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ASH abuse of public money must end

June 22nd, 2011 Posted in Personal Freedom by

Action on Smoking and Health (ASH) is a campaigning health charity set up in 1971 by the Royal College of Physicians to work towards eliminating the harm caused by tobacco.  This could have been a force for good -  afterall there is nothing intrisically wrong with wishing to reduce the harm caused by tobacco.  It rather depends how you go about it – and that is so often  determined by who is footing the bills.

ASH receives huge amounts of money from the taxpayer  and sadly, like so many publicly funded bodies with too much money and too little scrutiny it has NOT gone about its task well. ASH has now become a fat, over-staffed, political, and single-minded organisation hell bent on eradicating smoking from the face of the earth, by whatever means necessary.  Where it could have worked with the industry to find solutions to the issues, it has set itself up against the manufacturers, the retailers and the consumers. And much of its so-called advice has been at best ineffecitve , and all too often counter-productive , with huge financial and social unintended consequences.

The future of ASH’s government funding must, now,  surely be in doubt.  Here we have an  organisation funded by government, actively lobbying government - often behind closed doors and with alarming success. I say “alarming” becuase it is. Government spending money to lobby itself makes ordinary folks blood boil at the best of times – indeed David Cameron said he would put a stop to it –  but this extraordinary abuse of public money surely can’t continue in the current economic climate.

I don’t say abolish ASH – we live in a free country. But government funding must cease. I came

 Read this letter from Kieran McDonnell, president of the National Federation of Retail Newsagents, to David Cameron :

21 June 2011

Dear Prime Minister,

Formal complaint regarding breach of the Ministerial Code

I write to you in my capacity as President of the National Federation of Retail Newsagents (NFRN), which represents 16,500 newsagent members across the UK, with a complaint regarding the conduct of your Public Health Minister Anne Milton with reference public statements made and circulated on 15th June when Ms Milton attended the All Party Parliamentary Group on Smoking & Health’s 40th anniversary for Action on Smoking & Health (ASH).

At the meeting, Ms Milton credited the Vice Chair of the group (and former Chair of the Health Select Committee) Kevin Barron MP for his help “behind the scenes” when addressing smoking legislation. In addition the Minister also accepted an award and presented an award to the Director of ASH.

This statement and public acceptance and deliverance of awards to an organisation that has been lobbying her department, MPs and other government departments (and indeed is granted government funding on the basis that it not be used for lobbying purposes) has called into question the manner in which recent tobacco display ban legislation has been made; and the ability of the Minister to be considered unbiased on the issue.

I attach a copy of the event report from an independent parliamentary reporting service and would ask that you formally conduct an investigation into the conduct of your minister in the light of her public admission that she had worked with an officer of an ASH funded parliamentary lobby group on recent legislation “behind the scenes”. Moreover, this inappropriate conduct necessitates a review of the legitimacy of the legislation itself.

We have long suspected that ‘behind the scenes’ dealings have been going on in the formation of this legislation in the manner in which it has been pushed through without running the legislation past the Reducing Regulation Committee; without identifying a ‘one out’ for the legislation; and indeed without fulfilling the BRE Guidance to undertake a Small Business Impact Assessment.

In light of these recent statements, I regrettably now see proof of these suspicions which is deeply offensive to our members who have campaigned so hard to see the government fulfil its pre-election commitments to bring the debate back to the House of Commons for a free vote and which the Conservatives and Liberal Democrats publically opposed in opposition.

I look forward to hearing from you in due course.

Yours sincerely,

Kieran McDonnell
President, National Federation of Retail Newsagents

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155 Responses to “ASH abuse of public money must end”

  1. Joe Otten Says:

    I take the point about public money. But why on earth should ASH work with industry? It is after all fundamentally against the industry.


  2. Robin Says:

    Money well spent, in my opinion. Smokers don’t simply damage their own health – they damage my health and that of my one year old daughter. They smoke at bus stops, in town – in public places. It is evil.


  3. Batman Says:

    Robin, Robin, Robin. There’s no such thing as passive smoking, so you’re worrying yourself ill over nothing.

    And smoking is now ‘evil’, is it? Sorry, but it’s no such thing. The demonisation and ever-escalating persecution of people who smoke, however, IS. Something to consider, o self-righteous one.


  4. Neil Says:

    The letter does not go far enough.
    What organisation provides ‘secretarial support’ and advice to the Health Committee?
    What organisation has a trustee who is president of a large polling company that provides so much supporting data paid for by ASH cash?
    What organisation demands that no opposing organisation should be allowed to contribute to discussion of tobacco control?
    What organisation constantly wrongly claims that others are corrupted by tobacco money whilst they and their anti-smoking colleagues enjoy benefit from the very pharmaceuticals who benefit from their promotion of largely ineffective nicotine products?


  5. Robin Says:

    Won’t somebody pleeease think of the cheeeldren!


  6. Neil Says:

    Just to add a little more I’ve lifted a comment from another Blog :-
    “Tobacco Control/anti-smoking advocates HAVE encouraged smoking:-
    - The sale of cigarettes and the demand that packets be sealed in cellophane meant that smokers had to buy a minimum of 5 in a packet. After smoking the first cigarette you were encouraged to smoke the other four and probably had ‘one for the morning’.
    - The removal of 5 packs made it more probable that there would be some left for the morning.
    - The removal of 10 packs has made the situation even worse and we can be sure there’s always a morning cigarette within easy reach! Smokers are unable to restrict their smoking by purchasing smaller quantities of the product!
    - Minimising the price differential between standard, king size and superkings discouraged the purchase of smaller, poor value for money, cigarettes. Gone is the minimal intake of nicotine from a small cigarette – welcome to double or more the nicotine from a superking.
    - ‘Lights’ or brands with less nicotine are ‘discouraged’ and this again removes another form of self-regulation from the smoker.
    - Advertising is banned but the frequent pushing of smoking cessation services ensures smoking is widely publicised so encourages the forbidden fruit and that human trait of revolt against authority and obvious propaganda.
    - NRT is so freely available/pushed that many youngsters use patches to increase the ‘buzz’ they get when smoking.
    - Forcing smokers out of the seclusion of 4 adult walls and into full view of all promotes smoking as a convivial group activity with a high level of obvious camaraderie. Surely commonsense suggests smoking along with other ‘less acceptable’ adult practices should remain within the 4 walls of adult environments that society had over time developed to solve the problem!
    - Many smokers actively discouraged youngsters from smoking but they are now excluded from ‘normal’ society and anti-smoking activity is restricted to selected, paid stakeholders. Why the hell should we put ourselves out to help the arrogant bas**rds!

    All in all, they’ve made a pig’s ear of it and have promoted smoking more than any tobacco company could.
    Expensive state sponsored incompetence on the grandest scale.”


  7. Dave Atherton Says:

    Here is a letter from Action on Smoking and Health from 2001 written by Clive Bates. Strangely Old ASH have now protected it with a username and password. It seems that ASH owning shares in GSK who produce nicotine replacement patches and gum have a serious conflict of interest.

    Chief Executive Officer
    GlaxoSmithKline
    1 New Horizon’s Court
    Great West Road
    BRENTFORD
    Middlesex TW8 9EP

    7th March 2001

    Dear Dr. Garnier

    “ASH has worked closely with both Glaxo and SmithKline Beecham staff and always welcomed the active collaboration. I hope to continue this with the merged company. We have worked with GSK under the auspices of the WHO-Europe Partnership Project on tobacco dependence and at various one-off opportunities. ASH was instrumental in securing greater government commitment to smoking cessation products in the NHS National Plan and we have helped with PR for both Zyban and Niquitin CQ. Our involvement with GSK staff has, I believe, been mutually beneficial, and we have gained from exposure to the company’s arguments and insights….”

    “ASH has a small shareholding in GSK and I will be attending with others to question you and the Chairman on this situation. I hope that Mr. Bonham will have already announced his departure by then and that such questioning proves unnecessary. More than anything, I would like to resume normal and constructive relations with GlaxoSmithKline. For ASH and for many others, the presence of Mr Bonham on the board is unacceptable and a barrier to collaboration.

    Yours sincerely

    Clive Bates”


  8. Dave Atherton Says:

    Link for above.

    http://daveatherton.wordpress.com/2011/04/17/ash-and-its-relationship-with-pharmaceutical-companies/

    This is a bit of a head scratcher. Action on Smoking and Health (ASH) have deposited a number of papers with the pharmaceutical company the Welcome Foundation. The current information seems to be innocuous but what do ASH know that is so sensitive?

    The majority of the material is available subject to the usual conditions of access to Archives and Manuscripts material, after the completion of a Reader’s Undertaking. Section T/4 is only available for consultation or publishing with permission from ASH.SA/ASH/W/2 and SA/ASH/W/3 are closed until 1 January 2078SA/ASH/W/4 is closed until 1 January 2077.Access to SA/ASH/W/1 is restricted until 1 Jan 2077. Readers must apply for access by completing a Restricted Access application form. If the application is approved the papers are available subject to the completion of a Reader’s Undertaking.

    http://archives.wellcome.ac.uk/DServe/dserve.exe?dsqIni=Dserve.ini&dsqApp=Archive&dsqDb=Catalog&dsqCmd=Show.tcl&dsqSearch=(RefNo==’SAASH’)

    http://daveatherton.wordpress.com/2011/04/20/what-have-ash-got-hidden-away-until-20778/


  9. Emen Says:

    The issue is not whether smoking bad or not. Clearly it is and the government has a duty to minimise the harm caused by it. The problem here is the misappropriation of government funding under the terms in which it has been granted and a very public admission from a minister that they have covertly accepted assistance from representatives of a lobby group in the drafting of legislation.


  10. Sheila Says:

    I agree with Robin that smoking and smokers are evil.

    They sit outside pubs when there are young children trying to have fun. They even think that it is o.k. to push out deadly fumes in their own homes when it has been scientifically proved that second hand smoke can travel through walls.
    This is nothing short of murder.
    Thank God for organisations like ASH. They are spending public money to stop the murder of millions of people.
    If smokers were not controlled by help from ASH we would have no generations of children becoming workers to be able to pay for charities like ASH.


  11. Dave Atherton Says:

    @Robin and Sheila

    I am not sure that you are being serious so extreme and neurotic your comments are. I trust you people do not drive cars as the All Parliamentary Group has reported on car pollution. If I am evil you people must be the devil, please read it all and be damned, here is a snippet.

    “air pollution could be contributing to as many as 50,000 deaths per year – as it makes asthma worse and exacerbates heart disease and respiratory illness. Averaged across the whole UK population it is estimated that poor air quality is shortening lives by 7-8 months.”

    “Air pollution on UK streets is contributing to tens of thousands of early deaths each year and the Government is not doing enough to tackle the problem, according to a report published today by the cross-party Environmental Audit Committee.

    Report: Air Quality
    Environmental Audit Committee

    The MPs warn that Britain could face millions of pounds in fines if our cities continue to breach EU air quality targets supposed to protect public health.

    Tim Yeo MP, Chair of the Environmental Audit Committee said:

    “Air pollution probably causes more deaths than passive smoking, traffic accidents or obesity, yet it receives very little attention from Government or the media.”

    “In the worst affected areas this invisible killer could be taking years off the lives of people most at risk, such as those with asthma.

    “The large EU fines we face, if we don’t get to grips with this problem, should now focus Ministers’ minds.

    “Much more needs to be done to save lives and reduce the enormous burden air pollution is placing on the NHS.”

    According to evidence presented to the inquiry, air pollution could be contributing to as many as 50,000 deaths per year – as it makes asthma worse and exacerbates heart disease and respiratory illness. Averaged across the whole UK population it is estimated that poor air quality is shortening lives by 7-8 months. In pollution hotspots it could be cutting the most vulnerable people’s lives short by as much as nine years, the report says.

    Despite these considerable impacts on public health, very little effort is being put into reducing air pollution levels compared with efforts to tackle smoking, alcohol misuse and obesity, the report says.

    Air pollution from road vehicles causes the most damage to health, the MPs conclude. A dramatic shift in transport policy is required if air quality is to be improved, they add.

    http://www.parliament.uk/business/news/2010/03/early-deaths-from-air-pollution-shame-uk-says-report/


  12. Sheila D Says:

    Please do not confuse me with previous troll @ 2.12pm.
    The words scientifically proved studies according to Ash is just their way of saying ; we do not support the evidence you have demonstrated. We will make our own.
    I agree. The public money should end and the whole dodgy organisation should be thoroughly investigated,and dealt with accordingly.


  13. Jonathan Bagley Says:

    Further to Neil’s comment of 12.53pm. By not publishing the wording of a series of polls (which ASH UK refused to divulge to me) on the smoking ban carried out by YouGov for ASH UK, YouGov is in breach of the requirements of the British Polling Council, of which YouGov is a member. Who is named as the YouGov company representative on the BPC? Yes, you’ve guessed right. Peter Kellner, President of YouGov and Trustee of ASH UK.


  14. Sheila Says:

    We must all sell our homes and all our possessions to help fund ASH. It’s the sensible thing to do.


  15. Robin Says:

    I am not the one persecuting here. A little bit of civility is encouraged – personally, I might disagree with you but will defend your right to say it.

    About driving: I am very much in favour of fuel duty continuing to rise, shame the coalition axed the escalator to score some cheap political points with the short-sighted AA crowd. Apart from the health arguments, it makes economic sense to wean ourselves off petrol.

    That said. Passive smoking is actually more harmful than active smoking. I am not “waging a war on smokers”. I am of the opinion that anybody should be allowed to do anything unless it infringes other people’s human rights.

    Personally, if people want to inject themselves with heroin at the bus stop it is up to them, I don’t care, (well, I do feel sorry for them), as long as they don’t attack me or leave the needle lying around. If people want to smoke, again, I don’t care.

    However, if I have to inhale it, and if my one-year old has to inhale it, then yes, I do care. It is a nasty habit. They should do it in their own home.

    If you want to deride my opinion by calling yourself Batman or calling yourself Robin and making silly comments, I don’t care. That is a very grown up way to debate, I am told. Very clever indeed. Well done.


  16. Dave Atherton Says:

    @Robin

    You defy caricature as talking rubbish, “passive smoking is actually more harmful than active smoking.”

    What is your evidence?


  17. Mark Butcher Says:

    @Robin

    I’m sorry, but with the greatest respect, your comment ‘passive smoking is actually more harmful that active smoking’ is clearly utter nonsense. We could debate that there is actually very little evidence that passive smoking is a danger at all – but then to use your own logic, a smoker must also be a passive smoker as he/she is around themselves all the time – so for passive smoking to be more dangerous than active smoking, therefore active smoking must protect against passive smoking.

    My head hurts..


  18. Neil Says:

    Robin – So amazed that smoke when diluted is more dangerous. Could it be that homeopathy is deadly?


  19. Dave Atherton Says:

    @Robin

    Here are some scientific studies done into how much non smokers breathe in. For example the worst figure is 0.009 cigarettes per hour, not even 1% of an active smoker. Explain to me why this is so dangerous.

    I should also add the UK government’s report into passive smoking published in (12) November 2004 the Scientific Committee on Tobacco and Health (SCoTH). Written by Action on Smoking and Health’s (ASH) Trustee Dr. Martin Jarvis on page 8 (SCoTH) numbering he writes:

    The increased risk associated with exposure to SHS is about 25%, a substantial fraction of the risk from active smoking, although uptake of smoke by non-smokers is typically only about 1% of that by active smokers”

    “What I hope to do over the coming weeks is publish as much information on passive smoking that I have in my archives. Firstly what I want to consider is how much does a non smoker inhale from a smoker. The first paper is from 1975 and was published in the New England Journal of Medicine. (1)

    Commuter train 0.004

    Commuter bus 0.005

    Bus waiting room 0.001

    Airline waiting room 0.003

    Restaurant 0.004

    Cocktail lounge 0.009

    Student lounge 0.002

    The last figure is the the equivalent of cigarettes per hour based on the nicotine the machine picked up.”

    http://daveatherton.wordpress.com/2011/04/25/a-critical-review-of-the-evidence-on-passive-smoking/


  20. Dave Atherton Says:

    @Robin

    Here is a list of passive smoking studies and lung cancer. 10% suggest a risk, 5% suggest protection and 85% the null hypothesis.

    “There is also evidence of a dose-response relationship, with risk higher if the husband smokes more cigarettes per day or for a longer period of time. However, there are a number of reasons why this association and dose-response relationship cannot be interpreted as indicating a causal effect of ETS exposure including:

    • the association is weak and is not statistically significant in the great majority of studies: over 80% show no statistically significant association between smoking by the husband and the development of lung cancer;

    • the combined results vary over time, with the association being significantly weaker in the studies published from 1990 than in those published in the 1980s;

    • some of the very largest studies show no association, including four of the five studies involving over 400 lung cancer cases. One of these reported no statistically significant association between lung cancer and any index of ETS exposure, while another even reported a statistically significantly reduced risk of lung cancer for non-smoking women married to smokers;”

    http://daveatherton.wordpress.com/2011/04/22/a-comprehensive-list-of-passive-smoking-and-lung-cancer-studies/


  21. Frank J Says:

    Robin: The above studies are, precisely, why some of us are confused by the legislation and are convinced the original ban – never mind anything since and resultant from it – was obtained by the same sort of ‘behind the scenes’ dealings that are now becoming obvious through the childish triumphalism of the likes of ASH.


  22. Mark Littlewood Says:

    @Joe Otten. The questions hangs on whether you’re interested in harm reduction or on simply attempting (probably as a futile gesture, ultimately) to destroy the tobacco industry. If you want to find ways to move people to less harmful cigarettes (lower tar content, less carcinogens etc), it makes sense to work with the industry. As a general rule, the industry don’t want their customers to die. Successful efforts elsewhere on harm reduction involve a lot of industry engagement (e.g. GAMCARE and the gambling industry)


  23. Dick Puddlecote Says:

    Oh, that’s quote of the day for me. Robin deriding others for ‘silly comments’ then coming out with something as patently ridiculous as passive smoking being worse than primary smoking.

