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Wednesday, 30 March 2011

A Blank Response!

 Houses of Parliament (Dumb)
Holyrood parliament in Scotland (and Dumber)

Some weeks ago I wrote to the Ministry of Health with some rather pertinent questions. My letter, strangely, was forwarded to the Scottish Parliament where one Lee-Anne Raeburn undertook to respond. Her response, as you can imagine, was concocted of all the old stand by's-public consultations, peoples wishes, evidence based, etc etc, so I picked the most relevant parts of her response and sent the following letter back asking for further clarification/proof-basically whatever they had got that would substantiate her sub standard reply.....

Dear Lee-Anne

Thank you for your response to my letter to the Department of Health in London on 3 February 2011 regarding smoking in hospitals.Not quite sure why email has been passed to the Scottish Government for reply, then the good Lord moves in mysterious ways! Some points I need to raise re your response and points to which I would very much like answers.

Quote:- "The decision to protect public health through the introduction of smoke-free legislation in public places was not taken lightly, but after a comprehensive process of evidence gathering and public consultation".

Lee-Ann, we all know that the 'public consultation' was not, in fact, a public consultation as it only involved Smoke Free organisations already in place;ie, Smoke free NE, NW, Smoke Free Yorkshire etc-it has been well documented in the MSM. 'the comprehensive process of evidence gathering' entailed what exactly?

The next point I will deal with individually if I may?

Quote:- "There is strong evidence from the World Health Organisation (WHO)" - and what evidence would that be then Lee-Ann? Would that be the massive study they compiled which showed absolutely no effects/relationship between SHS & mortality? You know the one Lee-Ann, it's the one they did their very utmost to hide from public scrutiny but was unearthed by a rather nosy journalist!

Quote:- "UK Scientific Committee on Tobacco and health (SCOTH)" -now this is interesting Lee-Ann because the SCOTH Committee was purposely hand picked by Blair's henchmen to ensure the predetermined result was achieved. Fourteen of the sixteen members of that most un-illustrious committee were either in the pay of ASH, connected to ASH and/or total anti tobacco fanatics. It is interesting to note that one of the only two totally independent members of that "committee" later opined that it had been a 'considerable waste of time and effort'. Certainly, we would have to concur with this statement as it is patently obvious that all major studies were ignored until Jamrozic's superbly flawed effort (ranked 28th I believe) was mercuriously produced as 'absolute evidence' of harm. Jamrozic incidentally, died a year ago of cancer-a sarcoma actually, (bone cancer) of which there is no known cause! Professor Jarvis is even recorded saying that there was not enough evidence but that seems to have been completely ignored as the paymasters (Pharmaceutical Industry) payed their way to the required result. I will happily provide a comprehensive list og those members and list all their associations and conflicts of interest-but then I am sure that you already know the truth Lee-Ann!

Quote:-" Ventilation is not the solution so far as second-hand smoke is concerned. It does remove the smell and the colour of the smoke; it does not fully remove the harmful substances it contains. So while the air in a ventilated room may look and smell good, in reality it isn’t harmless. Ministers want to protect the public from the health risks associated with exposure to second-hand smoke."
This as you are well aware is a totally fallacious statement! Modern techology has advanced far and away above the simple fan Lee-Ann. Modern Air Quality Filtration machines now filter the air to a standard which is four times cleaner than the air we breathe daily on our streets. That is why such ventilation systems have been installed in hospital theatres-to remove superbugs from the air thus minimalise infections.

Quote:- "The smoke-free legislation was introduced in all wholly or substantially enclosed public places as the evidence demonstrated that passive smoking was dangerous in those places."
Slightly incorrect here Lee-Ann as it was those scientific bods in the pay of Big Pharma that produced the 'evidence' so required (ultimately by the WHO). I doubt you will find one true scientist, attached to smoking bans, who has put his integrity above the massive lure of Pharma paypackets; check out the "Brussels Declaration of Scientific Integrity"

Quote:- "We hope that the ban will improve the nation’s health and illnesses will be prevented. There are no immediate plans to review the fundamental principles of the legislation."
Ah, 'we hope' do we! It is a great shame that you and others in government have been so completely hoodwinked by ASH, Big Pharma & the WHO, but you see the blueprint, as laid out by Godber in 1975 has been extremely well plotted over the years, sucking all manner of politicians into the net. With 75% of the country (myself included) being non smokers, it was a simple job to gain majority verdicts for whatever was needed. It will not improve the health of a nation for the simple reason that cancer is rife-it is not simply a matter of 'stop smoking'. In the first year of our wonderful English ban (2007) cancer cases grew by 4% (M) & 3.75% (F). Add to that the fact that cancer cases have steadily increased since the 50's while smoking has equally steadily decreased it doesn't really put one as causation of the other does it Lee-Ann! However, when one looks at motorised transport emissions & cancer rates one can certainly find the similarity-now just why have government ignored that obvious fact Lee-Ann?


