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A flagrant black market is selling vapes and e-cigarettes containing nicotine to young people in plain sight of authorities and in contravention of the law, exposing a new generation to the highly addictive substance.
Nearly all store-bought vapes contain the chemical nicotine, despite not stating so on the packaging, threatening to undo decades of public health campaigning on the dangers of smoking.
Health experts said the true toll of vaping may not be known for years as convenience stores and tobacconists continue to sell vapes with near impunity.
Tobacconists in inner Sydney sold The Oz vapes without asking for proof-of-age identification or a valid prescription for nicotine e-cigarettes, which is a requirement by law.
None of the vapes said they contained nicotine on the packaging and only one tobacconist said that the vape they sold The Oz contained nicotine, an IGET Shion Pod. They did not ask for a prescription.
Independent testing by the University of Wollongong (UOW) confirmed all but one of the four store-bought vapes – a strawberry lychee flavoured One Vape – contained the highly addictive chemical.
Dr Celine Kelso said the UOW’s School of Chemistry has tested hundreds of vapes. She said all contained nicotine except for the one supplied by The Oz For more go to Almost all vapes contain nicotine: health effects still unclear
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THE DEVELOPMENT AND IMPLEMENTATION OF ALCOHOL POLICY: ANTHROPOLOGICAL INSIGHTS ON TRANSLATION FROM THE GLOBAL (THE WORLD HEALTH ORGANIZATION) TO THE LOCAL (INDIGENOUS AUSTRALIA)
Highlights from Executive Summary
- As well as being endorsed as a WHO policy ‘best buy’, formal controls over the physical availability of alcohol continue to be well supported by the residents of many remote and rural Indigenous living areas. These formal controls can be implemented by local governments, by-laws, Aboriginal housing bodies or town councils, or by state/territory liquor regulations. One of the reasons they are supported is that restrictions that are ‘external’, and have been formally instituted, help to protect local individuals or groups from blame when they attempt to act for the community good.
- New thinking is needed to minimise the risk to women and children in remote communities where existing alcohol restrictions are lifted suddenly, either by accident or design. Recent developments in the Northern Territory (due to the end of the Stronger Futures Act), reveal a flawed policy process, in which unprepared communities have been precipitously exposed to open alcohol status. There needs to be proper consultation, outreach, and better support from liquor licensing authorities, discussion of options, best practice guidelines issued for new or existing social clubs, and discussion of alternatives to licensed clubs in remote communities, such as the trial roll-out of short-term special occasion licences.
- Recent research supported by WHO has focused on alcohol’s ‘harm to others’ – a welcome re-direction of attention to a broader range of alcohol-related harms than those affecting just the individual drinker. An anthropological perspective on this issue reveals that concern about the effects of alcohol on others (children, grandchildren, family members) has long been a catalyst for Indigenous community action. It has provided the underlying rationale for community-supported bans on packaged alcohol and campaigns against liquor outlets. The fact that this concept dovetails with Indigenous concerns means that it could be leveraged to mobilise even more sustained community activism and become the focus of health promotion and safer drinking campaigns.
- Screening and brief alcohol interventions in primary health care settings can help Indigenous people to reconsider their alcohol use. GPs and other health care providers should continue to be encouraged to use these interventions, not only because there is clinical research supporting their use, but because anthropological research reveals another benefit. The advice from a doctor or other respected professional can be used by a patient trying to control their drinking as a shield against the social pressure to drink – a face-saving excuse.
- Despite a long history of opposing and obstructing the implementation of health warning labels on alcohol containers, the alcohol industry is now appropriating Indigenous designs, imagery, naming and messaging on its labelling as a marketing strategy that appeals to socially conscious customers. This trend demands Indigenous policy attention and debate about whether these marketing strategies constitute respect for ‘culture’ or appropriation of it.
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A remote West Australian town is pleading for an emergency contingent of police officers and paramedics in anticipation of a surge in violence when thousands of local residents are taken off the scrapped cashless debit card by the Albanese government as early as September.
Indigenous and non-Indigenous leaders in Laverton – one of the debit card’s main trial sites in WA’s northern goldfields – have told The Australian the card has ensured children have been fed and clothed, and they fear what will happen when the scheme officially ends.
“We wanted to explain all that to the government before they took the card away because it’s the only thing in 30 years that has made any difference.”
Mr Hill has told the state Labor government that Laverton will need an influx of frontline workers to cope with the return to 100 per cent cash welfare payments.
“We are going to need more of those people; police, paramedics, hospital workers,” he said.
Wongatha elder Janice Scott – who established a residents group in Laverton in 2016 out of concern for the welfare of local children – said the cashless debit card was not perfect but it had made a difference in Laverton.
“The biggest difference was for the kids. Suddenly they had food, they had clothing,” she said. “People used to throw rocks on my roof in the middle of the night saying ‘I’m hungry’ and that stopped. They had food at home.”
(Dalgarno Institute Comments – Some of membership in the N.T. are already expressing real concern, as some indigenous kids are fearful of being picked up by their drunken parents after school, creating a fresh wave of anxiety and distress for these kids. If #childrenand #mentalhealthmatters in the #community then these ‘ideologically’ driven thoughtless measures need a quick an thorough rethink)
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Indigenous Call for a Return of Alcohol Bans
The Northern Territory government’s refusal to maintain Intervention-era grog bans is undermining one of its own best measures for stopping alcohol-fuelled violence, say experts who have urged the government to rethink.
