not an effective action at all!

Apparently pubs are now whingeing about the proposed legislation. Given that a third of them are flouting the law on smoke free areas yet their leader said last year – “Tasmanian Hospitality Association general manager Steve Old said most people agreed that banning smoking from public venues had been a positive step for the hospitality industry.”

The Bangkok Post 20 March and Yahoo – talks about Tasmania and the TFG.

On Tuesday 17 March Imperial Tobacco and local Tasmanian retailers gave a briefing to the Legislative Council. Copies of the transcript will be available on request to Hon. Ivan Dean – phone +61 3 6324 2005  during business hours.

 On Friday 27 March we provided a briefing to the Legislative Council.  

Pictured left to right: Prof. Jon Berrick, Hon. Ivan Dean MLC, Assoc. Prof. Sean Beggs, Kathryn Barnsley, Dr. Harley Stanton, Prof. Haydn Walters, Assoc. Prof. Len Crocombe, Prof. Mark Nelson, Dr. Julia Walters, Dr. Adrian Reynolds. (Dr Seana Gall and Dr. Nick Cooling also provided a briefing but had to leave before the photo was taken)

Smoke free generation proponents.

There was considerable local media interest this week in February 2015  from the Mercury, Examiner and Advocate and ABC radio.

Need a laugh? Try this – well researched by John Oliver.

New West Australian ad. Awesome.

HUGE SUPPORT for the amendment! 85% support for the Tobacco Free Generation!  See the Mercury Survey results.

This is a small sample but consistent with all the other newspaper polls done in Australia e.g. SMH, Adelaide Advertiser, Burnie Advocate.

A leading Tasmanian oral surgeon Graeme Hall speaks out about smoking and in support of the TFG.

When I first started here at the clinic I thought I would get used to it, but it’s getting worse,” he said. “Some days I just feel like crying.”

The Sunday Tasmanian had an excellent article on 21 December – with a survey to complete. The students from Albuera St school have been giving it  a lot of thought! GP and researcher Dr. Julia Walters has some wise comments about how the TFG will save babies, by reducing smoking in young pregnant women.

In a letter to the Examiner newspaper on December 8 2014 Hon. Ivan Dean MLC gives the facts, and explains  misunderstandings that some people have about the Bill.

Youth must butt out this dying habit – Mercury opinion article October 2014.

The Amendment

Ivan says “It is untrue to say that the proposed Bill will see the Tobacco-Free Generation convicted, made criminals of and jailed for making a decision to light up. Quite frankly that is nonsense and great care has been taken in putting this Bill together to insure (if supported) young people are not criminalised.”

Sarah Abo at SBS interviewed a number of people and put together a great story about the Tobacco Free Generation Bill.

Several Respiratory Physicians have recorded their views of the Tobacco Free Generation proposal in November 2014.
Prof. Haydn Walters
Dr. James Markos
Dr. Greg Haug 

Mercury Article October 2014

“The “tobacco-free generation” proposal to be tabled in the Legislative Council in a matter of weeks would see the slow phase out of the commercial sale of tobacco to children born this century.

It will not penalise smokers, cause hardship to retailers, or cause an increase in smuggled tobacco. It will save the lives of thousands of Tasmanian children, adolescents and adults.

Nothing will change for the 60,000 current smokers in Tasmania.

They will still be able to buy their deadly tobacco product from retailers — 500 of them will still die every year and 5000 family members will mourn the loss of a loved one, and sit beside them as they die an agonising death, gasping for breath.”

August 2012 ABC news following the Legislative Council unanimous votes in support of the TFG

Lateline ABC featuring Michelle O’Byrne and Dr. Kathryn Terry from the Cancer Council of Tasmania and QUIT- August 2012

Adelaide Advertiser – including a Poll that shows 67.7% support for the Tobacco Free Generation proposal.

International Interest
China Post 

Al Jazeera English in 2012 released  a lovely story with Tasmanian school children

Dr. Harley Stanton (left) and Professor Jon Berrick (right) in Tasmania 2012


Sky News Report  Published: 3:20 pm, Thursday, 6 November 2014

A Tasmanian politician’s plan to create a smoke-free generation could set an international precedent.

Professor of law in public health at Boston’s Northeastern University, Dick Daynard, has thrown his weight behind the proposed legislation.

Professor Daynard says “….if Tasmania does adopt the bill it would be a big boost for efforts in the US and elsewhere.”

“Scream Test”

Former Emergency Medicine specialist, Dr. Bryan Walpole pointed out in a letter to the Editor in the Mercury on 4 December 2014, that if the tobacco industry “screams” then it means a proposal is likely to reduce smoking rates.  Dr Walpole has campaigned to reduce smoking rates for many years and was involved in campaigns to eliminate tobacco advertising in the 1970s and 1908s Scream Test letter Bryan Walpole

International support from the British Medical Association. Dr. Tim Croquer-Buque leading the charge!

And the International Conference on Public Health Priorities in the 21st Century, India September 2013, key speaker Dr. Margaret Chan, with a message from His Holiness Pope Francis. Included in the final conference declaration. “Adoption of policies to prohibit the sale of tobacco to all persons born after 2000, to ensure tobacco free millennium generations (as proposed by Tasmania and Singapore).”