    In that case, there’s no point anyone giving up as they’re going to die anyway. Smoke ‘em if you’ve got ‘em, boys and girls. ;)


  24. chas Says:

    Why is it that neither the Dept of Health nor the ONS have any record of anybody being killed by second hand smoke?


  25. david Says:

    @Robin

    ‘Personally, if people want to inject themselves with heroin at the bus stop it is up to them, I don’t care’.

    What? You’re frightened by a whiff of tobacco smoke yet condone the use of an illegal drug, injected in full view of your son?

    ‘as long as they don’t attack me’.

    That OK then. So long as you’re safe…..


  26. Martin Says:

    Why on earth is this article listed under ‘Personal Freedom’?

    Smoking harms human health, as does secondary smoking. Unless you are some sort of flat-earther who chooses to selectively view only those studies pushed by the tobacco industry and their paid-for lobbyists, the scientific facts are plain to see.

    Poisoning other people irrespective of their wishes makes an absolute travesty of the term ‘personal freedom’. A more appropriate article tag would be ‘Blinkered Self-Interest’.

    Anyway, if an anti-smoking body receives public money in order to reduce consumption of addictive toxic substances that have serious knock-on financial implications on health costs for the nation, then that’s fine by me. Money well spent, in fact.


  27. Martin Says:

    To the right of this article is a list of favoured blogs and websites, including the Cato Institute.

    To anyone who doesn’t know, the Cato Institute are a US-based libertarian body who are classed as ‘national allies’ by tobacco company Philip Morris, and R.J. Reynolds listed them as a body who could help the tobacco industry “shift the debate and framework under which cigarette-related issues are evaluated in the future.”

    R.J. Reynolds were ‘corporate sponsors’ of the Cato Institute in both 2006 and 2008. Hardly surprising that libertarian groups take up pro-tobacco positions when it’s a nice little earner, is it?


  28. Joe Otten Says:

    @Mark Littlewood. It still seems reasonable for one anti-smoking group the view the industry as inherently hostile, having nothing to do with it and oppose it at every turn. Another group might try the positive engagement strategy, although I am not clear how exactly that would move smokers to less harmful products without somehow promoting those products.

    It’s a marketplace of ideas after all. Oh. Er, so lets spend lots more public money on a pro-industry anti-smoking group, or something…


  29. Dick Puddlecote Says:

    “Unless you are some sort of flat-earther who chooses to selectively view only those studies pushed by the tobacco industry and their paid-for lobbyists”

    Unlike selectively viewing only those studies pushed by the pharmaceutical industry and their paid-for lobbyists do you mean, Martin?

    “serious knock-on financial implications on health costs for the nation”

    One-sided equations are great aren’t they?

    Some scared people at ASH these days. ;)


  30. Martin Says:

    I’m not at ASH. And I’m not scared of denialists.


  31. Martin Says:

    @Dick Puddlecoat:

    Unlike selectively viewing only those studies pushed by the pharmaceutical industry and their paid-for lobbyists do you mean, Martin?

    Given that secondary smoking is accepted as scientific fact by every major medical and scientific organisation in the world, that would have to be some massive conspiracy at work.

    Or you clearly have no idea how proper scientific research actually works.

    I wonder which is the right conclusion? Hmmm.


  32. Angela Says:

    @Joe Otten

    I do like markets I confess… But NO I dont think that it IS reasonable for one anti-smoking group to view the industry as inherently hostile, having nothing to do with it and oppose it at every turn. Not when that group is so obviously funded by the Government, on the inside of Government, actively preventing Government from grown up dialogue with the tax paying, employment generating, entirely legal tobacco industry.

    There are innumerable ways that the industry could work with Government and Government paid groups such as ASH if they were given the chance… this covers everything from at one end genetic modification of tobacco through to innovative retailing devices to prevent children from purchasing tobacco products without impinging on the lawful activities of retailers and consumers.

    HM Revenue and Customs have, I believe a very productive and adult relationship with the tobacco industry working to stop the massive and terrifying illicit tobacco smuggling that is swamping this country right now.


  33. Angela Says:

    @Joe Otten

    ps. As I understood it ASH was set up in 1971 as a campaigning health charity to work towards eliminating THE HARM caused by tobacco – not created to work towards eliminating tobacco. If that remains their public aim then working with the industry is surely a pretty sensible thing to do?


  34. Neil Says:

    Angela – set up by —–?
    It seems every one of their ilk (peer reviewers of dubious science) gains some sort of benefit from pharmaceutical companies who ‘sell’ the totally ineffective remedy for something that will (on their evidence) become a crime.

    ASH have failed to reduce smoking because they are unable to work with anyone but their own epidemic of experts. They set themselves apart from those they manage to criminalise and demand solutions worthy of the most challenged, out of control teacher that puts everyone in detention because they are USELESS.
    Adults can make decisions – Those that control ASH want to control the whole of the nicotine supply industry despite their solutions being totally useless.
    Pleasure, happiness, honesty, integrity, contentment, camaraderie, risk -you name it—– are all valuable to fulfilment – without pleasure and fulfilment life is worthless. Let everyone enjoy their lives while they can – we’re a long time dead.


  35. Dick Puddlecote Says:

    “that would have to be some massive conspiracy at work”

    Not really, Martin, no. Just one. The WHO FCTC which prohibits anyone except those who believe in the consensus you speak about having any say.

    It’s another one-sided equation. You know, like the ones you quote above.

    If you really think that your cause is just, and that science should be respected, why silence the opposition while allowing the highly biased pharma industry – and single issue lobbyists like ASH, which is the point of this article – go unchallenged?

    If you truly ‘understand’ science, why do you happily cheerlead the exclusion of one vested interest, while simultaneously applauding the unregulation of the other?

    “you clearly have no idea how proper scientific research actually works”

    I know how it works in normal circumstances, unfortunately those opposed to tobacco have been intent on perverting it for decades.

    Give my regards to the rest of your little office in Shoreditch. ;)


  36. Mr A Says:

    Thank God more attention is paying paid to the likes of ASH. An odious organisation that only last week asked (in all seriousness) “What’s wrong with denormalising smokers?”. An organisation which has infiltrated Government to the point where two thirds of the SCOTH Committee are affiliated with ASH, Anne Milton is affiliated with ASH, they have full-time employees seconded in the Department of Health and they provide “secretarial support” to the supposedly impartial All Parliamentary Committee on Smoking. They do nothing but undermine democracy (how do I vote out these decision-makers from ASH, I wonder) and defy public will (only 0.2% of ASH Scotland’s funding comes from donations willingly given by the public), the rest coming from the Pharmaceutical industry (with whom they have proven financial links and who benefit from their lobbying) and from the State. They knowingly and deliberately distort the scientific method (rubbishing the largest survey into passive smoking – Enstrom & Kabat – by saying it is “bad science” whilst not providing any reasoning as to why they hold this position) whilst promoting rubbish like smoking in cars being 23 times more dangerous to others than smoking in other areas (a figure which didn’t come from a scientific journal but instead from a non-scientific promotional leaflet). They claim that no pubs have closed because of the Smoking Ban when everyone can see boarded up pubs in every street and champion the Pell study that “showed” a 17% drop in heart attacks post-Ban despite its being rubbished by scores of researchers and media outlets including the BBC and The Times, which listed it in its “Top 10 Junk Science Reports of 2007.” They ignore the evidence that shows that 80% of the literature shows no link between passive smoking and ill health (and 10% shows a protective relationship!) and instead pump out misinformation which has resulted in over 100,000 job losses, social division and 15% of our hospitality trade, previously successful tax-paying enterprises, disappearing in 48 months. Finally, as if that was not bad enough, they have failed in their primary aim. Smoking rates are increasing, tobacco sales are up, and every measure they have argued for has had negative consequences, from over-pricing (which has caused massive levels of smuggling which funds terrorism and organised crime), the removal of 10 packs which increased the numbers of cigarettes smoked per day by each smoker, the blocking of research into tobacco products which are proven to be less harmful to health and of course the smoking ban itself, the ill-effects of which have been outlined above. Whilst I find this organisation to be truly repugnant, I see no need for it to be banned. However, as a “charity” it should survive solely on its ability to attract donations from the public. The fact that I am forced to pay for an organisation that deliberately promotes division between smokers and non-smokers and paints smokers as being sub-human (and creates the junk science to support that view), truly sickens me. The “flat earther” argument has been trotted out already… You stick to the demonstrable fairy tales from ASH, I’ll stick to peer-reviewed scientific literature on Pub Med. If only the politicians would do the same….


  37. Mr A Says:

    One final comment – for those who think ASH and their ilk know anything about the scientific method, in only the last week I have seen two anti-smoking studies announce their findings BEFORE they have even conducted their research. Indeed, my primary opposition to the likes of ASH is their distortion of the scientific method and their promulgation of fantasy in order to achieve their aims. If they simply kept their nonsense in their industry comics like “Tobacco Control” then, as an academic myself, I’d almost be happy to let them carry on playing in their little sand-pit. But to see their twaddle repeated unquestioningly by the mass media and trotted out by nasty little authoritarians in Parliament as “evidence” for their latest political power-grab is just too much. Similarly, the fact that the uninformed and neurotic are so easily swayed by their fictions (as seen in some of the comments above) just highlights how dangerous they are and how there must be a thorough investigation into their practices.


  38. Mr A Says:

    Martin, you wouldn’t be Martin Dockrell, Head of Policy at ASH, would you? If so I salute you for posting comments outside of working hours.


  39. Marlene B Says:

    Many “non-profits” have major ties to huge entities. First, the non-profits CREATE a crisis that benefits these huge entities. Like the health advocates. Like big pharma. They are not really concerned with health, they are concerned with profits to be made. Then the state gets their hands in there for the taxes to be raised. Just like the global warming scammers trying to make people believe that skyrocketing taxes in the name of the planets health are acceptable, and the newly CREATED obesity “crisis” demonizing our youth, these non-profits have a global agenda of trying to make people believe that tobacco and the second hand smoke scam is a legitimate reason for skyrocketing taxes on one segment of society that everyone pays at the end due to trickle down economics, leading to banning legal products on privately owned property. Ohio even used election fraud to get it on the ballot. The owners can no longer decide what happens on their own property and lose everything they’ve worked for. Ask bar owners. Tens of thousands of small mom and pop businesses worldwide have closed due to the interferece of these “health advocates”. In truth, these scams land on the heads of incompetent politicians.
    http://www.thefreelibrary.com/Profiting+from+smokers.*-a097737411
    “In the late 1990s more than 40 state attorneys general sued the major tobacco companies for the excessive medical costs imposed on the states by smoking. In November 1998 this litigation was concluded with the companies agreeing to pay approximately $9 billion a year, to be adjusted for inflation, in damages and lawyers’ fees. The deal was incredibly corrupt; had it been made in any other industry it would surely have been declared illegal. And the tobacco companies were not the only bad guys in this story. The trial lawyers, the politicians, and even the public health officials and antismoking advocates who believed that any means were appropriate to achieve their desired ends of massive fees, political victories, and higher cigarette prices were the ones who most abused the system.”
    The master settlement should be dissolved, it is based on fraud!


  40. Dave Atherton Says:

    @Martin

    There are plenty of dissenting scientific voices on passive smoking, e.g. Dr. Jerome Arnett a pulmonologist

    Scientific Evidence Shows Secondhand Smoke Is No Danger

    Environment & Climate News > July 2008

    Written By: Jerome Arnett, Jr., M.D.

    “Propaganda Trumps Science

    The 1992 EPA report is an example of the use of epidemiology to promote belief in an epidemic instead of to investigate one. It has damaged the credibility of EPA and has tainted the fields of epidemiology and public health.

    In addition, influential anti-tobacco activists, including prominent academics, have unethically attacked the research of eminent scientists in order to further their ideological and political agendas.

    The abuse of scientific integrity and the generation of faulty “scientific” outcomes (through the use of pseudoscience) have led to the deception of the American public on a grand scale and to draconian government overregulation and the squandering of public money.

    Millions of dollars have been spent promoting belief in SHS as a killer, and more millions of dollars have been spent by businesses in order to comply with thousands of highly restrictive bans, while personal choice and freedom have been denied to millions of smokers. Finally, and perhaps most tragically, all this has diverted resources away from discovering the true cause(s) of lung cancer in nonsmokers.”

    http://www.heartland.org/policybot/results/23399/Scientific_Evidence_Shows_Secondhand_Smoke_Is_No_Danger.html


  41. Dave Atherton Says:

    @Martin Dr. Gio Gori

    ““The world must protest the ongoing deceit and the squandering of public monies for rigged and incompetent ETS studies. And people should feel offended by the complicity and sham paternalism of health authorities and of profitable tax exempt charities. Such an officially imposed tyranny has no place in countries that claim and presume to be free, enlightened, and just. We are not children, nor bumbling simpletons who need to be deceived for our own good — a deceit that is doubly grating when the wilfully flawed surgeon general’s report on ETS runs against statutory requirements of “ensuring and maximizing the quality, objectivity, utility, and integrity of information (including statistical information) disseminated by a government agency.”

    - Dr Gio Batta Gori, Former Deputy Director of the National Cancer Institute, Division of Cancer Causes and Prevention, Acting Associate Director, Carcinogenesis Program, Director of the Diet, Nutrition and Cancer Program, and Director of the Smoking and Health Program

    From: Stoking the Rigged Terror of Second Hand Smoke, Regulation, Spring 2007.
    http://www.cato.org/pubs/regulation/regv30n1/v30n1-5.pdf


  42. Dave Atherton Says:

    @Martin

    It is even worse than that. Here is a paper written by Professor Carl Philips where legitimate science and dissenters are shouted down and silenced. This is from a scientific and free speech point a view is a disgrace.

    “The two we published, by James E. Enstrom and Michael Siegel, both deal with the issue of environmental tobacco smoke. This commentary adds a third story of attacks on legitimate science by anti-tobacco activists, the author’s own experience. These stories suggest a willingness of influential anti-tobacco activists, including academics, to hurt legitimate scientists and turn epidemiology into junk science in order to further their agendas. The willingness of epidemiologists to embrace such anti-scientific influences bodes ill for the field’s reputation as a legitimate science.”

    “Enstrom cites the reign of terror over biology under Stalin as one example of politics trumping science. Though the Soviet case is rather extreme (we North Americans who dare question the scientific orthodoxy only have our careers threatened; not our lives, at least so far), it is not the most extreme. Many cultures were hobbled for centuries because of religious adherence to pseudoscience, and damage to people’s health was one of the many results.”

    http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC2173898/


  43. Martin Says:

    @Dick Puddlecoat:

    It’s another one-sided equation. You know, like the ones you quote above.

    Oh Dick, Dick, Dick. You really have no idea, do you?

    The Cato Institute aren’t a scientific body – they are a political body, paid to push a particular political opinion by its funders. The US tobacco industry uses groups like The Cato Institute to put a libertarian sheen on the smoking argument BECAUSE the scientific consensus shows that secondary smoke is harmful to human health.

    Resident monomaniac Dave Atherton thinks he’s clever by cherrypicking favourable quotes and works from scientists sympathetic to his agenda, but he purposely ignores all the other work in the field (he does the same on his ‘blog’).
    Dave thinks that the odd contrary opinion makes everything else invalid. It’s like saying a meadow is actually a wood because he’s focused on the single tree growing high above the grassland. He has no idea how science works, either.
    Oh – and look what institution he cites in his post of 7.57am – it’s the Cato Institute!

    Mr A:

    Martin, you wouldn’t be Martin Dockrell, Head of Policy at ASH, would you? If so I salute you for posting comments outside of working hours.

    Congratulations! You’ve outed yourself as a conspiracy theorist – how could anyone who possibly disagrees with your opinion be anyone other than someone working for THEM?

    - -

    Anyway, back to the original point, which I’m obviously going to have to spell out point by point:

    1) Liberalism has always been about personal freedoms that should only extend up to the point before they start to harm others.
    2) The worldwide scientific consensus is that secondary smoking harms others.
    3) Therefore, and until the scientific consensus changes, the promotion of behaviours that promote or encourage secondary smoking are incompatible with liberalism.

    Articles promoting smoking in public places should not be categorised as issues of ‘Personal Freedom’. Doing so makes a mockery of liberalism, and will be ultimately harmful to liberalism. All you fools doing the paid or unpaid work of the tobacco companies should bugger off to a more apt website – is http://www.me-me-me.com available?


  44. Mark Butcher Says:

    @martin

    your 3 points only boil down to one. Is SHS smoke is killer? There is plenty of debate and very little hard evidence. Your phrase ‘the worldwide scientific consensus is that secondary smoking harms others’ is highly questionable.

    Even if it is – its a choice – if smoking were allowed in pubs, no one is forcing anyone to enter, or work there. I wouldn’t join the army and then complain people were shooting at me.

    You are following the time honoured media trick of saying the same thing over and over again and hope it sticks. The SHS lies have resonated, unfortunately, and people have been tricked. However, it is also becoming apparent – even to those who were pro-smoking ban – that the lies from ASH and others that there were loads of people who were not visiting pubs because of the smoke, would return in droves once the smoke had cleared. That has not happened. That is now clear.

    ASH lied and manipulated the evidence before the ban to get what they wanted. With tax-payers money. The cash must be cut now – let ASH survive with voluntary donations.