Quote:- "I am aware that some NHS Boards have implemented smoking policies that go beyond the requirements of the national legislation and in particular their desire for active discouragement of smoking on their hospital premises."
And exactly what right have they to do this? Impersonation of the law is to be treated as surely as impersonation of a police officer-is it not? Hospitals may not desire people smoking anywhere on hospital grounds but, legally, they cannot enforce a law that does not exist-for outdoors is outdoors!

Quote:- "Health improvement is a key aim of NHS Boards and a smoke-free environment and the provision of tobacco education and cessation support are recognised methods of achieving this aim."
Education, education, education-I couldn't agree more Lee-Ann, prohibition is the quickest way to civil disobedience is it not? Smoking will never be eradicated for the simple reason that the poorer elements of our society have very little else to cheer them as it is and the humble cigarette is certainly a major social comfort to many. Please don't insult my intelligence with "... and cessation support are recognised methods of achieving this aim." because even the Dept of Health have announced that NRT has a wondrous 98.4% FAILURE rate-yet as a nation, we keep throwing more money at it, why?

Quote:- "However, the decision to move to a completely smoke-free environment is a matter for individual Board’s to determine and it is their responsibility to ensure that the smoking policies that that they have imposed are adhered to and enforced appropriately."
Is this an advancement on 'smoking wardens' patrolling our hospital grounds?
All patients are already advised about no smoking policies during their stay in hospital and offered advice and support to assist them with the restrictions that may be imposed and in particular offered appropriate smoking cessation advice. Whether they actually take up any advice is purely a personal matter, but given records to date I wouldn't hold your breath! As you know Lee-Ann, all government cessation figures are based on a 4 week cessation period. This, naturally, gives a hugely distorted view of results possibly achieved as a 12 month period is by far and away a safer factual collection point.
Finally Lee-Ann, would you be kind enough to forward a precise figure of cost, since implementation, of this discriminatory ban which will do two things to this once great country: totally bankrupt it (note S Irelands financial prowess) or result in civil riot.
Again I look forward to your response with great interest Lee-Ann.
yours sincerely

Phil Johnson

Now I thought it was a pretty fair letter of response indicating that i needed clarification of various points raised by herself. here is her response.......


Err...sorry folks, all I got was a blank page, so I can only assume that the English Government could not answer my questions hence sent it over Hadrians Wall but they are equally unable to answer even the simplest of requests for truth. Any suggestions fellow bloggers?

Tuesday, 29 March 2011

Outdoor smoking ban mooted in Inverclyde Parks

Does anyone remember the April Fool's Day following the introduction of the smoking ban back in 2006? Headline was that Inverclyde had unilaterally overturned the smoking ban. It hit the internet with a thump and some of my sleepy English friends demanded to know where I was and had I got in touch with the Mayor of Inverclyde (largely imagined to be an island off the West Coast rather than a region within sight of Glasgow, or  Dunbartonshire at any rate). At that time we might well have been hopeful of a quicker and more satisfactory outcome.

Sadly this light-heartedness has been taken off the internet. I can't find it anyway. And Inverclyde Council (which may not have been amused in the first place) has just agreed that children should be protected from smoking adult role models and, as a pilot project, has banned adults from smoking in play parks. The argument has progressed from secondary smoking to role models.

As readers point out, it may be that children lose out, if adults use the play parks less. If so their parents would no doubt be blamed. This further example of denormalisation (let's not see adults enjoying themselves smoking in the fresh air, especially with children about) rightly irritates these readers:
As an ex-smoker I think this is taking things too far, if parents are taking their children to the park they will stand aside to have a cigerette while watching the children, now they most likely won't take them to the park because if they were going to have a cigerette they will have to leave thus upsetting the child as they would take them with them not just stand aside and look on. I agree with the previous comment children would get no fresh air and the parks will fall into disrepair or dare I say dens for drink and drug users....So keep parks family friendly for smokers and non-smokers alike!!!!
Anti-smokers happily throw people on the street when they want to be in the pub, yet when they want to be outside, find a reason that this should not be allowed either. Ways and means are found to inconvenience and pressurise smokers. How anyone can get away with calling this persecution beats me.

