Article by Roger Sollenberger and William Bredderman at The Daily Beast: Guess Who’s Secretly Backing This ‘Anti-Smoking’ Vape Group

Excerpt: "According to sources and internal documents, British American Tobacco has played a central and hands-on role in orchestrating, directing, and funding the World Vapers’ Alliance—a seemingly grassroots lobbying group designed to recruit pro-vaping advocates around the world under an anti-smoking guise."

Airspace Action on Smoking and Health has dissolved itself as an organization registered under the BC Societies Act.

Why? Because Airspace has accomplished most of its objectives. If you look back to the time of the founding of Airspace in the late 1970’s,

  • We published the Breather’s Dining Guide for the entire Province of B.C. It was originally a very short list, and at that time, many restaurants, and only one pub, even had non-smoking sections.

  • There were few restrictions on smoking in workplaces.

  • There were few restrictions on smoking in public places such as shopping malls.

  • Laws against the sale of cigarettes to children were rarely enforced. Many schools had smoking areas.

  • Cigarettes were heavily advertised via sponsorships of motor races, film festivals, music festivals, and fashion shows. Much of the British Columbia media was on board for these events.

You probably have some memories of the many great things that Airspace did, and we invite you to share them with us.

Things such as Airspace's kiddie stings on cigarette vendors, former Airspace President Heather Mackenzie's numerous lawsuits against the tobacco industry, Airspace's booths at trade shows, our Bedfellows award, and our demonstrations against industry-funded events such as the Benson & Hedges Fireworks, Player's Indy Racing, the Matinee Fashion Show and the du Maurier Jazz Festival.

Or Airspace's fights on issues too numerous to mention such as advertising, vaping, 2nd-hand marijuana smoke, plain-packaging, smoking in multi-unit dwellings, mail-order cigarettes, and the BC College of Pharmacists defense of selling cigarettes in pharmacies.

Our annual Christmas caroling in front of the Imperial Tobacco office on Grandview in Vancouver was an embarrassment to the tobacco industry. They later closed that office and moved their operations to Calgary.

We shed light on the tobacco industry’s involvement in cigarette smuggling, and the use of BC health care facilities for cigarette product testing.

The Grim Reaper was a constant thorn in the side to the tobacco industry and their friends, and in his alter ego as Airspace president Errol Povah, he walked across Canada in 2010 to raise money for his Journey for a Tobacco-Free World initiative and raised hell at tobacco-industry conferences from Thailand to Malaysia.

We published the hard-hitting Breathers’ Digest and distributed it to nearly one hundred public libraries in BC, and have provided numerous resources to hundreds of others in the fight against the industry.

However, this web site and our Facebook page will be continued indefinitely.

Airspace wishes to express a heartfelt thanks to all those who have supported us over the years, and hope that our efforts, with your support, have led to better lives for all of us in this province.

From all of us at Airspace, thank you again.

Those "good corporate citizens at British American Tobacco (owner of Imperial Tobacco, purveyors of Player's, Matinee, and Du Maurier) bribed a corrupt dictator. Here's the story from BBC: British American Tobacco negotiated bribe for Mugabe, new evidence suggests

Excerpt: "Documents show British American Tobacco (BAT) was involved in negotiations to pay between $300,000 and $500,000 to Mugabe's Zanu-PF party in 2013.

"The documents also reveal BAT was paying bribes in South Africa and using illegal surveillance to damage rivals.

"BAT says it is committed to the highest standards of corporate conduct."

This is about BAT, the largest tobacco company doing business in Canada. And this is a news story from March 15, not 20 years ago. By Matthew Chapman, in The Defender: Big Tobacco Targets Youth With $1.4 Billion Marketing Campaign

Excerpt: °BAT has told regulators around the world that its new products, including heated tobacco and oral nicotine, are for current adult smokers. But as these sponsorships make clear, it has launched an aggressive £1 billion ($1.4 billion USD) marketing campaign that leans heavily on social media, concerts and sporting events, which could have the effect of encouraging young people to pick up a potentially deadly tobacco habit that still kills 8 million people a year."

Ken Hill died in January at the age of 62.

As is often the case when a successful corporate executive an wealthy person dies, the media sang his praises for supporting his Six Nations community, being involved in a number of charity initiatives, owning an ice hockey team and several local business. Niagara Falls, ON lit the falls blue and green one night in his honour.

Downplayed in all this was, the source of his fortune was the Grand River Enterprises cigarette company, the fourth largest tobacco company in Canada after Imperial Tobacco, Rothmans Benson and Hedges, and JTI-Macdonald. They also sold a lot of cigarettes in Germany.

Grand River Enterprises is known for the same lack of scruples as their larger competitors. They claimed to be exempt from Ontario provincial law, even though courts have ruled otherwise, and short-changed Ontario on provincial taxes. They thumbed their noses at the Federal government by running promotions for their brands. They were sued several times in the US for involvement in cigarette smuggling. In 2009, Hill was charged with 16 counts by the State of Washington for trafficking in contraband cigarettes but the following year, a jury found him not guilty on all counts.

No word in the various news articles about his death on whether he was a consumer of his own company's products.

From the British Medical Journal Tobacco Control Blog: Philip Morris and the Government of Canada collaborate on COVID-19 vaccine development

Excerpts: "The vaccine developer at the middle of the controversy—Quebec-based Medicago Inc.—is owned by two major foreign shareholders including Philip Morris Investments (PMI) and Mitsubishi Tanabe Pharma. PMI owns one-third of Medicago and its former vice-president of regulatory affairs is the President and CEO of the vaccine developer. PMI has reported investing an undisclosed sum in the development of the new vaccine."