The scheme has been credited with a swift drop in alcohol fuelled and domestic violence in places such as Alice Springs.
Allowing grog bans to lapse in about 400 communities and outstations means people living there can buy booze again.
Donna Ah Chee, head of the health service Central Australian Aboriginal Congress, says her organisation’s clinics have been struggling to cope with more intoxicated patients on top of an already-crippling pandemic burden, since the alcohol rules changed on July 17.
The emergency response (dubbed the Intervention) was opposed by many Indigenous groups that were concerned about discriminatory policy. Ironically, some of those groups are at the forefront of arguing for the Intervention-era grog bans to be reinstated.
A coalition including Aboriginal Medical Alliance Services NT, National Aboriginal Community Controlled Health Organisation and the North Australian Aboriginal Justice Agency wrote to Indigenous Australians Minister Linda Burney on June 9.
In their six-page letter, they argued the provisions were “not …racist or negative discrimination”. “Rather, they are … positive and beneficial special measures in keeping with the High Court’s latest definition,” they wrote.
NT Chief Minister Natasha Fyles insisted in parliament this week that her government’s decision to scrap the grog bans was based on consultation with “hundreds” of communities.
Sources in the Aboriginal community service sector denied this and said they believed the government acted on an incorrect legal interpretation.
Ms Fyles spokeswoman said her government “cannot extend a commonwealth law, nor will we support paternalistic policies which criminalise Aboriginal communities”. The government has not answered requests to provide evidence about its consultation process or to show the changes are not causing harm.
Opposition domestic violence spokesman Steve Edgington said levels of domestic violence were “unacceptably high”, up 42 per cent since 2016.
“The catastrophic increase in domestic violence across the Territory under Labor’s watch has got to stop,” he said. “Unlike Labor, we will always put the rights of victims above those of offenders. The Fyles government has failed Territorians and failed to keep them safe. In Alice Springs last week, police reported 54 cases of domestic violence over a 48-hour period.”
This is our voice: tackle grog and violence
SARAH ISON JESS MALCOLM
Remote Australia’s Aboriginal female MPs have united to demand the nation tackle domestic violence and alcoholism ravaging Indigenous communities, with Labor’s Marion
Scrymgour likening the removal of grog bans to “pulling forces out of Afghanistan”.
…Senator Price and Ms Scrymgour – who are both based in Alice Springs – were united on a tough approach to alcohol fuelled violence affecting Indigenous women in the red centre.
Ms Scrymgour, who was elected to the Northern Territory seat of Lingiari in May, said grog ban measures in place for 14 years since John Howard’s Intervention could not suddenly be
revoked with no plan on how to manage the fallout.
“When a government puts a protective regime of that kind in place, and leaves it in place for that long, you can’t just suddenly pull the pin on it without any protection, sanctuary or plan for the vulnerable women and children whom the original measure was supposed to protect,” she said in her maiden speech to the lower house.
“To do that is more than negligent – at the level of impact on actual lives it is tantamount to causing injury by omission. It’s like pulling your forces out of Afghanistan but leaving your local workers and their dependants in harm’s way on the ground without an escape plan.”
The speech came as the Territory government decided not to extend alcohol bans covering about 400 Aboriginal outstations and communities, prompting concern over a “massive”
increase in rates of violence and abuse fuelled by the abuse of alcohol. Indigenous Affairs Minister Linda Burney is urgently seeking a meeting with Chief Minister Natasha Fyles amid concern over the lifting of the grog bans.
Senator Price began her day with her grandfather’s sister, Tess Napaljarri Ross, who has spent all week with her at parliament, with the pair participating in a traditional ceremony in the grounds of Parliament House before the maiden speech.
As she spoke emotionally of the recent murder-suicide of a young woman and her baby at the hands of the woman’s male partner in Alice Springs last week, Senator Price slammed the end of alcohol bans and said it was one of the most “appalling examples of legislation”.
She also criticised the federal government’s moves to abolish the cashless debit card.
“We see two clear examples this week over failure to listen. The news grog bans will be lifted on dry communities, allowing the scourge of alcoholism and the violence that accompanies it free reign,” she said. “Couple this with the removal of the cashless debit card that allowed countless families on welfare to feed their children rather than seeing their money claimed by kinship demands from alcoholics, substance abusers and gamblers in their own family group.”
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Fewer Indigenous Australians are smoking or drinking at risky levels
- Between 2010 and 2019, the proportion of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people who smoked daily fell from 35% to 25%. Over the same period, the proportion who drank at a risky level on a single occasion at least monthly fell from 46% to 34%, as did the proportion who exceeded the lifetime risk guideline, from 32% to 19%.
- After adjusting for differences in age, between 2010 and 2019, the proportion of Indigenous Australians who smoked daily declined from 34% to 27%; exceeded the single occasion risk guideline at least monthly declined from 39% to 35%; and exceeded the lifetime risk guideline fell from 30% to 20%.
- Rates of illicit drug use remained fairly stable among Indigenous Australians, but rose for non-Indigenous Australians.