E-Cigarette blamed for man's death

What is the future now for the E-Cigarette?
A doctor from Tyneside has called for more research into "electronic" cigarettes following the death of one of his patients.
It comes after an inquest recorded an open verdict into the death of Terence Miller from Gateshead.
 Mr Miller, who used large quantities of the substitutes, had suffered from a lung disease - severe lipoid pneumonia.
It looks like the man in question had a miriad of health problems and I think that anything inhaled would have  severly put him under stress, including exhaust fumes from our roads.

Banning the E-cig can't be very far away. Full story here.

Monday, 21 March 2011


 An F2C Triblogology (Part2)

This is the second of a three-part blog looking at ASH (UK).

Here we take a look at its finances. All information has been taken from its published accounts on the Charity Commission Website.

First, let us look at all ASH sources of income over the past five years: (for the technically-minded, we have consolidated its “voluntary income” and “income arising from charitable activities”).

In total, over the past five years its income has amounted to almost £4 million, and grant income has been about £3.35 million.

Over the past five years ASH has become even more dependent on grant money. The proportion of income deriving from grants rose from 74% to 86%. By the end of the last published financial year it had no contract income; sales of literature and services had dwindled from £7,289 to £1,283, and its already small subscription income had reduced from £2,544 to £1,580.

FIVE YEARS AGO: Income for 2005 - 2006
LAST YEAR: Income for 2009-2010
Major funders in 2009-10 were: the Department of Health, The British Heart Foundation (BHF), Cancer Research UK, and ASH International.  ASH UK’s published accounts and annual report don’t indicate how much BHF and Cancer Research UK granted respectively, nor indeed if other smaller charities contributed. But they do acknowledge that  “The principal sources of project funding for the charity are the Department of Health Section 64 General Scheme, the British Heart Foundation (BHF) and Cancer Research UK.  Both Cancer Research UK and BHF also provide the charity with core funding for our entire programme of work.”

ASH International is an interesting newcomer, but an increasingly significant one. It receives part of its own funding from the community engagement programme of Pfizer, manufacturers of Champix/Chantix and other smoking-cessation products. It has only been giving grants to ASH UK for the past 3 years but is now providing over one-fifth of its grant income.

Just for interest, let’s have a look at how the funding trends of these three major grant givers -the Dept of Health, the 2 Big Charities, and ASH International- compare over the past 5 years.

ASH has four strategic priorities:
  • to press for ...measures to reduce the harm caused by tobacco
  • · to service the day-to-day information needs of the tobacco control community in the UK
  • · to be the main hub for uk tobacco control policy networking. To be the main feed in point and key contributor for regional and international networking...
  • · to secure appropriate funding...for the achievement of the organisation’s objectives..
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.
There is very little that is significant about its expenditure: again it is within normal boundaries for an organisation of this size.
The expenditure reflects the organisation’s purposes and priorities, including overseas staff travel for “international networking”.
The charity Stillbirth and Neonatal Death Society (SANDS*) has three simple aims:
  • · to support anyone affected by the death of a baby
  • · to work in partnership with health professionals to ensure that bereaved parents and their families receive the best care
  • · to promote and fund research to reduce the loss of babies’ lives. 
(*17 babies die EACH DAY in the UK at birth or within 28 days of birth.)

SANDS, like ASH, is also a small-to-medium size registered charity, employing (in 2010) an equivalent of 8 full time staff.  The salary of its Chief Executive is also within the range £60 - £70,000.  It is also a national charity based in London.  SANDS also co-operates and works internationally.

Both ASH and SANDS have a net annual income of around £1 million.

However, the contrast in sources of income for the two health-based charities is both immense and - to our minds - shocking.

SANDS gets only 4% of its income from grants, but raises an impressive 95% of its income from public donations and from public fundraising.

*Fundraising income after costs have been subtracted
SANDS is a registered charity with thousands of public supporters and volunteers, helping and supporting thousands of grieving parents, working directly with health professionals, and funding research to prevent the deaths of over 6,000 babies a year.  It quietly and modestly gets on with its job.
4% of its income is from grants.