  45. david Says:

    I’m not aware of too many tobacco related violent crimes. Much of the second hand damage harm caused by alcohol needs no trumped up junk science to justify calls to protect innocent third parties. At what point will true libertarians demand serious restrictions of personal freedoms with regard to alcohol? All alcohol consumption to be legally kept below a certain level, just in case? Never, I suspect. In the same way true libertarians are opposed to mandatory, unnecessary and intrusive smoking bans.

    Why not ask a battered wife or a victim of an unprovoked drunken attack if their human rights have been violated, their health and safety compromised? Or, do we simply accept certain risks are part of everyday life? In any event the risks associated with SHS are virtually immeasurable, even by junk science standards. Not so for alcohol, but most sensible and normal people are prepared to accept the risk of potential harm.

    Fact is, this is not really about passive smoking, but about punishing smokers. Often simply for revenge.


  46. Over70 Says:

    I have read all of the above with interest and in some cases amusement, all the studies for and against trotted out, lets be honest studies can prove whatever the person or organisation wants at the time.
    Lets take real life for a change, I was brought up in the 1940,s and then 75% of the population smoked, every where you went there was smoke including Doctors surgeries and Hospitals, the upstairs of buses was a fog of smoke as were cinemas, yet smokers and non smokers existed in peace with each other, gradually over the next 30years smoking rates declined, and as they did so rates of Asthma, chronic Bronchitus and Cancer have increased especially in the young.
    Yet the generations that lived in a perpetual fog of not only Cigarette smoke but also the thick smogs that at times blanketed our cities from burning fossil fuels on fires, are the longest living Generation on record.
    I think that speaks volumes in itself, and it is a fact, not some number crunching by Epidemiologists or biased pseudo scientific studies done by those with vested interests. But pure honest observed facts from a survivor.
    I say survivor because if the facts trotted out in favour of the lethal effects of Second hand smoke were true, there would be no one alive over 55.


  47. Martin Says:

    @Mark Butcher

    Your phrase ‘the worldwide scientific consensus is that secondary smoking harms others’ is highly questionable.

    You’re wrong. There’s decades of hard evidence; the debate is over. Secondary smoking harms non-smokers.

    Read “United States of America v. Philip Morris et al.: Final Opinion of Judge Gladys Kessler”

    http://www.tobacco.neu.edu/litigation/cases/DOJ/20060817KESSLEROPINIONAMENDED.pdf

    Page 1209 onwards is particularly relevant. Here’s some choice parts for those who don’t want to read the link:

    Defendants Have Publicly Denied What They Internally Acknowledged: that ETS (environmental tobacco smoke) Is Hazardous to Nonsmokers (p1210)

    3305. In response, Defendants crafted and implemented a broad strategy to undermine and distort the evidence indicting passive smoke as a health hazard. Defendants’ initiatives and public statements with respect to passive smoking attempted to deceive the public, distort the scientific record, avoid adverse findings by government agencies, and forestall indoor air restrictions. Defendants’ conduct with respect to passive smoking continues to this day, when currently no Defendant publicly admits that passive exposure to cigarette smoke causes disease or other adverse health effects.

    I quoted the above because this behaviour is still going on – Dave Atherton is still doing it with his cherry-picking and obfuscation. Whether he’s doing it in a paid or unpaid capacity I don’t know.

    See also The Consensus of the Public Health Community Is that ETS Causes Disease in Nonsmokers (p1211)

    There’s pages of references to studies into secondhand smoking. Followed by, of course, more studies and the tobacco industry’s attempts at refuting these studies (based around a single statistical analysis).

    But in summary:

    In short, there is no one “magic evidentiary bullet” that has produced the consensus in the public health community that ETS causes diseases in non-smokers. Rather, over time, many different types of studies have, block by block, built that scientific consensus. (p1214)

    There’s loads of other interesting stuff in this document, such as Philip Morris’ purchase of a German research lab that started to find evidence of adverse health outcomes from secondarty smoking and how they suppressed these studies. (p1240 onwards)

    And there’s the Tobacco Industry’s attempts to discredit studies that do find links between secondary smoking and lung cancer (p1253).

    So tell me Mark – are you merely ignorant, or an out and out denialist?


  48. Robert West Says:

    It is sad to see people writing on behalf of a vastly wealthy industry that manufactures and very heavily promotes a product that ruins the lives of so many millions of people, and attacking an organisation that on a shoestring has done more to save lives of our citizens than any other that I can think of in the past half a century.

    Some of the posts above have all the hallmarks of an orchestrated attack by the tobacco industry which is deeply concerned that the activities of ASH will damage their revenues. That is of course to be expected but let us not be under any illusions as to why they are being made.

    I am a researcher who happens to work in this field and do my best to discover better ways of helping smokers who want to extricate themselves from their addiction. I could easily be researching something else (and indeed have done over the years) but when I talk to smokers who are desperate to stop and others who have stopped but say that it is the hardest thing they have ever done, I am powerfully motivated to continue with this work. The people at ASH, similarly, are motivated by a deep desire to prevent suffering and they are doing a wonderful job.

    For the sake of the millions of people who are caught up with the deadly product sold by the tobacco industry and others who do not smoke but will suffer disease and premature death because those around them do, we need to continue to support ASH – they are very good value for money.


  49. Millitant Says:

    The usual hysterical tripe from assorted right-wing libertarians – easily the most unpleasant political sect in Britain today, if you don’t count actual nazis.

    Dick Puddlecote, whose blog daily proclaims his ignorance of basic medical science, and who screams the most unpleasant abuse at anyone with whom he disagrees – generally everyone with relevant expertise and qualifications in the subject under discussion.

    Or Dave Atherton, whose endless internet scribblings are a long and boring catalogue of logical fallacies and a grotesque celebration of denialism.

    There aren’t very many of them, but they will never shut up and no evidence will ever convince them that they are wrong, because for them ideology trumps fact every time.

    No wonder they hate ASH – because its careful, rational, under-stated style has been so effective in persuading politicians and decision-makers across Government.

    It’s a shame that even a minor and semi-detached sliver of Liberal Democracy is prepared to give this nonsense house room.

    And as for Cameron taking action against the Public Health Minister for congratulating the most effective public health campaigners in the country – fat chance.


  50. Martin Says:

    @david (10:28)

    At what point will true libertarians demand serious restrictions of personal freedoms with regard to alcohol?

    You’re not comparing apples with apples. The vast majority of alcohol drinkers can do so without causing harm to their fellow man. You can be in a room with a person drinking an alcoholic drink and easily avoid consuming what they are drinking.

    The same cannot be said of sharing a room with a smoker – it is extremely difficult to avoid drawing in no poisonous substances to the lungs. The amount may be minute, but a lifetime’s exposure is detrimental to health (as studies have shown).

    The issue here is that no single raindrop ever considers itself responsible for the flood – it’s pure selfishness.

    The support of smoking in public places and the denial of secondary smoking is wholly incompatible with liberalism.

    Proponents of personal freedom versus the State are on much sounder footing when objecting to the compulsory nature of helmets for motorcyclists or seatbelts for drivers. But not this.


  51. Dave Atherton Says:

    @Robert West

    At least you have the integrity to post under your real name and list your competing interests. I presume your are Professor West.

    “I undertake consultancy and research for and receive travel funds and hospitality from manufacturers of smoking cessation medications and have a share of a patent for a novel nicotine delivery device.”

    Professor West, as you know when I write in the British Medical Journal, I sincerely are not funded, remunerated, expensed or receive grace and favour from tobacco companies or proxies. However I have been expensed and paid by Pfizer who make smoking cessation drugs.

    There are millions of smokers and non smokers who object to the whole illiberal agenda the anti smoker lobby has become. The day you stopped me smoking in a pub was the final straw.

    Your one dimensional attack on the tobacco industry is hypocritical when the anti smoker lobby are dependent on pharmaceutical funding directly and indirectly.


  52. Martin Dockrell Says:

    Dear all,
    I don’t generally participate in these discussions but I would like to clarify that “Martin” who posts above is not me.

    It does seem to me that Mr A resembles Dave Atherton in the style, content and length of his posts and I understand Dave has used a range of pseudonyms.

    Anyone interested in my views on denialims and evidence can find them published in the Expert Review on Parmacoeconomics Outcomes Research http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/19371174

    My views on front groups can be found in http://www.ash.org.uk/Tobacconomics2011sum

    I will now leave the way clear for “Dr Dave” and his avitars.


  53. Woolylib Says:

    Same old arguments – nobody yet to say that smoking is actually good for you but in time…
    What I wonder is what this is doing on our liberal forum. Ab excuse for a lot of ranting by people with far too much time on their hands.
    So who are you Angela Harbutt?
    Given your name you may not be a real person (there is a smoking pun in there)but perhaps you are.
    Why are you so against ASH? Hundreds of charities receive government money and then lobby the government?
    Are you an employee of a cigarette firm?
    Do you really believe people don’t die early as a result of smoking?
    Do you really believe our government should remain neutral on this and let people take up a habit that will damage their health?
    Are you a LibDem, if so which constituency and how much work do you do for the party?

    I think you are a real person – surely the tobacco lobby would ensure the spelling in your blog was better but then again this could be a clever double-bluff.

    Will you let us know?


  54. ThomasL Says:

    As a Lib Dem member, I’m a bit shocked by this line of attack against an organisation that does a lot of good work to try and reduce the harm from smoking – which cost the NHS £3.3 billion in 2006-07, which is frankly the big issue if we want to talk about money here.

    Given that British American Tobacco recently admitted to funding the National Federation of Retail Newsagents campaign against the display ban (http://www.guardian.co.uk/business/2011/may/28/british-american-tobacco-funding-ban-campaign), Cameron would be fairly justified in sending Kieran McDonnell’s letter straight to the shredder. And while he’s at it, perhaps he should have a chat with Phil Hammond, who the Telegraph revealed yesterday has received £1,000 of hospitality from Japan Tobacco International.

    We’re supposed to be Government free from tobacco industry influence – we need to be tackling that, not looking to punish health campaigners that are ultimately looking to save the UK a huge amount of money (not to mention a significant number of lives).


  55. chas Says:

    Over70. I fully agree with you. I am also over 70 and have no health problems despite my father smoking over 60 fags per day, smoke being blown into the room from an over fire and riding a bike in the smogs of London in the 1950s. I put it down to having a good immune system which children today lack.


  56. Dave Atherton 10 O levels 2 A levels Says:

    @Martin

    Mr A and myself are quite different people. I generally post under my real name.


  57. Dave Atherton 10 O levels 2 A levels Says:

    Many people base their opinion on the supposed harm of second hand smoke (SHS) from the Scientific Committee on Tobacco and Health (SCOTH) (1).

    The author Professor Martin Jarvis, I have written to with some questions, including information acquired under a Freedom Of Information Request and as of yet not had a reply. I wonder why?

    I would publically like to put these questions to Professor Jarvis. The first question is based on information gleaned from a Freedom Of Information Request on the SCOTH minutes (2) of meetings.

    1. “Most of the studies were not felt to be sufficiently conclusive in their findings.”

    Is Prof Jarvis saying the there is insufficient evidence from the scientific papers?

    2. On SHS and lung cancer SCOTH on page 5 says “In most studies considered individually the observed odds ratios failed to reach statistical significance.”

    SCOTH quotes for LC a relative risk of 1.25 and is in epidemiological terms statistically insignificant. That is, at 1.25 the case for the harm of SHS is scientifically and medically impossile to prove.

    3. There are 30 studies done into ACTIVE smoking. The findings are that cigar smokers and pipe smokers (because they do not inhale) do not run any higher risk of lung cancer, emphysema and an early death. In fact pipe smokers live on average 2 years longer than non smokers. Of the 30 studies done into active smoking the range of daily cigarette smoking which does not effect mortality, raised lung cancer heart disease and emphysema rates range from 0.9 to 6.3 cigarettes a day.

    On page 8, point 14 of SCOTH it states “..although uptake of smoke by non-smokers is typically only about 1% of that by active smokers.”

    1. http://www.dh.gov.uk/ab/SCOTH/index.htm

    2. http://www.dh.gov.uk/prod_consum_dh/groups/dh_digitalassets/@dh/@en/documents/digitalasset/dh_4131879.pdf


  58. Millitant Says:

    By the way, is this “Liberal Vision” and offshoot of “Progressive Vision” (horrible name by the way – sounds like a Stalinist on acid)?

    Because, if I remember rightly, Progressive Vision recently ran a “summit” on tobacco smuggling, which it turned out was funded by the Tobacco Manufacturer’s Association.

    Also Progressive Vision established the right wing group “Progressive Conservative” the executive of which includes the grisly Dave Atherton.

    There aren’t very many of them, as I say, but they don’t half put themselves about.

    Be the way, on the subject of posting under real names, is little Mr Puddlecote really called Puddlecote?


  59. Millitant Says:

    Finally, per Atherton and scientific ignorance, as has been repeatedly pointed out to him on more websites than I care to count, a relative risk of 1.25 is not statistically insignificant in this case because the underlying causation is well established. This is a perfect example of the same tedious libertarian/industry debating points being repeated as nauseam no matter how often they are refuted.


  60. Dave 'grisly' Atherton 10 O levels 2 A levels Says:

    @Millitant


  61. Dave 'grisly' Atherton 10 O levels 2 A levels Says:

    @Millitant

    Sorry mis-click. This is from the “Reference Guide on Epidemiology.” Basically 1.25 does not suggest risk.

    “The relative risk from an epidemiological study can be adapted to this 50% plus standard to yield a probability or likelihood that an agent caused an individual’s disease.

    The threshold for concluding that an agent was more likely the cause of a disease than not is a relative risk greater than 2.0. Recall that a relative risk of 1.0 means that the agent has no effect on the incidence of disease. When the
    relative risk reaches 2.0, the agent is responsible for an equal number of cases of disease as all other background causes. Thus, a relative risk of 2.0 implies a 50%
    likelihood that an exposed individual’s disease was caused by the agent.”

    http://ftp.resource.org/courts.gov/fjc/sciam.6.epide.pdf


  62. Frank J Says:

    Yes, ThomasL, let’s talk money and the £10+ billion that tobacco gives directly to the exchequer every year. And that’s not fairy tale, unprovable assumptions either, such as ‘lost productivity’, ‘working life’, ‘can’ think of a reason for his ingrowing toenail so blame smoking’ and other such spurious and naive guesses that somehow add up to @£2.5 billion. That’s hard cash. Smokers are very much in profit.

    You don’t like it, fine, stop inventing things to justify it.


  63. Dave 'grisly' Atherton 10 O levels 2 A levels Says:

    @Millitant

    Here is a bit more on relative risk.

    “For these reasons most scientists (which includes scientifically inclined epidemiologists) take a fairly rigorous view of RR values. In observational studies, they will not normally accept an RR of less than 3 as significant and never an RR of less than 2. Likewise, for a putative beneficial effect, they never accept an RR of greater than 0.5. Sometimes epidemiologists choose to dismiss such caution as an invention of destructive sceptics, but this is not the case. For example:

    In epidemiologic research, [increases in risk of less than 100 percent] are considered small and are usually difficult to interpret. Such increases may be due to chance, statistical bias, or the effects of confounding factors that are sometimes not evident .[Source: National Cancer Institute, Press Release, October 26, 1994.]

    “As a general rule of thumb, we are looking for a relative risk of 3 or more before accepting a paper for publication.” – Marcia Angell, editor of the New England Journal of Medicine”

    “My basic rule is if the relative risk isn’t at least 3 or 4, forget it.” – Robert Temple, director of drug evaluation at the Food and Drug Administration.

    “An association is generally considered weak if the odds ratio [relative risk] is under 3.0 and particularly when it is under 2.0, as is the case in the relationship of ETS and lung cancer.” – Dr. Kabat, IAQC epidemiologist

    This strict view of RRs may be relaxed somewhat in special circumstances; for example in a fully randomised double blind trial, as opposed to an observational study, which produces a result with a high level of significance.”

    http://www.numberwatch.co.uk/RR.htm


  64. Millitant Says:

    Yawn.

    And still Dave “Progressive Vision” A rattles on.

    “In medicine, small effect sizes (reflected by small relative risk values) are usually considered clinically relevant (if there is great confidence in them) and are frequently used to guide treatment decisions. A relative risk of 1.10 may seem very small, but over a large number of patients will make a noticeable difference. Whether a given treatment is considered a worthy endeavour is dependent on the risks, benefits and costs.”

    That’s the Wikipedia entry on the subject. More complex statistical studies would be wasted on you I am afraid.


  65. Jen Says:

    There is so much nonsense in many of the posts above it’s difficult to know where to begin.
    ASH does a fantastic job. Independent reviews support this – and all the funders regularly inspect ASH and its work and policies, audited against very high standards. ASH is not and has never been anti-smoker. It’s about where people smoke, protecting children from being lured into an addictive habit that kills 50% of users; and helping the 70% of smokers who want to give up to do so.
    I am a public health doctor and I value the information ASH provides and its work in exposing the activities of the tobacco industry.
    The Minister did not get an award. The Minister physically presented ASH with the award it has been given by the World Health Organisation (WHO).
    Only a small proportion of ASH’s money comes from government. They fund ASH because (though a tiny organisation) it is a well-respected source of evidence-based impartial information on tobacco use, its effects, and the effectiveness of a range of public health policies.
    The effects of passive smoking (a 25% increase in health risks) is not from Martin Jarvis (who is a Trustee of ASH because of his expertise) but from work by Law and Wald. There are 4,000 substances in tobacco smoke. Several hundred are carcinogenic (cause cancer). Nicotine is important because it is addictive but nicotine levels in sidestream smoke are low. The levels of pollution from tobacco smoke deopends on what you measure – the tobacco industry suggests measuring substances whose levels are low. Funny, that!
    The reason for not involving the tobacco industry in discussions is because of decades of experience of their obfuscation, providing misinformation or misleading information (such as the passive smoking examples); scaremongering (eg grossly exaggerating the costs to retailers of a display ban or predictions of job losses and closures with smokefree legislation which are shown time and time again to be false); and using front organisations that fail to declare their funding. For example, the NFRN (see letter quoted at the top of this article) was funded by BAT; the lobbyist who contacted MPs opposing the display ban has BAT as a client.
    It is likely that many of the bloggers above are linked in a concrete way with the tobacco industry. Unlike me, they won’t say who they are.


