“James Packer takes a deep draw of his menthol cigarette and for a few moments stares out the window at the lush polo field…”

- Damon Kitney, “I was terrified”, Weekend Australian Magazine, Oct 21-22 2017.

Among the many misconceptions that smokers have about their habit is that weaker/milder cigarettes are “better”, although there is no evidence for this. Indeed, they can be worse because of increased inhaling to build up nicotine levels. As for mentholated cigarettes - first developed by Lloyd "Spud" Hughes of Mingo Junction, Ohio in 1924 - evidence shows that the cool (or ‘Kool’) ingestion of menthol causes an increased metabolism of nicotine.

Regardless of the scientific evidence about the damage that smoking causes to human health - the practice has a 68% death rate, a statistic that few smokers are aware of - there are many myths about consumption, and even more challenges about quitting.

The Royal Australian College of General Practitioners is seeking feedback on GP’s engagement with Primary Health Networks (PHNs).

A recent survey conducted by the College found that only 10% of members reported a significant presence or involvement with their PHN.

PHNs are the government's primary tool for developing and improving primary care in Australia. As general practitioners play a pivotal role in primary health care coordination, the College is seeking to better understand the GP’s place in the current PHN structure.


It may be a long way from Vancouver, Canada to Casino, northern NSW but if all goes according to plan the “beef capital of Australia” may be set to rename itself the nation’s cannabis capital.

In a statement on 27 September 2017 the listed Canadian company PUF Ventures Inc announced it would enter into a strategic partnership with Richmond Valley Council to construct a 1 million-square-foot (9.3ha) greenhouse operation that could become the southern hemisphere’s largest cannabis operation.

Along with growing some 100,000 kilograms of high quality cannabis a year - not to be confused with the low-THC hemp for fibre - the operation will include large-scale manufacturing, processing and office facilities for producing “medicinal cannabis and associated products”.

The term ‘associated products’ hints of the company’s ambitions beyond the newly emerging world of medicinal cannabis prescribing.

Winning NSW Trauma App team members - Institute of Trauma and Injury Management (ITIM) Manager, Christine Lassen, Lismore Base Hospital Emergency Physician, Yashvi Wimalasena and ITIM Project Manager, Ben Hall with their trophy at the recent Australian National Innovation Awards.

A Trauma App developed by a team including Lismore Base Hospital Emergency Physician Yashvi Wimalasena has won the Public Sector and Government Market Division at the Australian Information Industry Association (AIIA) National iAwards in Melbourne.

The app provides trauma clinicians with real time clinical guidance and information such as flight and drive times to NSW hospitals, hospital blood stores, and specialty capabilities of NSW Health facilities.

The Trauma App contains specialised medical calculators, guidelines, and checklists from NSW trauma hospitals and speciality services as well as pre-hospital and retrieval providers.

The pre-hospital component of the app was the brainchild of Dr Wimalasena and two fellow Retrieval Specialists in the Greater Sydney Area Helicopter Emergency Medical Service (GSA HEMS).

My Health Record

As part of October’s Health Literacy Month, Northern NSW Local Health and North Coast Primary Health Network are holding free community workshops to help people take better care of their health.

Each workshop will be held from 10.00-11.00am followed by a light lunch.

Dates and venues:

  • Casino - Tuesday 17 October, Casino RSM
  • Ballina - Thursday 19 October, Ballina District Hospital Education Centre
  • Grafton-  Wednesday 25 October, Grafton District Services Club
  • Kingscliff - Friday 27 October, Kingscliff Beach Bowls Club
  • Lismore - Tuesday 31 October, Lismore Workers Club