ASH is a registered charity, but it is neither publicly-supported, nor representative of those it claims to speak for:  ALL non-smokers.  It operates as a fanatical Tobacco Control lobbying and networking pressure group that seeks changes in the law not just within the UK but internationally.  It loudly proclaims its work through slick and cynical public relations.  It is greedy for more money.
86% of its income is from grants.

If you were responsible for giving a grant to a charity, which one would you choose?

ASH is unloved and unwanted by the general public: but, hey, it has other people’s money to spread around.....

“I’m not a bad person
I don’t drink and I don’t kill,
I’ve got no evil habits
And I probably never will....”

               Dr. Hook: “The Millionaire”

Thursday, 17 March 2011

Belgium adopts full smoking ban

A guest post by Brenda Orsler

There is no Government in Belgium and yet The Flemish Anti-Cancer League has forced the Belgian court to overturn the exemptions that allowed smoking there in bars that serve no food. From July 1st 2011 there will be a total blanket ban in all bars and cafes.

When German forces invaded Belgium in 1914 Britain ordered Germany to withdraw immediately, Germany refused and The United Kingdom declared war on Germany on the afternoon of August 4, 1914.

Belgium’s cemeteries and fields are the final resting place for hundreds of thousands of soldiers that probably spent their last days with just one comfort. The humble cigarette shared with a comrade.

clip_image002British soldiers giving a German P.O.W. a cigarette.

Such was the importance of smoking to the British soldiers that Princess Mary sent a gift to the serving troops. Officers and men on active service afloat, or at the front, received a box containing a combination of pipe, lighter, 1 oz of tobacco and twenty cigarettes in distinctive yellow monogrammed wrappers.

Many of the soldiers killed in Belgium have descendants from all around the world that visit the Battlefields. They must wonder why their Grandfathers and Great Grandfathers bothered to fight for the freedom of a country that now can vilify people that enjoy a cigarette.

British soldiers WW1 1915 with 6 of the soldiers smoking a cigarette. 

On the back it is postmarked 'LOUGHBOROUGH 9.30PM 16 AUG 15' and addressed to a 'Miss Grant' in Leicester and says -
'Dear Aunt, thanks very much for the present you left me, so I will smoke your health. I thought you might like some of these as it is the last one I have.
How, I wonder would Belgium have fared if they had refused to let smokers come and fight for its freedom from Nazi Germany.

Sunday, 13 March 2011

An F2C Triblogology

(Part 1)
From Philanthropy to Propaganda

ASH (UK) has radically shifted since 1971 from being a campaigning public health charity that works to eliminate the harm caused by tobacco (and that does) not attack smokers or condemn smoking”, to one that ditched its slogan "ASH - Action on Smoking and Health" and replaced it with "The Campaign for Freedom from Tobacco", issuing a press statement saying:

"We are relaunching ASH today with a pledge to devote ourselves to hound the tobacco industry out of business by every means at our disposal.”
They now employ cynical lobbying methods and spin to influence the political process. In their own words:
It is essential that campaigners create the impression of inevitable success. Campaigning of this kind is literally a confidence trick: the appearance of confidence both creates confidence and demoralises the opposition. The week before the free vote we made sure the government got the message that we "knew" we were going to win and it would be better for them to be on the winning side.
(Deborah Arnott and  Ian Willmore; July 2006)
Even when they acknowledge that they are out of touch with the views of the public, both smokers and non-smokers, they cynically see this as being only a problem in terms of fine-tuning their propaganda. Their own internal Strategic Plan 2008 - 2011, in which they examine their own weaknesses, says:

Lack of contact with the general public and smokers – this may lead to not understanding the public or what smokers think, which is essential to know if ASH is to affect social change. It is also important that ASH is not too far ahead of public opinion.
ASH (UK), although a UK registered charity, is also a significant player in global anti-tobacco organisations: for example, the Framework Convention Alliance and the European Network for Smoking and Tobacco Prevention (ENSP).

They have fully pledged themselves to promote and support the aims of the World Health Organisation (WHO) on tobacco control. The following are examples of what ASH have in mind for us all. This is what they have signed us up to and for which they will fight “with every means at our disposal”:
Taken from the WHO’s The Tobacco Atlas
  • Cigarettes only available on prescription in rich countries
  • The tobacco industry is fully regulated, with licensing of nicotine as an addictive drug, and manufacture, promotion and sale under strict regulatory control by government agencies.
  • Cigarette packets will be plain black and white and contain only brand name and explicit health warnings.
  • Doubts about new “less hazardous” products increases.
  • Tobacco control funded from a percentage of tobacco tax in many countries.
  • Vaccine produced to switch off nicotine receptors.
And they are proud of their propaganda machine.