  66. Dave 'grisly' Atherton 10 O levels 2 A levels Says:

    @Millitant

    Perhaps you would like to help me interpret these figures here for me. This are the confidence intervals (CI) and odds ratios for cervical cancer and smoking: OR 2.74 (CI 2.18–3.45.)

    Even I would have a job at trying to trash this. However I can. That is why 1.25 as an OR should be trusted certainly even 2.74 cannot.

    The sole and only cause of cervical cancer is the Human Papilloma Virus (HPV) types 16 and 18, genital warts to you and me.

    “For cigarette smoking there is a strong dose-response relationship. The risk of CIN 3 for women who were HPV positive and smoking 20 or more cigarettes a day was two and a half times that of women who had never smoked. The authors concluded that even though smoking was not a risk factor for HPV…”

    http://info.cancerresearchuk.org/cancerstats/types/cervix/riskfactors/


  67. Millitant Says:

    Dave “Progressive Vision” A:

    Your last post makes no sense. Not that the rest made a lot of sense. Bored now.


  68. Dave 'grisly' Atherton 10 O levels 2 A levels Says:

    The National Federation of Retail Newsagents have refuted ASH’s claims that they were paid by tobacco companies.

    NFRN refutes groundless and unfair comments on its display ban campaign

    “The NFRN gets the vast majority of its income from its 16,500 members who are owners of small independent stores and who each pay a weekly membership fee.

    · Like any trade association, some of our income derives from commercial relationships with suppliers. 20% of our income derives from our 200 plus commercial partners, who include food, drink, lottery, media companies, and contributions from tobacco companies comprise a modest 5%. In the case of tobacco companies we work with them to promote best practice. This includes finding other and better ways to stop young people smoking.

    · Having said that, there is no relationship between the income we earn and our public policy. The latter is within the sole preserve of our members and is exercised through our 200 plus annual conference delegates elected from our district and branch network throughout the country. For example whilst we receive commercial income from newspaper and magazine publishers, this has not prevented us from lobbying for a competition commission inquiry into newspaper distribution.”

    http://www.nfrnonline.com/item/1392/23/5/3


  69. Logic Says:

    Let’s see: “The National Federation of Retail Newsagents have refuted ASH’s claims that they were paid by tobacco companies.”

    and then: “[...] contributions from tobacco companies comprise a modest 5%.”

    So really rather than refuting anything, the NFRN are confirming that they receive money from the tobacco industry…

    This is a very interesting case of cognitive dissonance you are presenting to us here. You actually manage to post in on sitting and with a straight face things that total contradict each other…

    Well done. Very impressive. Such expert levels cerebral gymnastic much be very tiring on the brain, but then you seem to apply the same treatment to most of your argument, so I suppose it’s a case practice making perfect.

    And just to reinforce the point that the NFRN do receive money from the tobacco industry: British American Tobacco admits funding campaign against display banhttp://www.guardian.co.uk/business/2011/may/28/british-american-tobacco-funding-ban-campaign


  70. Logic Says:

    that link again (in clickable version):
    British American Tobacco admits funding campaign against display ban http://www.guardian.co.uk/business/2011/may/28/british-american-tobacco-funding-ban-campaign


  71. Frank J Says:

    The question raised is why the taxpayer should continue to fund an organisation like ASH, describing itself as a ‘charity’ with all the inherent protections that gives such as freedom from FOI, when the general public, of it’s own free will, obviously wouldn’t. Militant does not answer this, in fact makes no points at all, and Jens, quoting verbatim from ASH – 70%, 50%, 4000 substances etc. does not answer it, either.

    If the general public won’t the taxpayer shouldn’t.


  72. Dave 'grisly' Atherton 10 O levels 2 A levels Says:

    Here is ASH telling the “truth” again, Debs Arnott’s grovelling apology to the Allen Carr Organisation.

    “27th November 2007

    Today Action on Smoking and Health (ASH), the public health charity has apologised to Allen Carr’s Easyway Organisation for unfounded comments made by its Director in November 2006.

    In November of last year, Deborah Arnott, Director of ASH claimed that specific success rates quoted by Allen Carr Easyway were “plucked out of the air” and “basically made up.” She made these comments whilst on the BBC Radio 4 “PM” programme during a piece concerning the death of Allen Carr, founder of Allen Carr’s Easyway organisation.

    Deborah Arnott’s comments referred to two independent studies conducted by eminent experts in the field of smoking cessation which had already been published in peer reviewed journals indicating a 53% success rate for Allen Carr’s Easyway to Stop Smoking Clinics after 12 months.

    Following a complaint by Allen Carr’s Easyway International, Deborah Arnott and ASH now acknowledge that it was wrong for Ms Arnott to have made the comments relating to the 53% success rate and have issued an unreserved apology.

    ASH has agreed to pay the legal costs incurred by Allen Carr’s Easyway.”

    ttp://allencarr.com/central/article/133/ash-apologise-to-allen-carrs-easyway.


  73. Dave 'grisly' Atherton 10 O levels 2 A levels Says:

    ASH were extolling how good smoking bans were for business in 2003, the second is the grim reality 6 months in. Is this the kind of “integrity” we expect from ASH?

    “Official – smoking bans are good for business. ASH accuses hospitality industry of “crying wolf”.

    Drink sales have fallen 9.8 per cent since the smoking ban was introduced
    • Food sales have increased 0.6 per cent
    • 75 per cent of smokers are visiting the pub less since the ban
    • 66 per cent are making their visits to the pub shorter
    • 47 per cent of licensees have laid off staff as a result of the ban
    • The ban has been bad for the pub trade according to 74 per cent of licensees

    http://www.thepublican.com/story.asp?sectioncode=7&storycode=61075

    http://www.ash.org.uk/ash_sw6e2rjs.htm


  74. Dave 'grisly' Atherton 10 O levels 2 A levels Says:

    ASH have been recommending varenicline branded as Chantix and Champix stop smoking drugs for over 4 years, despite overwhelming evidence that it leads to depression and over 200 suicides. You are also 18 times likely to be aggressive too.

    “It looks to be an effective and welcome addition to our range of medications to help smokers stop.”

    http://www.ash.org.uk/files/documents/ASH_447.pdf

    What has been the real effect?

    “Hundreds of reports of suicides, psychotic reactions and other serious problems tied to the popular stop-smoking drug Chantix were left out of a crucial government safety review because Pfizer Inc., the drug’s manufacturer, submitted years of data through “improper channels.”

    “Some 150 suicides — more than doubling those previously known — were among 589 delayed reports of severe issues turned up in a new analysis by the non-profit Institute for Safe Medication Practices.”

    “We’ve had a major breakdown in safety surveillance,” said Thomas J. Moore, the ISMP senior scientist who analyzed the data. The serious problems — including reports of completed suicides, suicide attempts, aggression and hostility and depression — had been mixed among some 26,000 records of non-serious side effects such as nausea and rashes, with some dating back to 2006, the year Chantix, or varenicline, was approved.

    They echo previous claims that the drug can induce extreme reactions in people trying to quit cigarettes, including vivid nightmares, crippling depression and sudden, violent outbursts.”

    http://www.msnbc.msn.com/id/43187290/ns/health-health_care/t/smoking-pill-suicides-overlooked-missing-reports/

    http://www.ash.org.uk/files/documents/ASH_447.pdf


  75. Linda Bauld Says:

    ASH receives funding from Cancer Research UK and the British Heart Foundation along with the Department of Health. These charities work to reduce deaths from cancer and heart disease and the reason they fund ASH is because smoking causes around one in four cancer deaths and one in five deaths from heart disease in the UK. These charities know that ASH works effectively to make the case for tobacco control measures that will reduce smoking rates, that’s why they fund ASH. Many of the measures we have in place in the UK to prevent children from starting smoking and to help smokers who want to quit to stop would not have occured without ASH serving as a key source of information, advice and coordination (in bringing a wide range of organisations together to make the case for these measures) on tobacco control. This is, therefore, a small organisation working to reduce death and disease from smoking, not demonise smokers or restrict liberties, as the tobacco industry and its representatives (who have contributed the majority of the posts above) would have us believe.


  76. Neil Says:

    Jen wrote – “It is likely that many of the bloggers above are linked in a concrete way with the tobacco industry. Unlike me, they won’t say who they are.”
    I’m Neil – like the ‘likely’ – it reminds me of the ‘mights, coulds and maybes’ we hear from the anti-smoking establishment.
    You may criticise the tobacco industry but to justify their exclusion from objective discussion is incredible.
    Who funds Tobacco Control departments in our universities? Who funds their headline grabbing studies that bear no relationship to nationally published data. (We still hear about the miracle 17% drop in Scottish admissions after the ban!)
    Who benefits from supplying nicotine therapies that not only fail to deliver the goods but cause so many to despair after repeated broken dreams.
    Who has a seriously poor record for bribing and cajoling the medical profession into using their products?
    The Pharmaceutical Companies are probably hardly innocent of decades of obfuscation, providing misinformation or misleading information, scaremongering and gross exaggeration. They’ve certainly provided more than enough of the reinforced concrete for ASH et al to create the whole Tobacco Control Empire and the epidemic of Cessation Experts/sales people prescribing their products.
    I know of no one who encourages smoking BUT I do know that there are far more successful ways of encouraging changed behaviour than promoted by ASH. Their techniques are more akin to the tantrums of an incompetent schoolteacher incapable of controlling the class.

    Government MUST show itself capable of the broadest of consultations when working on behalf of all their electorate – this has not happened in the case of smoking legislation where those affected by proposed legislation are excluded from lists of acceptable stakeholders but funded organisations and state employees, all involved in Tobacco Control, are invited to contribute and engage in acceptable large scale lobbying.
    Oh, BTW. as a public health doctor you may be interested in the case of a friend who suffered from PAD and was immediately told he should give up smoking. What the doctor failed to realise was that he had never smoked. Too much reliance on blinkered information when there’s a wealth of additional evidence available.


  77. Dave 'grisly' Atherton 10 O levels 2 A levels Says:

    @Linda Bauld

    You can hear it from the horses mouth, Deborah Arnott 31st May 2011 in an interview with your truly on CNN.

    “What’s wrong with denormalising smokers?”

    http://dickpuddlecote.blogspot.com/2011/06/ash-televised-quote-of-day.html

    http://edition.cnn.com/video/#/video/world/2011/05/31/ctw.smoking.ban.debate.cnn?iref=allsearch


  78. Frank J Says:

    Linda, if you wish you could continue to support them of your own free will. I, who question their aims and, certainly, their methods, would not choose to do so. Neither did the public prior to Govt. funding which last year was over a quarter of a million pounds from taxpayer funds. Why should I then be forced to support an organisation who along with cherry picking and perverting surveys, ignoring as ‘bad science’ anything that shows results counter to it’s aims and insists that my opinions, as a smoker, be ignored and discounted as a supporter of tobacco manufacturers? No way!


  79. Dave 'grisly' Atherton 10 O levels 2 A levels Says:

    @Linda Bauld you said.

    “….small organisation working to reduce death and disease from smoking, not demonise smokers or restrict liberties..”

    So smoking bans in pubs and cars is libertarian?

    ALSO LINDA CAN I HAVE A STATEMENT FROM YOURSELF THAT I AM NOT TOBACCO FUNDED.


  80. Over70 Says:

    Everyone on here is Quoting another’s material and statistics, but guys get real and look at REALITY. Is SHS lethal? if it was think how much we could save in armaments, just drop 20 lit Rothmans on Gaddafi or the Taliban job done.
    Have you ever seen anyone drop dead after inhaling a whiff of SHS if you want a clue the answer is no and you never will.
    Now why did no one answer the question I posed earlier at 10.45.

    Why is there any one alive over the age of 55 after being exposed to the highest level of SHS in the last 50 years?.

    Why are asthma, respiratory complaints on the increase despite smoking rates dropping from 75% to 22% in the last 50 years?.

    Why indeed do we need pseudo charities like ASH, when all they do is foster a climate of fear where non exists and create hatred against a minority?.

    I am a lifelong non smoker, but have seen first hand the damage all the rhetoric has caused, Local pubs, working mens clubs and bingo halls closed for ever through lack of custom, all the smokers left, and the influx of non smokers never materialised as ASH and the like said they would.


  81. Niki Says:

    This debate is not about the rights or wrongs of smoking – of which our members are not concerned about.

    This is about a public admission by a responsible minister that they have had improper and “behind the scenes” dealings with an official of a parliamentary anti-tobacco lobby group in the writing of legislation which affects our members – which is a vioaltion of the terms of ASH’s funding according to the Minister’s own statement: “None of this funding was, or could be used, for lobbying purposes”.

    It is ironic then that the charge of improper funding has been levelled at the NFRN. Indeed we have debunked the queries levelled at us by the Chair of their parliamentary lobby group, the APPG on Smoking & Health, funded and with a secretariat function provided to it by ASH (in violation of the terms upon which its government funding is granted) and I copy here the very reasonable response that Mr Williams received from us.

    Mr Stephen Williams MP
    House of Commons
    London
    SW1A 0AA

    11th March 2011

    Dear Mr Williams

    Funding of Campaign against Tobacco Regulation

    Thank you for your letter of 17th February 2011.

    The NFRN has indeed sought to make an active contribution to the debate on banning the open display of tobacco products at the point of sale because it has serious implications for the many thousands of independent retailer members we represent. We are very concerned about operational considerations which include a significant cost burden and, we believe, increased exposure to the threat of retail crime which is already a major problem to our members. The regulations will disproportionately impact small retailers and put them at a competitive disadvantage. We have always argued that there is no evidence that the Retail Display Ban will achieve its stated aims and believe the balance of evidence strongly suggests that the measure would not reduce smoking and could even be counterproductive.

    It is for these reasons that we have been so actively engaged in campaigning on this matter. We act solely in the interests of our members (who ultimately own and control the organisation) and would never lend or sell our name or resources to any third party which I think and hope you acknowledge in your letter. If it were otherwise, I can assure you our members would soon make their feelings felt.

    Let me now address your specific questions:

    Our income, and therefore the funds we have available for our activities, comes primarily from our members who each pay an annual membership fee of £260. We also receive an income from various commercial activities undertaken for the benefit of members, this includes our subsidiary companies, NFRN Commercial Ltd and Newtrade Publishing Ltd. We are involved in a wide range of commercial undertakings from straightforward trading relationships, through to schemes to provide practical help to our members in developing their businesses. We also run a number of events like our annual awards scheme, the NFRN Awards, CTN World, our national trade exhibition and the Independent Achievers Academy, which promotes retail best practice. All these schemes are run on a commercial basis and do attract income but I would stress that any income that is generated is spent specifically on these activities and not used to fund any other.

    We have over 200 relationships with a wide variety of supplier companies such as Mars Confectionery, Payzone, Camelot, Frontline, Diageo, Booker, Barclaycard, Smiths News, Menzies Ditribution, Warburtons, Walls Ice Cream, Nescafe and Cadbury. Tobacco companies are also included in this list as you would expect, given that they supply products that account for approaching 30% of sales in our member’s shops. It would be improper to disclose specific details of our income from suppliers but I am happy to inform you that tobacco companies account for only a very small proportion of our total income (less than 5%). I would also add that our relationships with tobacco companies precede the display ban debate by many years and the commercial value of these relationships has not significantly changed since those debates started.

    You also asked about the Tobacco Manufacturers Association (TMA). While we do engage with both the TMA and Tobacco Retailers Alliance (which is a TMA funded body) on issues of mutual interest such as tobacco regulation (to the extent that it affects retailers), tobacco smuggling and campaigns such as No ID No Sale, we do not have any significant commercial relationship with either of these organisations.

    In the spirit of openness with which I am trying to address your questions there is one area in which the NFRN does receive support from the tobacco manufacturers. We, along with individual retailers and tobacco companies, have taken part in a judicial review as an expert witness and at the judges ruling our costs have been met by the claimants.

    Finally, I do want to make it absolutely clear to you that no supplier, in fact no one who is not a retailer and a member of the NFRN, exercises any authority over our decisions and actions. That is within the sole preserve of our members and is exercised through our Annual Conference and National Council by members elected from our branch network around the country. We are an organisation that is run by members for members and no incomes received from suppliers confer any degree of control over our positions or activities.

    I hope that this provides the information you require and gives you a good insight into the way our organisation works, however, if there are any matters you would like to discuss further I would be only too happy to meet with you.

    I am sorry that there has been a delay in responding to your letter but I must say that I was disappointed to see that you considered it appropriate to circulate the recent Observer article to colleagues before establishing the facts. The article was based on nothing more than misinformation and speculation and as you will now see is wholly unfounded. I hope I can rely on you to share this information with your colleagues with the same alacrity.

    Yours sincerely,

    Graeme Collins
    Head of Marketing & Business Development

    Mr Stephen Williams MP
    House of Commons
    London
    SW1A 0AA

    11th March 2011

    Dear Mr Williams

    Funding of Campaign against Tobacco Regulation

    Thank you for your letter of 17th February 2011.