"The government has over 50 vaccine candidates to choose from globally—including several in Canada—so there is no lack of 'clean' investment options.

"By collaborating with Philip Morris on its own vaccine candidate, the Government of Canada is demonstrating complete disregard for its treaty obligations under the Framework Convention for Tobacco Control. Moreover, the government appears to be turning a blind eye to the tobacco industry and the pandemic of eight million deaths annually that it is fueling."

From Physicians for a Smoke-Free Canada:

There may be a very important sleeper among the suite of measures to address youth vaping announced by the British Columbia government in July. One of the regulations introduced by minister of health Adrian Dix is a requirement that all vaping liquids be sold in plainish packages by mid-September. The regulation does not apply to packaging of the devices, but only on the packages that contain substances that produce a vapour.

Only one country – Israel – has so far required that e-cigarette liquids be packaged in standardized packaging. Denmark introduced legislation to adopt this measure in January, but study of the bill appears to have been postponed. The Netherlands has plans to require plain packaging for e-cigarettes in 2022.

Short and sweet

This new measure is included in an Order in Council adopted by the B.C. cabinet earlier this week (July 20th OIC 426). Section 8 of the new E-Substances Regulation is clear and precise. In less than 200 words, it prohibits any text or imagery that is not specifically permitted or required under federal or provincial laws. (By comparison, the the federal plain packaging regulations for tobacco products take almost 9,000 words).

Packaging standards

8 (1) Subject to any enactment of Canada, a retailer must not sell a restricted e-substance unless the product is packaged in a plain manner that does not contain any text or image other than as required or permitted under this section.(2) A retailer must not sell a restricted e-substance unless the package
(a) states the concentration of non-therapeutic nicotine in the restricted e-substance,
(b) states the total volume of restricted e-substance within the package or, if the package includes multiple cartridges or containers, the volume of restricted e-substance held or that may be held in each cartridge or container,
(c) states “WARNING: nicotine is highly addictive”, and (d) shows the warning symbol set out in the Schedule.(3) A retailer is permitted to sell a restricted e-substance in a package that states one or more of the following:
(a) the name and contact information of the manufacturer;
(b) the brand name and product name;
(c) the type of product.

"After two years, it is clear that Canada’s vaping law is a failure.”

A revised law is needed to flatten the curve on this new wave of nicotine addiction.

(Ottawa - Montreal - Edmonton) – On the second anniversary of the federal Tobacco and Vaping Products Act (TVPA) coming into force, tobacco control organizations are calling on the Health Minister and other Parliamentarians to acknowledge the dangerous flaws in the law and to act faster to strengthen national controls on the vaping market.

“Government officials said they would balance the need to protect young people from nicotine addiction against their desire to increase smokers’ access to vaping products. It is clear that they got that balance wrong,” said Neil Collishaw of Physicians for a Smoke-Free Canada. “Tens of thousands of young Canadians have been harmed by this law, with very little evidence of any benefit to the health of adult smokers.”

“The federal vaping law has not protected young people from tobacco industry marketing,” said Flory Doucas of the Quebec Coalition for Tobacco Control. “It has allowed vaping products to be sold in tens of thousands of convenience stores and gas stations, it has allowed them to be sold in exotic flavours, it has allowed them to be designed to be hidden from parents and teachers, it has allowed them to be made with the highest levels of fast-acting nicotine and it has allowed them to be sold at dirt-cheap prices.”

Pink Shirt Day 2020The annual Vancouver-based anti-bullying event -- otherwise known as Pink Shirt Day -- actually condones bullying...and all of the sponsors are complicit!

"While sponsors have come and gone over the years, CKNW and Global TV BC -- and London Drugs -- have remained throughout...and we take huge issue with London Drugs' involvement", Airspace Action on Smoking and Health President Errol Povah said.

Background info regarding the College of Pharmacists of B.C.'s proposed bylaw (which would've ended the sale of tobacco products from pharmacies in B.C., the last province/territory in the country to do so), and the bullying and threatening response from "The Tobacco Six" (lead by LD Pres and COO Clint Mahlman), etc. is available here on the Airspace site.

It was challenging to pick a headline for this article...there are just so many to choose from.  For example, for the 5th or 6th year in a row, the Airspace activists protesting the event -- at--  the London Drugs "Plaza" (a large, open area in front of the main entrance of the store, at the corner of Granville & Georgia) -- might've been more accurately described as the proverbial, "Elephant in the room" or, more accurately, "The herd of elephants on the plaza!"

Or "The Silence is Deafening", regarding the response we got after contacting all of the sponsors (about this blatant hypocrisy) well in advance of the event.  

The protest -- including our handouts (detailing why we were there) and our big signs (see attached pictures) -- could've also been described as, "An Inconvenient Truth".

Or how about, "Tragic, yet hilarious!"

Or "Bu$ine$$ A$ U$ual...or, "Maintaining the $tatu$ quo at any and all co$t$".

Last but not least, there's, "Corporate Bullying is Alive and Well at Pink Shirt Day!"

Notwithstanding the tragedy that tobacco is (as of today [Feb 29, 2020], the average daily [global] death toll from COVID-19 -- since the first death on January 11 -- stands at 60, while to toll for tobacco is 20,000, about 1,500 of whom are non-smokers, killed by secondhand tobacco smoke...and the World Health Organization is seriously considering describing COVID-19 a "pandemic"), our PSD protests -- and the response to them, by the organizers/participants -- are hilarious!