Next Tuesday, 15th March, ASH Scotland are sharing their methods and approach with another branch of the New Temperance and Prohibition Movement - alcohol control, at a summit meeting in Edinburgh. ASH Scotland chief executive Sheila Duffy said ASH Scotland,

"are hosting this summit so we can listen to the experiences from each sector and learn lessons on where we can be effective in continuing to reduce the impact of alcohol and tobacco on Scotland's people.”

Give me absolute control
over every living soul
Get ready for the future: it is murder.
To be continued...

Contributors to this blog are:

Brenda Orsler
John Watson
Phil Johnson
Carol Cattell

Wednesday, 9 March 2011

Ash Wednesday=Cash Wednesday

This is a blog courtesy of an angry citizen of this country. A retired citizen of this country. A citizen that saw the horrors of war with this country. A non smoking citizen of this country. So the scene be set folks.

We shall call this gentleman Fred, for want of a name that will stick in the mind, and we shall show you, the good people of this country just how low the anti smoking brigade are willing to stoop in their efforts to eradicate tobacco.

Some time ago 'Fred' was diagnosed with cancer, thus needed surgical skills to rid himself of said disease. The hospital, I am reliably informed, asked the immediate questions but were thwarted from ticking 'the right boxes' as they thought for 'Fred' does not partake of the joys of smoking. Whether they determined that 'Fred's' cancer was thus obviously caused by second hand smoke, third hand smoke, dirty stinking exhaust fumes, the last bonfire night party or even the barbeque last summer is not known. What is known is that 'Fred' was quickly assessed (privately at a cost of £5,000 as he was scared to have to wait to see a specialist on the NHS) and deemed worthy of costs of operating. Well, that is what the National Health Sevice is for folks!

That was some months ago and I am happy to report that 'Fred' is well and trully on the mend thanks not only to the skills of medical men & women but equally due to the love and care afforded by his doting wife.

This morning was no different to any other morning in the 'Fred' household-until the postman starting getting aggravated with the letterbox, finally conceding defeat as he rapped the knocker in frutration. 'Freds' other half opened said door to be handed all manner of envelopes and small packages, thanked the postman and shut the door behind her before proceeding to the kitchen table where she dumped the lot. All were addressed to 'Fred'. You can imagine his amazement when, after opening all 'his' mail, he found himself staring at a veritable plethora of QUIT smoking paraphernalia. Please fully absorb the immensity of this from the photograph taken!

I cannot believe the amount of 'bumpf' sent to one household-especially to a non-smoker who did not request the stuff in the first place! What about the cost of producing all this unwanted crap? And what is the blue & blue beady thing in the foreground? is it some form of ritual hanging device for smokers who can't quit?

There are booklets large, booklets small, information sheets, round things, leaflets-all manner of paperwork designed, no doubt, to make you feel totally ill at ease with yourself for being a smoker!

It is an absolute disgrace that 'Fred' a self confessed non smoker, having had the misfortune to suffer from cancer, has obviously been identified as a target for this 'mailshot'. It does show the total inhumanity shown by such as ASH et al in their never ending march toward tobaccoless Utopia. They don't care about your feelings, my feelings, the lady down the roads feelings or 'Freds' feelings just so long as they get their way with people. The fact that this country is nigh on bankrupt seems to have no effect on these puritannical pricks. The fact that the products they are using either have a 98.4% failure rate (NRT) or send you crackers (Champix) don't bother these pillocks either. The fact that they are wasting inordinate amounts of money on trying to force smokers who don't want to give up, to give up seems to pale into insignificance-just so long as they are receiving all that wonderful funding from a rapidly failing Coalition. I say rapidly failing for the simple reason that they have not listened to the people, they are not interested in the wellbeing and happiness of 15 million subjects-but they want them to work their arses off to get this country out of the shite! Why not, then they can waste even more money on fake charities like ASH et al and send more totally useless quit smoking bumpf to other elderly non smokers!