    The NFRN has indeed sought to make an active contribution to the debate on banning the open display of tobacco products at the point of sale because it has serious implications for the many thousands of independent retailer members we represent. We are very concerned about operational considerations which include a significant cost burden and, we believe, increased exposure to the threat of retail crime which is already a major problem to our members. The regulations will disproportionately impact small retailers and put them at a competitive disadvantage. We have always argued that there is no evidence that the Retail Display Ban will achieve its stated aims and believe the balance of evidence strongly suggests that the measure would not reduce smoking and could even be counterproductive.

    It is for these reasons that we have been so actively engaged in campaigning on this matter. We act solely in the interests of our members (who ultimately own and control the organisation) and would never lend or sell our name or resources to any third party which I think and hope you acknowledge in your letter. If it were otherwise, I can assure you our members would soon make their feelings felt.

    Let me now address your specific questions:

    Our income, and therefore the funds we have available for our activities, comes primarily from our members who each pay an annual membership fee of £260. We also receive an income from various commercial activities undertaken for the benefit of members, this includes our subsidiary companies, NFRN Commercial Ltd and Newtrade Publishing Ltd. We are involved in a wide range of commercial undertakings from straightforward trading relationships, through to schemes to provide practical help to our members in developing their businesses. We also run a number of events like our annual awards scheme, the NFRN Awards, CTN World, our national trade exhibition and the Independent Achievers Academy, which promotes retail best practice. All these schemes are run on a commercial basis and do attract income but I would stress that any income that is generated is spent specifically on these activities and not used to fund any other.

    We have over 200 relationships with a wide variety of supplier companies such as Mars Confectionery, Payzone, Camelot, Frontline, Diageo, Booker, Barclaycard, Smiths News, Menzies Ditribution, Warburtons, Walls Ice Cream, Nescafe and Cadbury. Tobacco companies are also included in this list as you would expect, given that they supply products that account for approaching 30% of sales in our member’s shops. It would be improper to disclose specific details of our income from suppliers but I am happy to inform you that tobacco companies account for only a very small proportion of our total income (less than 5%). I would also add that our relationships with tobacco companies precede the display ban debate by many years and the commercial value of these relationships has not significantly changed since those debates started.

    You also asked about the Tobacco Manufacturers Association (TMA). While we do engage with both the TMA and Tobacco Retailers Alliance (which is a TMA funded body) on issues of mutual interest such as tobacco regulation (to the extent that it affects retailers), tobacco smuggling and campaigns such as No ID No Sale, we do not have any significant commercial relationship with either of these organisations.

    In the spirit of openness with which I am trying to address your questions there is one area in which the NFRN does receive support from the tobacco manufacturers. We, along with individual retailers and tobacco companies, have taken part in a judicial review as an expert witness and at the judges ruling our costs have been met by the claimants.

    Finally, I do want to make it absolutely clear to you that no supplier, in fact no one who is not a retailer and a member of the NFRN, exercises any authority over our decisions and actions. That is within the sole preserve of our members and is exercised through our Annual Conference and National Council by members elected from our branch network around the country. We are an organisation that is run by members for members and no incomes received from suppliers confer any degree of control over our positions or activities.

    I hope that this provides the information you require and gives you a good insight into the way our organisation works, however, if there are any matters you would like to discuss further I would be only too happy to meet with you.

    I am sorry that there has been a delay in responding to your letter but I must say that I was disappointed to see that you considered it appropriate to circulate the recent Observer article to colleagues before establishing the facts. The article was based on nothing more than misinformation and speculation and as you will now see is wholly unfounded. I hope I can rely on you to share this information with your colleagues with the same alacrity.

    Yours sincerely,

    Graeme Collins
    Head of Marketing & Business Development


  82. Neil Says:

    Linda – Could you confirm that you are independent of funding from Government Departments such as the Dept of Work & Pensions and the Department of Health or NIHR HTA or NHS Southwest or Roy Castle Lung Cancer Foundation or Cancer Research UK or NICE?
    Could your findings be tainted by the monies you receive?
    I am not funded by Tobacco Companies BUT I do fund Government.


  83. Dave 'grisly' Atherton 10 O levels 2 A levels Says:

    @Neil

    Linda Bauld is a taxpayer funded junkie. E.g.

    “Bauld, L, Hay, G and Templeton, L. Alcohol misuse and benefit uptake Funder: Department of Work and Pensions
    Duration: June 2009-March 2010

    Bauld, L and Coleman, T. The Effectiveness of smoking cessation interventions during pregnancy Funder: National Institute for Health and Clinical Excellence
    Duration: June -October 2009

    Bauld, L, Templeton, L and Brandling, J. School-based interventions to prevent the uptake of smoking in children and young people: a systematic review
    Funder: National Institute for Health and Clinical Excellence
    Duration: November 2008-April 2009

    http://www.bath.ac.uk/soc-pol/people/lbauld.html


  84. Linda Bauld Says:

    @Neil
    I am a social policy academic, as you know, and much of our research is government funded or funded by charities, or indeed funded by government through the research councils. The university receives these funds, not the academics. This is how university research funding works across the country and indeed in other countries. My points about ASH were about the contribution a small organisation has made to trying to reduce smoking rates and the consequences of smoking, including smoking-related disease.


  85. Neil Says:

    Linda – and my point is that most ASH tactics are counter-productive and destructive. People respond to encouragement not exaggeration and segregation.
    As Over70 explains there is a real world far distant to the academic one. We live in it and apply our learning to ‘real world’ tasks; our peer reviewers are the public not our colleagues.


  86. Logic Says:

    counter-productive? with a reduction of smoking rates from over 50% to just around 20%? how do you square that one?


  87. Neil Says:

    Logic!!!!!
    The 50% rate was well before ASH was ‘created’.
    Since many ASH demands have been put into law the decline has faltered if not reversed. A quick look at Ireland shows a 25% RISE since their ban as well as increased smuggling and counterfeit, possibly more dangerous tobacco products.

    The major reductions were through gradual social change not state imposed legislation.


  88. Dave 'grisly' Atherton 10 O levels 2 A levels Says:

    @Logic

    Smoking rates were at their peak in 1948 when 52% of adults smoked. From 2007 when the smoking ban came in is the first time in that smoking rates have remained constant at 22% of the population.

    Provenance Andrew Lansley Minster for Health.

    “Even smoking rates have not changed. Parliament approved a smoking ban in public places, but in the most recent years, there has been persistent prevalence of smoking. It has not gone down in the past year.”

    Hansard:

    http://www.theyworkforyou.com/debates/?id=2010-11-30b.669.0#g669.1


  89. Martin Says:

    @David Atherton

    I’ve done some research of my own, and it turns out that you’re not even a Liberal!

    You’re a ‘lifelong Conservative voter and activist’, and the extent of your scientific knowledge is getting 12.5% commission on every IT monkey you place at some unsuspecting firm.

    I guess that means I won’t be bumping into you at the Liberal Democrat Autumn Conference, doesn’t it?


  90. Angela Harbutt Says:

    Dear all

    First I must thank you all for providing me with such enjoyment…. such a small post – such a lot of noise….Truly fascinating that a small lib dem blog should attract the mighty ASH to comment. I am honoured. My sincere thanks to all.

    Woollylib – you ask some questions…

    So who are you Angela Harbutt?
    I am not a philosopher so I dont have a deep answer – but I am pretty sure I am me.

    Given your name you may not be a real person (there is a smoking pun in there)but perhaps you are?

    1. A tad cheap to knock my namesurely??? My maiden name is HARBUTT ….my fathers parentage is German – with a rather tragic story as to why they had to flee Germany…so jibes about my family name are in rather bad taste actually…. but yes I am a real person.

    Why are you so against ASH? Hundreds of charities receive government money and then lobby the government?

    Please read my blog

    Are you an employee of a cigarette firm?
    I don’t believe that is important.. I write on many issues – the Lib Dems, personal freedom, civil liberties and so on… My motivation is the belief that adults can make decisions for themselves and generally do it it a lot better than the state. Never before in the history of mankind has there been more information available to so many. I intend to fight for as long as I am able to stop the oh so clever political classes telling the great unwashed how to behave.

    Do you really believe people don’t die early as a result of smoking?
    I know people die “early” of many things. My father died “early” of lung cancer aged 78. My aunt died “early” of alzheimers aged 78. My dad got lucky in comparison. And he would have hated hanging around in an old peoles home or cared for at home unable to get out onto the land that he loved.. and -as he said himself – probably saved everyone a hell of a lot of money in both pension and care costs. He was happy when he went – I am grateful for that. I think we are all a little too obsessed with length of life -rather than quality of of life.

    Do you really believe our government should remain neutral on this and let people take up a habit that will damage their health?
    Yes

    Are you a LibDem, if so which constituency and how much work do you do for the party?
    I am Battersea – previously Fulham and Hammersmith and others before that. I have done my bit over the the years – handed out leaflets, put up posters, looked after candidates at elections, helped the reformulation of Cowley street press office, worked for a previous lib dem leader, organised hustings etc etc.

    I think you are a real person – surely the tobacco lobby would ensure the spelling in your blog was better but then again this could be a clever double-bluff.

    Ah what can I say -I went to a comprehensive school and a red brick university…….but thanks for reading it (spellcheck ain’t all its cracked up to be eh? )

    Will you let us know?
    I hope that I have…..


  91. Mark Littlewood Says:

    I think all the science around passive smoking is a red herring, really.

    I’m NOT an expert on the science, but it seems pretty clear that the harm caused by second hand tobacco smoke is either fairly small, very small, tiny or non-existent.

    I’m quite happy to accept – for the sake of argument – that it is NOT non-existent.

    But it is surely enormously less than other environmental risks we readily accept as reasonable (I don’t drive a car, but motorists zoom up and down my road every hour of every day pumping crap into the air supply that clearly dwarves any mildly irriating smell emitting from my 20 Marlboro a day habit).

    The two things that irritate me about tobacco control are:

    1. The controls are totally disporoprtionate and increasing endlessly. To prohibit 100% of licensed premises in the Uk from allowing tobacco smoking inside is way OTT. I mean, maybe, as a compromise, we could say that you have to pay all the bar staff in a smoking pub an additional premium of £5K a year to pay for private health care or that a licensed premise that allows tobacco needs a £50K a year license which will go straight to the NHS. To be clear, I think both of these policies are too paternalistic. But it would at least show that the tobacco controllers were willing to compromise. To show some degree of basic tolerance. But there’s a problem of giving an inch and a mile being taken. And then another mile. The controllers need to have an end game that is fair and acceptable. If ASH said “ok, its banned from pubs, it can’t be advertised on TV, we have a programme to educate kids in schools….that will do”…then maybe, just maybe, fair enough. But no. Let’s ban it in parks. Let’s scrap any branding on the packets. Let’s ban it in private cars. Let’s prohibit tobacco companies from lobbying government. It just goes on. And on. And on.

    2. It should all be treated as a property rights issue, anyway. If you are invited to my house and accept the invite, please be aware that I allow (indeed, encourage) the smoking of tobacco on my property. If this offends you because it’s a bit smelly or you think that you are scientifically being exposed to the equivalent of weapons grade plutonimum, please feel free to decline the invite to come to my house. Same thing goes if – instead of owning a house – I own a pub called the Red Lion. Or a restaurant. Or a hotel. Or a shop. You can decide for yourself how unpleasant or dangerous passive smoking is. If you are persuaded of the science put forward by ASH, you will no doubt avoid my house/hotel/restaurant/shop like the plague. If you believe that the risk is tiny – or, for some bizarre reason of your own – you think that second hand smoke is actually good for your health, or helps you get closer to God or brings about instant enlightenment about all human knowledge, you will probably be happy to come to my premises. The point is that the case is never closed. The argument is never over. Personally, I find it utterly bizarre that people believe in God. Or that Jesus Christ is their saviour. Or that Mary gave birth to him as a virgin. It seems to be that the scientific evidence against this is overwhelming. I might – if I was a dictatorial type – insist the “case was closed” and “the argument was over”. But I’m not going to ban the Catholic church or prohibit Christianity. Because I’m a liberal. Each to their own. However idiosyncratic, irrational or incomprehensible your beliefs and views, you are entitled to hold them. And practice them.


  92. Dick Puddlecote Says:


  93. Joanne Says:

    Don’t you just love these righteous tax payer funded ‘academics’ ?

    I didn’t want to fund Linda Bauld through her ‘academic’ studies and I certainly object to the likes of her being paid out of my taxes to produce ‘reviews’ that must cost nothing to present and yet cost the taxpayer millions.

    Her friends in ASH are pariahs of the worst kind. It is one big anti smoking industry paid for by the unwilling taxpayer.

    It is obscene that these health nazis are being funded by the public purse to dictate policies that the majority of taxpayers disagree with.

    Nice work if you can get it.


  94. Angela Harbutt Says:

    @ Linda Bauld

    You wrote….
    “….as the tobacco industry and its representatives (who have contributed the majority of the posts above) would have us believe”

    At Liberal Vision we do not vet our contributors – and NEVER investigate their details. On this occassion I have. I have checked the email addresses and IP addresses of all contributors to this string of comments.

    Through the wondrous (and previously mysterious) “backend” of this website I am able to confirm that the vast majority of contributors on this string have posted on issues on this site in the past… on Lib Dem matters, civil liberties, personal freedom and a vast number of other issues. I estimate from the data available that of those generally supportive of my post I have met, spoken to, or emailed. 75%. None of them work for any tobacco company nor can be considered “a representative” of tobacco in the normal understanding of the term.

    I am therefore confident that your assertion that the majority of the contributions made here are from “the tobacco industry and its representatives ” is wildly off the mark.

    Of course we do not wish to discourage the tobacco industry or indeed its representatives from commenting… any more than we would wish to discourage government agents, employees of ASH or those working for academic institutions. We seek to encourage, not stifle, debate.

    Please do not feel the need to apologise. I understand the statement was probably made in the heat of the moment.

    To everyone else. I would like to assure everyone who ever comments on any LV matter that their emails and IP addresses are not used – or indeed even looked at – ever ! Your information is your information… not ours. This was an exceptional action taken to seek to answer a particular assertion. I shall now forget that I know how to do it – to be honest I am not sure even now how I did it. Please accept my thanks and my apologies for delving.


  95. Mark Wadsworth Says:

    I’m here via Dick Puddlecote’s blog.

    Angela, your reply at 9.34 is awesome, played it with the straightest of straight bats.

    The only thing about the original post which puzzles me is the bit before the excerpt where you write:

    “But government funding must cease. I came”

    You came what, exactly?


  96. Martin Says:

    @Puddlecoat

    So that’s why you slunk off with your tail between your legs – you were beavering away on your fantastical blog posting to an audience of millions!

    Well, I say ‘millions’, but judging from your site I suspect I’ve sent this month’s hit rate stats into a double-digit improvement from last month’s.

    Anyway, I feel genuinely sorry for you that you can only view your personal hobbyhorse in terms of established pro- and anti- groups. I’m sorry to upset your applecart by being a person who is outside of this particular conflict, but I’m a Liberal who believes that personal freedom extends only up to the point where going any further is to the detriment of others. Which is why I was reading and posting on a Liberal politics website.

    As for the accusation of my ‘satirical ignorance of irony’, I’ve encountered Dave Atherton before on the site when he was bleating on and on about pubs closing. You can have a look if you don’t believe me. Even then, it’s quite clear he is a lobbyist of sorts, even if he happens to be unpaid, and given that he isn’t even a Liberal there is absolutely no contradiction in mocking your ‘contribution’ and then suggesting that people like Dave take their personal obsessions elsewhere.

    love & hugs,

    Martin (the one without the published surname who you’ve taken umbrage to)

    P.S. Wonder if you’ve got the balls to publish this unedited?


  97. Martin Says:

    @Puddleduck

    Ah! There’s no pre-moderation on your blog, so we’ll never know if you possess adequate testicles or not.


  98. Ouija Says:

    I’m bemused by some comments here, if you think you have any right to set out to find the potential dangers of other peoples long-term actions where does it stop?

    I want to regulate and tax masturbation as it’s clearly not good for you and the government clearly has a duty to moderate the harm done by it…blah…blah…blah.

    These creepy people are far more dangerous than a humble ciggy – just look at history – which it seems we are doomed to repeat.

    They are the type of people who say things like “Hitler had the right idea”; And yes Hitler was ban-it brigade nutter just like you lot who tried to stop folk smoking in their own cars out of his ‘concern’ for them. Then he gassed the Jews and started WW2 at the cost of 50 million lives – ‘cos he just cared so much – like you lot.

    Get a life and mind your own creepy beeswax.


  99. Neil Says:

    Martin Says:

    June 23rd, 2011 at 11:20 pm
    @Puddleduck
    Ah! There’s no pre-moderation on your blog, so we’ll never know if you possess adequate testicles or not.

    ……Your concern for Dick’s adequacy is admirable – shame you are so liberal as to care little for his freedoms.

    ANGELA – Thank you – a breath of fresh air after so much smokaphobic Tobacco Control paranoia.


  100. Martin Says:

    @Ouija

    I’m bemused by some comments here, if you think you have any right to set out to find the potential dangers of other peoples long-term actions where does it stop?

    Rather than being bemused, perhaps you should pay attention to the limits on personal freedom as defined by liberalism.

    Oh, and congratulations on invoking Godwin’s Law. Any point you may have been trying to make is now invalidated, according to the official law of the Internet.

    Bye bye.


  101. Martin Says:

    @Neil (11:33)

    I’m sure that Puddlecoat will be touched by your offer to fight his battles for him, given he ran off to the safety of his own ickle blog once I’d called him out on his laughably idiotic assumption.


  102. Dick Puddlecote Says:

    “Ah! There’s no pre-moderation on your blog, so we’ll never know if you possess adequate testicles or not.”

    You should do stand up, you’re killing us here! :)


  103. Dick Puddlecote Says:

    “I’m sure that Puddlecoat will be touched by your offer to fight his battles for him, given he ran off to the safety of his own ickle blog”

    … and posted it openly here.

    There’s a time when one should stop digging, Martin. ;)


  104. Neil Says:

    Martin – Dick needs no help from me to fight battles with ickle you in fact it may be time for you to hide behind Godwin, your ickle friend of convenience.


  105. Angela Harbutt Says:

    Clearly I was getting over excited… it can happen to a girl you know.. Has a woman never said that to you before Mark?


  106. Junican Says:

    First can I say that I am in no way connected with any of these organisations? Get that out of the way. Nor do I receive any funding, legitimate or not.

    Poor Dave Atherton! Has that guy received some ‘ad hominem’ attacks tonight! I counted at least fifty sneers and jibes. I congratulate Dave on his refusal to rise to the bait – I suppose that he is used to it.

    How the zealots love to quibble about the nuances of various studies! But do we notice that, at the end of the day, they always fall back upon the numerical superiority argument? I particularly love the idea that 100 studies showing a minuscule risk (if any) prove a major risk. So, if 5 people per annum are killed by lightening strikes, it is a minuscule risk, but it becomes a major risk if 100 studies show that 5 people per annum are killed by lightening strikes. The science is settled! Let’s shout it from the roof tops. “THERE IS A MAJOR RISK OF BEING KILLED BY A LIGHTENING STRIKE!” Let us create a law which bans all children from being allowed outside in a thunderstorm. (No record of any children ever being killed by lightening? So what? There is a major risk!)

    So getting back to some sort of actuality, let us consider this small fact:

    Causes of death, Eng & Wales 2009.

    …………….Heart…………Heart.
    Age……….myocard…….Ischaem.
    To 34………….55………….120.
    35-44…………320………….730.
    45-54……….1170………..2630.
    55-64……….2700………..6500.
    65-74……….4900………12350.
    75-84……….9230………24200.
    85 +…………8800………25580.
    Total………27175………72110.

    I want to talk about death caused by Ischaemic Heart ‘diseases’. I am not ‘cherry picking’ because Ischaemic …. is by far the biggest cause of death and also because most death causes follow similar patterns.

    If you do a calculation based upon ‘life years’ for the Ischaemic….deaths, you find that the average age at death (number of life years at death in that group) is 86 years old. Eighty six years old!

    So where are the ‘premature’ deaths? Oh, just a minute. Since all these people will have been either smokers or passive smokers, they must ALL have died prematurely! It follows logically, doesn’t it?

    There is another little beauty in the death statistics. It concerns cerobrovascular ‘disease’ deaths (strokes) (how come these ‘conditions’ are ‘diseases’?) I will not publish the tables, but here are the salient facts:

    Out of a total of 43,500 altogether, male deaths over 75 were 12,700; female deaths were 23,500. Now, if smoking or SHS ‘causes’ strokes, should not vastly more men in this age group (who were mostly smokers) be dying from this condition than females (who were mostly NOT smokers)? How is that the males in this group number 12,700 and the females 23,500? (NB. Figures below the age of 75 are not significantly different for males and females, but, obviously, much smaller in numbers). So it seems that, on the basis of the occurrence of cerebrovascular deaths, vastly more people exposed to SHS died than actual smokers!

    Perhaps ASH’s bosses have not noticed these peculiar facts (NB FACTS – not surveys or studies). Perhaps, if ASH’s bosses really, really tried, they could come up with a study which shows that:” “NEWS FLASH! SHS CAUSED CEROBROVASCULAR DISEASE DEATHS DELAYED! WOMEN EXPOSED TO DEADLY SHS FUMES DIE LATER THAN THOUGHT. DEADLY BLIGHT PROVED TO BE KILLER OF NINETY YEAR OLD WOMEN!””

    Sounds about right for ASH to me.


  107. Junican Says:

    Also, may I observe that Puddlecote, Atherton welcome comments on their blogs. Does ASH do likewise? Of course not! They know that their propaganda publications would be torn to shreds by hundreds of commenters! If Alexander MP had published his speech in advance on the net, it would have been torn to shreds within ten minutes. One need only think of his reference to the ‘Mumsnet survey’ (commissioned by NICE) – a more unscientific survey it is hard to imagine.


  108. Belinda Says:

    Jen

    ‘The reason for not involving the tobacco industry in discussions is because of decades of experience of their obfuscation, providing misinformation or misleading information (such as the passive smoking examples); scaremongering (eg grossly exaggerating the costs to retailers of a display ban or predictions of job losses and closures with smokefree legislation which are shown time and time again to be false); and using front organisations that fail to declare their funding.’

    I agree with you that scaremongering is wrong: http://www.washingtontimes.com/news/2011/jun/21/hurt-no-ifs-ands-or-butts-fda-warning-photos-faked/?page=2


  109. Lyn Ladds Says:

    If being an adult who enjoys the legal ‘consumption’ of tobacco products makes me a “front group” or representative of the tobacco companies, then guilty as charged – even though I am just a hard working woman in my 50′s who just wants the freedom of choice to pursue any legal activity, whatever that may be.

    There is time enough for nannying if and when I reach the stage of dementure that requires such treatment!


  110. Mark Butcher Says:

    Just for the record – I have nothing to do with the tobacco industry, other than being a customer and I think ASH should have all its government funding stopped. Right now.


  111. Fredrik Eich Says:

    “I hope that in 10 years’ time we
    will be much closer to the situation where smoking is no
    longer as socially acceptable. That’s what this [smoking] ban is about -
    cultural change.” – Dr Bauld.

    http://www.bath.ac.uk/news/insider/pdf/apr07.pdf

    Linda,Linda,Linda but I don’t want my culture changed! Do you remember going to smoke-free places before the smoking ban? Imagine how you would feel if they were banned over night? All of them. 100% of inside space given over to smoking. Even when against the wishes of propety owners.

    Want to remove the ashtrays from the tables in your own restaurant?

    You can not, it’s against the law.

    Go to jail.

    http://www.thepublican.com/story.asp?storycode=66496

    And for what? For a body of evidence on passive smoking that more often than not fail to reject the null hypothesis?
    I am sorry but your vision of a country populated exclusively by non-smokers comes at a far too heavy price. How does one put a price on freedom?


  112. Pat Nurse Says:

    ASH promotes hate not health. The sooner this leeching self-interest corrupt organisation has to fight for it own funding rather than scrounge off the state, the better the economy will be and the less social division there will be.

    No one voted for the directors of ASH to make health policy on smoking or anything else. I am sick of my taxes being used to fund their smokerphobic paranoia but maybe I’d accept that more if there was, at least, some balance and both sides of this debate heard and addressed by Govt.

    I am not connected to the Little Tobacco Companies which are now tiny in comparison to the huge and powerful anti-smoker industry headed up be hypochondriac control freaks who depend just as much on smokers for their living as tobacco does but ASH steals more from the price of a pack of fags than Little T earns.

    Because ASH has no other argument than to squeal that anyone who criticises their abuse of smokers must therefore be paid or connected somehow to little Tobacco, forces me to declare that I am just a lifelong smoker since 8 years old who has brought up four healthy children now adults who between them have presented me with two lovely grandchildren and two more to come.

    If ASH had its way, I would be denied access to my grandchildren simply because of who I am. That Govt funds such horrendous bigotry and hate astounds me. Not since Hitler for sure.

    And no – not Godwin’s Law – fact. Smokers were on the Nazi hitlist too which is why what ASH is doing is so despicable and without cause or sense. Blind support by a stupid and naive Govt is taking us to very dangerous places.


  113. Dave 'grisly' Atherton 10 O levels 2 A levels Says:

    @Martin

    I was at the Lib Dem Conference in 2009.

    http://www.liberal-vision.org/2009/09/24/guest-post-my-1st-libdem-conference-libertarianism-late-nights-and-luscious-lynne/

    Also Martin I would describe myself as a Classical Liberal mostly. Also I arranged for Lib Dem Minister Jeremy Browne to speak at the Progressive Conservatives last year.

    “Over the past week, firstly in a meeting of Progressive Conservatives where Jeremy Browne a right wing Liberal Democrat and Foreign Office Minister in the coalition government spoke and later at a Conservative Way Forward (CWF) seminar where the director of the Institute of Economic Affairs (IEA) Mark Littlewood spoke, the sheer scale of the deficit to me was bought home.”

    http://politicalpundits.co.uk/articles/the-scale-of-the-financial-mess-in-context/


  114. Neil Says:

    Fredrik Eich Says:

    June 24th, 2011 at 11:17 am
    “I hope that in 10 years’ time we
    will be much closer to the situation where smoking is no
    longer as socially acceptable. That’s what this [smoking] ban is about -
    cultural change.” – Dr Bauld.
    http://www.bath.ac.uk/news/insider/pdf/apr07.pdf

    Neil says
    I hope that within one year we will have reached a situation where academic assertion is given the lack of respect it deserves and we achieve an education ethos that expects questioning rather acceptance as the core of learning.
    Unfortunately we have so many obedient paper-qualified experts nesting in all levels of Society I fear it may take some time.


  115. Lyn Ladds Says:

    Robin Says:

    June 22nd, 2011 at 12:40 pm
    Money well spent, in my opinion. Smokers don’t simply damage their own health – they damage my health and that of my one year old daughter. They smoke at bus stops, in town – in public places. It is evil.

    Robin, I would say this to you: My daughter was born in 1983 and both her father and I smoked during my pregnancy and all the time she was growing up.

    She was not premature and not underweight when born. She was never sick as a baby or at any time whilst growing up. In fact, although she did not smoke herself, she was never sick until the smoking ban came into effect. By this time she was working as an assistant manager in a pub and was, until the ban, in and around smokers most of her working day.

    Once the ban took effect she was nearly always sick with colds and other minor bugs and as a result became very run down.

    In the end she took up smoking and returned to her previously rude health. Due to the price of cigarettes she has had to give up and return to her post ban minor ailments that adversely affect her health and her work.

    One more thing; when working in an office of 35 people, about 12 of whom smoked we did a survey of sickness absence over a year and it transpired that at no time was a smoker of sick, but 98% of the non smoking staff had at least 2 days off sick in that year.

    I am not a scientist, nor do I understand all the scientific terminology. What I do understand is what stares me in the face – the proof I see with my own eyes.

    By the way, yes, I am a smoker and rarely have a cold, on the odd occasion I do it is mild and last for only a day or 2 and does not prevent me from going to work. Smoking also helps me to deal with mild depression. The announcement of the total smoking ban however sent me into a deep spiral of depression for which I am still receiving treatment as isolating people who suffer from depression is the very worst thing anyone can do, but this is what the smoking ban has done.

    No smoker wants to actively impose their pleasure on others; the smoking ban has forced smokers outside to smoke in pub gardens, outside in the street and in bus shelters in order to shelter from the elements – smokers are not in these places by choice! If the government had allowed smoking and non smoking venues, as much of Europe has done then no non or anti smoker or their offspring would need to be inconvenienced in the slightest!

    A free and democratic country (which is what we are supposed to live in) is one that allows freedom of choice and does not denormalise one section of society for using a perfectly legal product that produces billions in taxes each year, more of which goes to the NHS than all the smokers put together could cost the NHS.

    There is no such thing as a perfect world, but if you want anything close to that for you and your daughter, then start looking at the viable options which would accommodate smokers in such a way as to not inconvenience you and yours.


  116. Jonathan Bagley Says:

    As one of the above critics of ASH UK (and junk science and junk statistics in general), I wish to point out to Professors Bauld and West and whoever made similar comments, that I have absolutely no connection with the tobacco industry and have never received any money, either directly or indirectly, from it.

    My interest in this subject, apart from being very angry at the smoking ban putting an end to my social life, is from a scientific, particularly statistical point of view. Neil, in one of his commments above has summarised what are also my beliefs about the comic wing of passive smoking “research”. Rather than trade volleys of statistics, I’ll just say that sitting in a smoke-filled room for eleven hours is, in terms of particulate inhalation, about equivalent to smoking one cigarette; and leave it to readers to decide how risky, in the grand scheme, the occasional few minutes exposure then is; and whether this justifies a ban on private smoking clubs staffed by their (smoking) members.

    Those anti-tobacco researchers/campaigners who receive support from the pharmaceutical industry, should ask themselves whether their efforts might be better directed at campaigning for the legalisation of the sale in the UK of snus, the Swedish oral tobacco product and a very successful alternative to pharmaceutical nicotine, which was banned from sale in the EU when Sweden became a member. Sweden has the lowest rates of male smoking and male lung cancer in the developed world. Rates of pancreatic and laryngeal cancer (which are sometimes claimed to be caused by snus) are lower than the EU average. Had snus been available in the UK since 1992, tens of thousands fewer people would be dying of lung cancer in the next thirty years. On the minus side, snus is manufactured by the tobacco industry.


  117. Lyn Ladds Says:

    Another point, from a logical stance is that proper air filtration would, in fact, benefit all whether in smoking or non smoking venues.

    Why?

    Because however tight windows and doors are shut, whenever a door is opened fumes and toxins from vehicles enter – these being far more harmful than tobacco smoke. It has also been cited that the artificial air fresheners now often used to mask the sickening odour of various perfumes and colognes along with natural human odour are, in actual fact, carcenogenic.

    Therefore, logic says to me that proper air filtration, which is readily available these days, should be used in all public places, smoking or not for the protection of all.

    However, it would seem to me also on a logical level, that government are shooting themselves in the foot if they believe (and evidence suggests they do) that smoking and SHS kills people prematurely. They do not have the funds to provide us with pensions due to the longevity of many people these days (the very people who grew up when smoking was at its height), so by allowing us to kill ourselves off much of this problem would be eliminated!

    So, just who do ASH think they are protecting? None of us, in the long term.


  118. Lyn Ladds Says:

    Addendum to the above:

    Pity politicians are so far up their own backsides that they cannot see when they are being conned!


  119. John Says:

    Over 50% of all “gold standard” epidemiological studies are confounded within 5 years of publication.


  120. bruce Says:


  121. John Savage Says:

    In an interview on BBC Radio 4′s Desert Island Discs, he said: “The effects of other people smoking in my presence is so small it doesn’t worry me.”

    “He” being Sir Richard Doll – obviously a Tobacco industry mole!

    “In essence, HSE cannot produce epidemiological evidence to link levels of exposure to SHS to the raised risk of contracting specific diseases…..”

    http://wispofsmoke.net/PDFs/255_15.pdf

    This HSE Operational Circular was issued only around a year before the smoking ban in England was introduced for review five years later. All copies were ordered to be destroyed months later.

    Obviously, the HSE is the provisional wing of the tobacco industry!


  122. Mr A Says:

    Wow, a lot of reading to catch up on. But first things first.

    “Mr A:
    Martin, you wouldn’t be Martin Dockrell, Head of Policy at ASH, would you? If so I salute you for posting comments outside of working hours.
    Congratulations! You’ve outed yourself as a conspiracy theorist – how could anyone who possibly disagrees with your opinion be anyone other than someone working for THEM?”

    I only ask, as on several other occasional I have been involved with debates with “committed anti-smokers”, and have Googled their names only to find them to be ASH executives who, when confronted, disappear. Clearly, they now know not to use their real names. By the way, it is not a conspiracy theory – the Tobacco Control guidelines for activists (they really must stop putting these things on the Web) advocate posting under several pseudonyms on web forums in order to indicate a “ground swell of support,” as well as suggesting that they post misspelled and abusive comments whilst pretending to be smokers. This is all common knowledge and is yet more evidence of the corrosive nature of ASH and their Tobacco Control brethren.

    I also note that I and several others have been accused of having links with the Tobacco Industry. Other than thoroughly enjoying their products I have no links with the tobacco industry, and neither do many others here who I know through FaceBook and a few other places. Then again, that tactic is another well-known ASH/Tobacco Control ploy, such as the time that Stanton Glantz trawled YouTube and accused many anti-ban film-makers of being employed by Big Tobacco. I know one of the most vociferous (the one they actually pictured in their report) and I’m sure he would love some funding from Big Tobacco, bearing in mind he’s a disillusioned and impoverished ex-serviceman.

    Neither am I Dave Atherton, as another paranoiac asserted. Dave knows far more about Tobacco Science and the Machiavellian shenanigans of the various fake charities we see here desperately trying to ensure that their funding isn’t cut, than I do. Besides, while Dave has so kindly admitted that he has 10 O levels and 2 A levels I am far better qualified and have two degrees and three Master’s. ;). Sadly as I do not receive funding from Big Pharma I am far less well-paid than some of the other names we see posting here.

    Indeed, it was the fake science that made me such an active opponent of ASH and their ilk. Despite being a smoker I blindly accepted the smoking ban for a good 12 months. Then came the Pell Report, a piece of nonsense that was so shocking that I decided to look into more of these “studies.” And THAT is when I decided to do everything I could to restore the scientific integrity and methodological good practice that the likes of ASH have so keenly sought to undermine. Personally, I could care less about the smoking ban nowadays. But seeing ASH exposed for the fraudsters they are and seeing an end to such immoral practices as “denormalisation” of a subset of a population is something I very much long to see.

    Now to catch up with the other comments I missed…


  123. Iro Cyr Says:

    Ok let’s get a few things out of the way first:

    I am vice-president of CAGE Canada. A grassroots organization that gets 0 funding from anyone other than small donations from individual members. And just in case you’re wondering why a Canadian would post in a British blog, I have discovered this post through a link in facebook. So much for the disclaimer albeit I doubt that this will save me the ad-homs because it seems that this is about the only argument that remains to the anti-smoker cartel to attempt to defend themselves.

    Now to the core of the issue.

    Anti-smoking may have started with noble goals but it has evolved into a lucrative business peddling exaggerations and lies on the taxpayers’ dime and whoring for the pharmaceutical industry. Some may believe that the ends justify the means and that a ”white” lie is acceptable if it gets some people to quit smoking. However, statistics coming from verious countries that have implemented heavy artillery denormalization campaigns and smoking bans consistently show that smoking has either remained stagnant or has increased since.

    It is high time that organizations such as ASH and others like it that take their cue from the pharma funded WHO, are cut from any and all public funds because not only are they tunnel visionned and biased but they are no longer helping societies lower smoking prevalence. Their campaigns have become so absurd (starting from the invented harms of second hand smoke) that people are now questionning even what is probably true about health harms brought on through heavy smoking. And this is not good for anyone!

    Please read this report from a prominent world reknown tobacco expert who has made a career helping people stop smoking for most of his adult life. He is now in his 80′s and still genuinely cares enough about smokers to fight the pharmaceutical funded anti-tobacco liars that are harming the exact same people they pretend they want to help.

    http://cagecanada.blogspot.com/2010/12/beliefs-manipulation-and-lies-in.html


  124. Mr A Says:

    Okay – far too many comments to address individually and many have been rebutted by Dick Puddlecote and Dave Atherton. But a few stand out….

    Jen – “ASH is not and has never been anti-smoker.”

    How does one “denormalise” smoking WITHOUT denormalising the smoker? It’s an absurd assertion and one that is easily put to bed by Deborah Arnott’s recent bewildered comment of, “What is wrong with denormalising smokers?”

    Someone also said, “At least I post under my real name.” I work for a university whose VC is very anti-smoking and who recently gave an ASH member an honorary degree for “their good work.” If you think I am exposing my job to risk (and I believe I would be, academic freedom or no academic freedom) then you are very much mistaken.

    But to get away from tit-for-tat and get back to the main point, the thing to remember is that ASH fail in their primary purpose and have done so spectacularly. The 50%-20% (well, 28% according to Eurostat, but let’s not quibble) mainly happened before ASH became particularly active. Certainly, since the ban of 2007 smoking rates have actually increased – in England/Wales as well as in Scotland and Ireland. In addition, the number of cigarettes each smoker smokes has increased as has the profits of the Tobacco companies and the numbers who now express no intention of giving up smoking. The problem is, people don’t like being told what to do, and far from being denormalised smokers have become entrenched.

    When buses became “smokefree”, there were few complaints. No letters to MPs, no newsletters sent out or campaigns set up. Ditto with trains, cinemas, theatres and the like. That is because these changes were part of a natural change in society’s values and priorities. However, the Ban in pubs and restaurants was so heavily imposed and done without consultation of the general public that there has been a backlash. Many of the people commenting here (I cannot say all, as I do not know all of them) are not stooges of Big Tobacco. They are disgruntled citizens who think it is absurd to stand outside an empty pub with the landlord, bar staff and other patrons whilst the pub is empty, just because a law (that no-one save ASH asked for) will not allow them to do what they want on the landlord’s premises. They are angry because the ban does not allow venues for smokers to go to – venues where no non-smoker would ever be subjected to the obvious trauma of their smoke. They are angry that many of their local pubs have shut. They are angered by a State-sponsored campaign of denormalisation which any normal-thinking person would consider sinister in nature. And they are angry that all this has been done, not by the changing nature of society (as with cinemas etc) but by being imposed on them from without by a tiny, but extraordinarily well-funded group of individuals who habitually lie and fabricate information to meet their objectives. THAT is why so many want to see ASH’s funding stopped.

    But if you want to believe we’re all funded by the Tobacco companies, then carry on. The fact that you’re so obviously wrong only means you’ll focus your attacks in the wrong place.


  125. Casey Quinn Says:

    This seems to have drifted somewhat from the original point of the post. Whether that, in turn may have been the objective – who knows? I don’t care.

    ASH was indeed set up for the purpose of being a pressure group for tobacco control – in response to an unresponsive government of the day. Like modern cigarettes, ASH does precisely what it says on the box. Just like any number of groups today.

    The argument seems to be around what ASH does and with whose money it does it.

    * The idea of ASH working with industry (who fund who only knows how many pressure groups – FOREST a fine example – that not only do precisely this sort of thing but also happen to go around disputing evidence that tobacco companies accept publicly: that smoking harms you) is not sensible at face value. Is ASH to work with industry to help it collude in getting its product smuggled into any market it can fine (as it has, repeatedly, historically, been caught doing)? Is it to work with them to provide more science to deny?

    * The idea that ASH ought not work as it does to affect policy change (yes, I have sat at a table with ASH folks and a Minister to discuss the merits/demerits of policy) is equally without sense (to wit: none of us assumed or pretended that the table had not hosted any number of supplicants for any number of sides from any number of issues).

    If the point is that Government ought not have such conversations in the shadows – great! It’d save everyone money and make the whole process more efficient. But how on Earth could one seriously propose ASH is the worst player on that field?

    Your argument cannot be about ASH but must, in fact, be about government via politics. Which is fine, I’m totally on board with that.

    * That “ASH receives huge amounts of money from the taxpayer” – how so? How much? Directly, or are you lumping indirect channels since ASH receives funding through CRUK, the British Heart Foundation, etc.? Because, if that’s the case, hell, loads of us fall victim to that. I take NHS and NIHR money all the time through grants, then use that money to conduct research to change health policy. I always assumed that was the point – am I to realise, now, that I am actually seedy and undemocratic, after all?

    The suggestion is that ASH is some kind of quango – but, in the categories of outrage over public money (particularly on a site like this) start with UK Trade and Investment.

    * The issues above about smoking or not (or whether ASH is despicable because Hitler supposedly was after smokers; or the amazing anecdote of how smokers are super-healthy, surrounded by near-leprous non-smokers) have diminished utterly the original point. And they’re irrelevant: we’re hardly going to see evidence evaluated, or policy-making streamlined, here. Highly-selective presentation of information, no systematic appraisal of that information or the bias in the presenters.

    At most we’ve all had a good look at our navels. This is not how people become informed; it’s just another example of how personalised content produces echo chambers with periodic spikes of uncivil discourse and wildly imagined received wisdoms.


  126. Iro Cyr Says:

    ”But if you want to believe we’re all funded by the Tobacco companies, then carry on.”

    They might think that Pr. Philippe Even is also tobacco funded?

    ‘’They have created a fear that is based on nothing’’

    World-renowned pulmonologist, president of the prestigious Research Institute Necker for the last decade, Professor Philippe Even, now retired, tells us that he’s convinced of the absence of harm from passive smoking. A shocking interview.

    The last paragraph is probably what is the most shocking and clearly explains why some people will not put their careers on the line by giving their true identity when they express their opinions on internet forums. It also explains why it appears that there is ”consensus” within the scientific community : The careers of those who go against the anti-tobacco group think mentality are usually destroyed.

    ”Why not speak up earlier?

    As a civil servant, dean of the largest medical faculty in France, I was held by my duty to confidentiality (1). If I had deviated from official positions, I would have had to pay the consequences. Today, I am a free man.”

    http://cagecanada.homestead.com/InterviewWithPrEven.html


  127. Iro Cyr Says:

    @Casey Quinn

    The difference between Big Tobacco lies and Public health lies is that people are usually suspicious of corporate advertizing but put blind trust in public health advocates. To find out one day that they have been misled and lied to is probably the biggest deception in this whole issue. Anti-tobacco is paid to give FACTS not opinions, sound bites, and propaganda fueled by either ideological or monetary interests. If your doctor tells you that your stroke was caused because of your high cholesterol level, you expect that he is giving you his best expert opinion according to his scientific knowledge, not his biased opinion because his father was eating too many burgers and he has been taught to hate them, nor because Big Pharma is giving him kickbacks to peddle statins! That is the main difference and why it is totally unacceptable for ”health groups” to mislead and lie to the public.

    People have a choice to buy or not buy tobacco products, but what choice do they have to see their taxes fund unethical groups that pretend to have the people’s best interests in mind?

    As for the tobacco industry being excluded from all discussions – who better than them to know their product, how to improve it, and how to substitute some elements for others? But anti-tobacco has deliberately stifled any advancement in harm reduction technology by consistently demonizing the tobacco industry’s efforts to improve their product. And THAT is a crime. They are even after e-cigarettes now because they come in competition with their pharma funders, and these are not even produced by Big Tobacco, do not harm by-standers, have not shown to be harmful to users and are not much different from Big Pharma inhalers. That alone is enough reason that anti-tobacco groups be henceforth referred to as ”Pro-Pharma groups” and let Big Pharma alone fund them. At least they will be transparent and the people will be more critical before buying the propaganda they spew.


  128. Junican Says:

    @ Iro Cyr

    I have read your comment with interest and the article by Molimard.

    It would have been interesting to see the effect of your comment had you seen this blog earlier and commented before the ASH people ran away!

    That is what ASH do you see – they descend like a pack of wolves, rip and tear and then depart en masse. Of course they protect themselves by ensuring that there is a ‘no comments’ policy on their own blog.


  129. Chris Says:

    To claim scientific consensus on SHS based on the available evidence is inexcusable. There may be consensus between pressure groups, militant medics, humanities graduates, some politicians and various worthies from the public health industry but that is not the same thing.

    The disrespect for science, the very ethos of which is objectivity and healthy scepticism is prevalent throughout the anti-tobacco movement. A prime example being the attempts to justify the implementation of smoking bans on the basis of falls in heart attack admissions.

    If we as a society took science seriously and we wanted to assess the impact of a public health policy such as the smoking ban in England, to be credible and scientific we would need to find someone without obvious prejudice to perform a study using transparent methodology and present the results coherently. That brief would suggest a respected mathematician or even a scientist. Instead, we awarded the project to a lapsed medic with a history of anti-tobacco campaigning and got a dubious study that less then transparently arrived at the result that some people wanted to see. And we call that a contribution to scientific consensus?

    I find it difficult to even try to understand people who claim a liberal position and then make statements like “The scientific consensus is X therefore the debate is over” on the grounds that I don’t think that they really understand liberalism, debate or science.

    For the record, I don’t smoke, have no connection with tobacco in any way, have never voted for a “right wing” party and consider myself living proof of the “big tobacco” conspiracy lie that is trotted out by the public health industry every time that anyone disagrees with their dogma. Their constant suppression of debate using such tactics is a less then liberal and deeply unattractive tendency.


  130. Neil Says:

    A brief but refreshing point about Casey Quinn – a quick look at studies he is involved in suggests an interest in topics other than ‘smoking. Could he be one who has sufficient integrity to apply his expertise to a world beyond that of the blinkered anti-smoker?
    With reference to accusations of naughtiness from tobacco I feel sure that he might accept a certain historical ‘drifts from integrity’ by pharmaceuticals when pushing their products with, on occasion, stretched claims of professional integrity and possibly massive contributions to causes creating a market for their products.
    IF ASH was in the middle there might be no problem BUT they’re not.
    Fortunately the source of this topic is not about UK trade and investment or any other of the many serious causes for concern, it is about ASH and the public monies it uses to promote it’s own extremes rather than those in the best public interest.
    Progress in smoking cessation has been effective despite, in my own experience, the ridicule many young people expressed after the delivery of lessons based on blatant anti-smoking exaggeration and propaganda. I, from experience, provided a perspective and balance that discouraged many from taking up or continuing smoking. (At this point I should add I have directly benefited from the largesse of Big Tobacco and the full set of cutlery from our families Kensitas coupons still lies unopened at the bottom of the filing cabinet.)
    Things changed when ASH demanded legislation. They won’t accept any downsides, they claim many victories but still come back with more demands based on little or no real evidence.
    Non-academics in the real world have a measure of intelligence, feelings and a pair of eyes; we see the damage, we experience the hurt and, worse than that, we have empathy for many others who suffer.
    Maybe Government is at fault but when we look at ‘Government’ we see so many that have soaked up academic theory and fail to question ‘authority’ in case it might inhibit the award of their qualification. Their qualification is no guarantee of intelligence.
    Anyone in education has met those who offer definitive answers to questions they never deigned to fully consider – to poorly paraphrase Dr Johnson – the person who claims they know something is ignorant. The person who, the more they know, the more they realise they don’t understand is the intelligent one.
    Those of us with a few years under our belts despair at the confidence of our new ‘experts’ who, having a certificate in narrowness/obedience, declare definitive solutions to problems proffered – They know they’re right – their certificate proves it. I, like others, suffered from medical naivety when a common serious condition was beyond the realms qualified narrowness.
    EVERY EXPERT should embrace fallibility and in all but the most basic arithmetic computation should realise there is seldom a black or white solution (even 1 and 1 could be 11 rather than 2).
    The millions of citizens alienated and disadvantaged by the imposition of an inflexible and draconian smoking ban believe there are alternative more effective routes to reduced tobacco consumption. Does Mr Casey?
    His “wildly imagined received wisdoms” when revisited and dissected often reveal a basis for creative and alternative routes to truths – the trouble is they ‘rock the boat’.


  131. AndrewP Says:

    Poll of this blog at 20.30 on 25th, on the subject of anti-tobacco.

    Methodology: i read through this entire thread ONCE, and decided in my opinion those for and against.

    If i have left out anyone or mis-categorized someone, i apologize.

    People with anti-tobacco views/supporters of ASH: 11.
    Robin, Sheila, Martin, Martin Dockrell, Robert West, Woolylib, ThomasL, Logic, Linda Bauld, Millitant, Jen

    This figure could be 9 if you exclude:

    Sheila, for perhaps joking “scientifically proved that second hand smoke can travel through walls”.

    Robin, for perhaps joking “Won’t somebody pleeease think of the cheeeldren!” and “Passive smoking is actually more harmful than active smoking”.

    This figure could be 8 if you exclude: Martin Dockrell who is a member of ASH.

    People with pro-choice views/ non-supporters of ASH: 27
    Niki, Batman Neil, Dave Atherton, Sheila D, Jonathan Bagley, Mark Butcher,Frank J, Mark Littlewood,

    Dick Puddlecote, chas, david, Mr A, Marlene B, Over70, Angela Harbutt, Ouija, Junican, Belinda, Lyn

    Ladds, Fredrik Eich, Pat Nurse, bruce, John Savage, Iro Cyr, Chris, AndrewP.

    Note: Dave Atherton, Dave Atherton 10 O levels 2 A levels, and Dave ‘grisly’ Atherton 10 O levels 2 A levels have been counted as the same person.

    Note: i have counted my self in the pro-choice category.

    Note: i just did this to summarize the views up to this point. Its based on my opinion of the opinions of others. So it is likely to have some bias.

    On the original point, if ASH has not done anything wrong, then why all the commotion about an investigation?


  132. Dick Puddlecote Says:

    Chris: “If we as a society took science seriously and we wanted to assess the impact of a public health policy such as the smoking ban in England, to be credible and scientific we would need to find someone without obvious prejudice to perform a study using transparent methodology and present the results coherently.”

    Perhaps Linda Bauld – the professional anti-smoker chosen to produce such a thing – may wish to comment. She was very forthcoming earlier in this thread, after all. She can hardly be called “someone without prejudice”, that’s for sure.

    There was money in the commission, though, so the contract was never going to be turned down in favour of transparency. That’s quite apart from the fact that an independent would almost certainly have come to the conclusion that, yes, the ban has hurt the hospitality industry.

    Only someone whose salary depended on the opposite would even dream about saying otherwise.

    Where did Martin go after he drove into that cul-de-sac from which a reversing procedure was too difficult? Run squealing to teacher, perhaps? ;)


  133. John Savage Says:

    To quote the Democracy Institute:

    “Overall, the increasing use of denormalisation campaigns is also worrisome because they waste large sums of taxpayer money to satisfy the new Puritanism’s anti-obesity, anti-gambling, anti-drinking, and anti-smoking agenda. A potentially greater worry, however, stems from the reality that these denormalisation campaigns represent a new and dangerous assault on our core democratic traditions of choice about risk and lifestyle. Like so much in the respective anti-obesity, anti-gambling, anti-alcohol, and anti-tobacco campaigns, denormalisation is a very bad prescription for supposedly good public health.”

    http://www.data-yard.net/science/ethics/denormalisation-study.pdf

    I have no financial interests with the Tobacco Industry, apart from buying and enjoying their products. As a taxpayer, I do have a financial link to ASH. I would say ‘interest’ but they do not represent my interests in anyway whatsoever.


  134. Jay Says:

    In view of Deborah Arnott’s statement, “What’s wrong with denormalising smokers?”, I’d be shocked if the general public, who keep ASH afloat, were willing to continue to fund it. It’s profoundly disturbing that a woman in Arnott’s position considers it acceptable to denormalise a group of people for using a legal product and to believe that it’s acceptable to admit this.

    I think that ASH’s agenda, its funding and relationship with the pharmaceutical industry and its infioltration of Government needs to be dragged into the open.


  135. John Says:

    Since when has Social Policy been an academic subject?


  136. Chris Says:

    @Dick P
    It was actually Anna Gilmore who led the “study” that linked a fall in heart attacks with the English smoking ban. I am still not entirely sure how because the fall was completely unremarkable in light of the trend and the BMJ is a bit less rigorous than the average scientific journal when it comes to expecting people to explain their methods.

    The error is easily made because Linda Bauld works alongside Anna Gilmore and both have recently been made professors at The University of Bath. I don’t understand why based on my reading of their publications so I have to assume that anti-tobacco activism is now considered a substitute for academic excellence at that establishment and I will be disappointed if my children select it from their lists of potential centres of further education.

    Linda Bauld is a Scientific Advisor to the Department of Health which speaks volumes in that her degrees are a BA in Politics and a PhD in Social Policy. It is unlikely that her position will add to the objectivity or scientific content of the governments output on tobacco policy. I agree that she is anything but objective on this particular issue and she is not a scientist.

    Linda Bauld and Robert West use their posts here to try to silence discussion by claiming that all those who go to the time and trouble to post oppositional views do so solely for vested financial interests. The arrogance, mendacity and deception involved in the repeated use of that tactic by ASH and others sum up everything that is wrong with the public health industry. It has become politicised, dishonest and corrupt. It is no longer fit for purpose, is in desperate need of reform and does not deserve the public funding it receives.

    “All silencing of discussion is an assumption of infallibility. Its condemnation may be allowed to rest on this common argument, not the worse for being common.”


  137. Neil Says:

    LATEST NEWS – The study of Integrity in Academic Application was cancelled due to a lack of evidence.


  138. Dr. Brian Oblivion Says:

    Earlier Martin said something like: “Rather than being bemused, perhaps you should pay attention to the limits on personal freedom as defined by liberalism.”

    I find it disturbing that anyone would celebrate and embrace an ideology that seeks to limit personal freedom. I find the premise disturbing.

    There should be as few limits on personal freedom as possible in order to accommodate the full spectrum of human experience.

    People are free to pick and choose from what is available and and may certainly abstain from sin and vice if they wish. But the puritan instinct to place restrictions on the rest of society should be rejected every time it is asserted.

    Repression always causes distortion, despair and terror. How many times have we been down this road.

    Ash is a propaganda mill that encourages the majority to view users of tobacco as less than human. Frighteningly enough they are so deluded as to believe their own bullshit. There should be no place in society for organized sociopathy.

    D.B.O.


  139. The Archivist Says:

    The mere fact that major ‘worms’ have been enticed out of the woodwork shows just how much this letter has rattled the ASHites! For Linda Bauld to join in after the written debacle entiltled “Evidenced Review” (which, incidentally, carries no real supportive evidence is truly remarkable! We have Martin Dockrell weighing in and even Robert West who declares “It is sad to see people writing on behalf of a vastly wealthy industry that manufactures and very heavily promotes a product that ruins the lives of so many …” Has it not occurred to these people that smokers ENJOY inhaling that wonderfully warm, peaceful, consoling smoke-that’s why they smoke in the first place.These state funded junkies think that alol smokers want to give up, that smokers can’t give up without them badgering & bullying 24-7. They think smokers will put up with standing outside pubs & clubs whilst no-one is drinking inside. Basically, they are killjoys, destroyers of freedoms of choice in civil liberties. They are hansomely rewarded for ruining people’s lives. People want choice not dictatorship so the sooner ASH are treated as in Holland, the better.


  140. Joanne Says:

    It is a small to medium-size registered charity, employing (in 2010) an average of 10 staff. The salary of its Chief Executive was within the range £60 – £70,000, which is normal for a London-based national charity.

    For more ASH figures please visit:

    http://freedom-2-choose.blogspot.com/2011/03/f2c-triblogology-part2.html?utm_source=feedburner&utm_medium=feed&utm_campaign=Feed%3A+blogspot%2FqZch+%28Freedom+To+Choose%29


  141. Frank Davis Says:

    Robert West wrote:

    It is sad to see people writing on behalf of a vastly wealthy industry that manufactures and very heavily promotes a product that ruins the lives of so many millions of people, and attacking an organisation that on a shoestring has done more to save lives of our citizens than any other that I can think of in the past half a century.

    No, they’re not people who are writing on behalf of the tobacco industry. They’re people who are writing on behalf of today’s demonised and excluded smokers. And ASH doesn’t get by on a shoestring. It’s very well funded by government and the pharma industry.

    Some of the posts above have all the hallmarks of an orchestrated attack by the tobacco industry which is deeply concerned that the activities of ASH will damage their revenues. That is of course to be expected but let us not be under any illusions as to why they are being made.

    What hallmarks? And where’s the tobacco industry? Name one person posting here who’s working for that industry. And if you can’t, then withdraw the smear.

    I am a researcher who happens to work in this field and do my best to discover better ways of helping smokers who want to extricate themselves from their addiction. I could easily be researching something else (and indeed have done over the years) but when I talk to smokers who are desperate to stop and others who have stopped but say that it is the hardest thing they have ever done, I am powerfully motivated to continue with this work. The people at ASH, similarly, are motivated by a deep desire to prevent suffering and they are doing a wonderful job.

    If I have any idea who you are, you aren’t just a researcher, but a Professor of Health Psychology at University College. And you work in CRUK’s Health Behaviour Research Centre. And you’ve got a degree in psychology (not medicine or statistics). And you advocate the coercion of smokers to force them stop smoking:

    “Coercion, by raising price, is probably the method with
    the strongest track record, the price elasticity for
    consumption being estimated at –0.4 internationally.
    More draconian measures may one day be possible:”

    So much for ‘helping’ smokers. You – like ASH – are intent on screwing them into the ground at every opportunity you can find.

    Not just ASH, but the entire well-funded antismoking industry needs to be closed down. It constitutes one vast, global, organised hate group that is doing colossal damage to the social fabric of society, shattering communities, set friend against friend, bankrupting pubs and cafes – and all for zero health benefits.

    I do not write this on behalf of the tobacco industry, from whom I take no money, and which can look after itself. I write it on behalf of the friends that I have lost, and all the millions of people who have had their social lives shattered by smoking bans, and – last and not least – in memory of Lawrence Walker.


  142. John W Says:

    That may be so Joanne but every other small to medium sized charities and all of the major charities actually make money through retail outlets, street collections, they have volunteers who work for them.
    The Majority of the income for ASH comes from the state both directly and indirectly via other state sponsored charities like CRUK (who according to their advertisements are also strapped for cash due to reduced contributions)or the BHF. ASH do not appear to do street collections, unlike CRUK or the BHF, neither do they appear to own any retail outlets to earn revenue for their cause. Effectively they are parasites in the revenue system to whom very few members of the public donate to. In fact if those who commented on the F2C Article are any indication then ASH is a one group demolition industry working against its fellow charities that support it!


  143. Michael J. McFadden Says:

    Robert West, before I got here, you wrote:

    “Some of the posts above have all the hallmarks of an orchestrated attack by the tobacco industry which is deeply concerned that the activities of ASH will damage their revenues. That is of course to be expected but let us not be under any illusions as to why they are being made.”

    And I would like to support and echo Frank Davis’s response to you:

    “What hallmarks? And where’s the tobacco industry? Name one person posting here who’s working for that industry. And if you can’t, then withdraw the smear.”

    Mr. West, the “guilt by association” attack you made is a classic antismoking tactic that dates back many many years. It’s the main reason I felt that I needed to start off “Brains” by declaring that I was not connected to either the “Communist Party” nor the “Tobacco Industry.” So Mr. West, if you’re going to make such charges against people, you should certainly back them up or retract them.

    Meanwhile, I noticed that you also wrote this:

    “I am powerfully motivated to continue with this work. The people at ASH, similarly, are motivated by a deep desire to prevent suffering and they are doing a wonderful job.”

    So I guess you are declaring that you are NOT connected in any way to the antismoking industry? No grants, no history of working for pay with law firms or schools or institutes that have received money from ASH or CTFK or the American Legacy Foundation or Airline Flight Attendants fund or any pharmaceutical interest/connection that pushings the NicoGummyPatchy Products? No paid “expert witness” testimonies or media appearances or speeches against smoking?

    You are “powerfully motivated” as are “the people at ASH” to continue doing the work you do against smoking for FREE?

    Somehow Mr. West, I doubt that. However, if you and ASH wanted to make a clear and legal statement to that effect, and/or pledge your continued dedicated and selfless unpaid volunteer efforts in the future I believe we would all be open to hearing that and, unless there was sound evidence to the contrary, believing it.

    And somehow as well, I doubt such a pledge will be made. Although I do appreciate your moderate openness in citing your identity and I will copy that. It’s too bad some of the other long-term Brit posters on your side (e.g. the “Rollo Tommassi” fellow) want to hang on to their “right to anonymity” so that we’ll never really know for sure who they’re working for or how pure their motives are.

    Michael J. McFadden
    Author of “Dissecting Antismokers’ Brains”


  144. Michael J. McFadden Says:

    Robin’s silliness “Passive smoking is actually more harmful than active smoking” doesn’t stand alone unfortunately. Because of the craziness that’s been pushed by people from ASH and allied organizations people now commonly accept such insanity as the norm and are even going beyond it.

    April 2010′s American Journal of Physiology has an online article titled “Thirdhand Smoke: A New Dimension to the Effects of Cigarette Smoke on the Developing Lung” and Dr. Rehan’s work and quotes were covered in many, many news organs. Very few, if any, of the popular media treatments of his warning to pregnant moms to stay away from places that might have “thirdhand smoke” on their surfaces (e.g. just about every building in the UK built before 2000) took note of the fact that not a single human mom nor child was included in Dr. Rehan’s study. He basically ripped open pregnant female rats, cut the unborn baby rats out of their bellies, tore open the babies’ rib cages, yanked out their little pink rat fetal lungs, chopped them up into one millimeter cubes and then soaked them in concentrated chemical solutions of thirdhand smoke components that are almost undetectable unless a room is drenched in nitrous acid while people smoke in it.

    Dr. Rehan warned that “Thе dangers οf thirdhand smoke span thе globe” and then went on to note “exposure tο thе constituents οf thirdhand smoke іѕ аѕ damaging аnd, іn ѕοmе cases, more damaging thаn secondhand smoke οr firsthand smoke.”

    At this rate, by the time they hit fifthhand smoke thermonuclear weapons will have been rendered obsolete.

    Quotes from http://news.bioscholar.com/2011/04/thirdhand-smoke-dangerous-to-unborn-babies-lungs.html/comment-page-1#comment-82035 and http://www.elements4health.com/thirdhand-smoke-can-affect-fetal-lung-development.html#comment-3584

    - MJM


  145. Chris Says:

    Frank Davis has done a good job of highlighting some of the damage that the “war on tobacco” has inflicted on our society and I would just like to add a couple of additional points for concern.

    Firstly, there has been the transformation off the WHO from a nobly conceived benevolent organisation into a politicised pressure group that lends its once good name to junk statistics on passive smoking and the suppression of free speech.

    My second concern is the unhealthy politicisation of some of our leading charities. Forgive the length but I thought it worth sharing an email sent out by one such charity:

    “Dear Chris,

    The tobacco industry is fighting the new law to put tobacco Out of Sight, Out of Mind in shops and supermarkets. They are putting pressure on the Government to put tobacco profits ahead of protecting children. The Government is deciding right now whether to bring in the law and we need your help.

    FACT – over 100,000 people die from smoking every year. 80% of smokers start before the age of 19. There’s a ban on tobacco adverts because cigarettes are so addictive and deadly. But tobacco displays in shops have filled this advertising gap. Brightly coloured, well-lit displays are put right next to sweets and crisps, so they appeal to children.

    FACT – removing tobacco point of sale displays will protect children from harmful and persuasive tobacco marketing. Our latest evidence from Ireland proves this, and shows that covering up cigarette displays doesn’t have a negative impact on retailers.

    Many of you worked with us to campaign for the law to remove tobacco displays. Don’t let tobacco firms undo the progress we’ve made. Please take a few moments to send a Christmas card to your MP urging them to protect children from tobacco this Christmas”

    Aside from the patronising tone and the ridiculous claims relating to some shockingly poor evidence, the striking thing about this email is the depths to which it stoops in order to achieve its political objective. Using children is now standard operating procedure for anti-tobacco activists but hijacking a festival of peace and good will for sordid political purposes? Just how low can these people sink before the political elite understand that disease statistics are not the only measure of a nation’s health? Perhaps I am old fashioned and out of touch but am I alone in finding this deeply offensive?

    Does anyone seriously believe that the majority of people who donate to the charity in question realise that they are funding spin doctors to produce this kind of material?


  146. John Savage Says:

    These fanatical bigots are also guilty of crimes against the English language.

    The definition of “fact” from the Chambers dictionary is “truth or reality, as distinct from mere statement or belief”.

    Deluding themselves that their propaganda and lies are true does not make them “facts”.

    P.S. Chris, the charity Donkey Sanctuary receives around 2,000 times more in public donations than ASH. We involuntarily ‘donate’ to ASH as taxpayers.


  147. Trooper Thompson Says:

    Hey guys, cut these Ash(oles) some slack. They’ve obviously made the Scarface error of embibing their own poison, and thus, genuinely believing that there are no people who smoke because they want to, they cannot compute anyone disagreeing with them who isn’t part of the tobacco industry.

    That said, I am reminded of this definition from H L Mencken:

    “Puritanism: The haunting fear that someone, somewhere, may be happy.”


  148. Michael J. McFadden Says:

    Two things I missed commenting on:

    Andrew, thank you for that breakdown! Too bad the Ashers aren’t willing to come back and defend themselves a bit more vigorously, but that’s the norm: they know they can’t win in this arena because their opponents get an equal shot at the microphone and lies are too easily instantly exposed with a couple of key clicks. They’re heavily dependent upon media outlets where they can command the bulk of time or look pretty with their professionally crafted sound bites.

    Re the “shoestring budget” ASH operates under: the idiocy of that statement almost approaches the arrow aimed at Dick P’s blog (He allows free speech attacks against his ideas because he “doesn’t have the balls” to moderate/erase them! Sheeesh!) The idiocy levels are the same because to illustrate how poor they are they then talk about “only” having three million dollars/pounds/whatever to run one of their pet projects with. It’s the same sort of claim one of the New Jersey Anti groups made here in the U.S. when their annual budget was cut to “just” fourteen million dollars: “That’s it! We have no money! Everything stops!”

    When three million is a shoestring and fourteen million is “no money” there’s obviously something very seriously wrong with these “idealistic charity” groups.

    - MJM


  149. John Savage Says:

    ASH unfortunately have sleepers in very high places:

    Sir John William Elvidge was Permanent Secretary to the Scottish Government between July 2003 and June 2010. His wife, Maureen McGinn (Lady Elvidge), is a member of the Scotland Committee of the Big Lottery and chair of the Board of ASH Scotland. In December 2009, ASH Scotland were awarded £500,000 of lottery funds.

    Kevin Barron, Labour MP for Rother Valley, was chairman of the parliamentary Health Select Committee under the previous government from 2005-2010. It was this very influential committee’s recommendation which resulted in the introduction of the total smoking ban, as opposed to the partial ban pledged in Labour’s election manifesto. From the minutes of meeting of that committee, at which Deborah Arnott of ASH was present to give ‘evidence’, the chairman (Barron) is minuted thus in item Q477 (about half way down):

    “Thank you. I suppose I have an interest to declare in terms of ASH. I am a member of your Council.”

    http://www.publications.parliament.uk/pa/cm200708/cmselect/cmhealth/uc422-v/uc42202.htm

    Barron is now a Vice-Chair of the All-Party Parliamentary Group on Smoking and Health.


  150. Man in a black gown and wig Says:

    The day is coming when organisations such as ASH and the authors of the various studies produced in support of smoking bans will be called to account in the Law Courts.

    Compensation claims will break the back of the Tobacco Control lobby.


  151. Barry Homan Says:

    WOULD YOU ALL GET OFF THIS BOARD AND GET BACK TO YOUR LIVES, RIGHT NOW! WHY NOT DEBATE THE HARMFUL EFFECTS OF CUT GRASS? YOU ARE WASTING YOUR TIME AND LIFE’S JUST PASSING YOU BY, IF YOU DON’T WANT TO WORK IN A SMOKEY BAR THEN DON’T! IT CAN’T BE PUT MORE SIMPLY, THIS WHOLE DEBATE IS LUDICROUS, YOU COULD DRAG IT ON FOREVER – IT’S STUPID!


  152. John Gray Says:

    Don’t shout Barry. It’s bad for the heart, don’t you know?


  153. Dick Puddlecote Says:

    Last ;)


  154. James Gray Says:

    @ Dave Atherton

    Hi there, you mention in an above post the following -

    “3. There are 30 studies done into ACTIVE smoking. The findings are that cigar smokers and pipe smokers (because they do not inhale) do not run any higher risk of lung cancer, emphysema and an early death. In fact pipe smokers live on average 2 years longer than non smokers.”

    Do you happen to have any reference to the sources you indicate (the 30 studies etc)?

    Are they included in the documents indicated in the same post (SCOTH) or are there separate bodies of work?

    The reason I ask is because this very claim is an oft quoted favorite of my old dad, a happy pipe smoking, tobacco growing fellow, and former GP, who read an article by Richard Doll some time in the 60s and took up smoking the very same day. But he has never been able to find the actual source of the claim, or even the article, and is starting to doubt his own recollection. I would love to give him the original statistical foundation for the “2 years longer” claim for a birthday present. Although, I think he might already have had more than his extra two by now!

    Any help much appreciated.


  155. john Says:

    Reference Guide to Epidemiology of the Federal Judicial Center’s Reference Manual on Scientific Evidence, the principal reference for instructing US courts in regard to epidemiology. The Manual states: “…epidemiology cannot objectively prove causation; rather, causation is a judgment for epidemiologists and others interpreting the epidemiological data.” [6], and “.. the existence of some [associated] factors does not ensure that a causal relationship exists. Drawing causal inferences after finding an association and considering these factors requires judgment and searching analysis.” [7] and “[w]hile the drawing of causal inferences is informed by scientific expertise, it is not a determination that is made by using scientific methodology.”.

    Thus, while epidemiologists insist that their discipline is a science, clearly it is not the solid experimental science that produces reliable causal connections to fuel new scientific discoveries, successful technological advances, and defensible public health policies. More to the point, if multifactorial epidemiology does not operate in the framework of science, what warrants of reliability could it offer?

    It remains a fact that in over 50 years of trying to induce cancer in animals using tobacco smoke, not even one study has yielded a statistically significant result that links cancer to tobacco use


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