Just to help you understand the magnitude of waste here, not to mention the massive insult to this elderly NON SMOKER, I am able to catalogue this load of bilge for you:-

1 glossy colour pamphlet 12"x 8" with 43 pages (Stop smoking start living)

1 " " ring bound 12" x 8" in BRAILLE (Stop smoking start living)

1 black envelope containing 6 coloured cards 6" x 3" with 'graphic' smoking images.

1 glossy coloured pamphlet with 43 pages (Your guide to quitting for good with Smokfree)

1 coloured 'cheque book" containing IOU's to give to people to stop smoking in return for tasks such as 'I'll tidy my bedromm if you stop smoking)

I 8" x 4" glossy colour pamphlet to fill in to send off for more "quit kits" for your friends (with pre paid envelope)

1 8" x 4" glossy colour pamphlet 13 pages recommending NRT methods

1 circular cardboard coloured disk (How quickly will it improve your health chart)

1 6" x 3" glossy 3 page card (willpower booster)

1 3" x 2" diary (My quit planner)

1` 18" x 12" colour glossy wall chart (My quit journey)

1 3" x 2" colour glossy card with contact details (Get expert help to quit)

2 8" x 5" pages of coloured stickers (You can do it, well done)

1 dvd in case (Stop smoking start living)

1 week FREE trial to send for NRT patches (Freepost) with booklet

2 A4 covering letters.

1 'twisty blue plastic bracelet thing' 'stress toy'

1 A4 envelope (post paid)

1 8" x 6" cardboard box (post paid)

Take another look at the photograph and try and guess the production costs and p&p for this little lot-and then ponder of the usefulness of these quangos any longer!

Carpe diem

Take this day back from our enemies, and they are our, the smokers, enemies. Not only are they the enemies of smokers but of drinkers and lovers of food too. The enemies of smokers have set the blueprint for the righteous to follow. And follow they are.

So seize the day today. Because today is…

Now smoking day cartoon

I’m off to the seaside today and I expect to be assaulted by the anti smoking lunatics but I will be going prepared with a few well chosen Anglo Saxon words of wisdom for them and…


Let battle commence.

Monday, 7 March 2011

F2C March Newsletter redone


Some time ago I joined my local NHS public sector  group.  Nothing exciting, but you get to fill in surveys and questionnaires for them periodically. It also transpires that they hold regular meetings to discuss present and future policies.  I attended one of these  meetings entitled "Priority Spending".  What an eye opener! Briefly, smoking cessation was way down the priority list in Jo Public's eyes. NHS representatives are directing ordinary people by the way they present each subject - in this case tobacco!

Accordingly, I have written by post to each member of f2c, asking them to 'sign up' to their local NHS group, and would urge everyone who feels that these
unelected 'experts' enjoy too much power to do the same.  You don't have to go to meetings to speak if you do not feel comfortable, but you can create plenty of uncertainty when filling in all their online bumpf!

If you want to make a difference, start chibbling away at the bottom - that's exactly what ASH did!

Phil Johnson


Huge kudos to those tenacious folk over at C.A.G.E. for unearthing Smoke-Free Outdoor Public Spaces: A Community Advocacy Toolkit.  This lengthy guide painstakingly details the work of getting outdoor smoking bans ordained at local level -  what its opening sentence calls ‘the logical next step’.

Essential reading is C.A.G.E.’s own summary of the toolkit’s instructions, and what they tell us about the ethical values of tobacco control bodies like the Canadian Physicians for a Smoke-free Canada who reviewed and produced the toolkit.

The anti-smoking activist is advised to ‘ghost write’ under different names, to adopt a tame journalist, to ‘plant stories’ and ‘create impressions’ in the local press.  Politicians must be made to believe that the campaigning activist’s demands are those of all non-smokers.

Of particular interest to individuals and groups fighting these encroaching bans is the sweeping assertion that all opposition encountered is “invariably undertaken by tobacco industry front groups or plants, not ordinary citizens.”

The toolkit comes with a menacing twist in the tail: when the campaign is over and all the town ‘smokefree’, the dedicated activist is still not done. S/he must evaluate the lessons of the campaign in order ‘to determine how far you can push the envelope now.’

“You may not even know what the campaign will be yet and there may be a whole new set of players.”

(To be cont’d…)


New York City council vote by a majority of 36 to 12 to ban smoking in all public areas except sidewalks. Billionaire, anti-smoking Mayor Bloomberg is said to be ‘delighted’, a view not endorsed by the comment sections of most newspaper reports. Despite a widespread thumbs-down for the move, Boston (Mass) is said to be keen to follow suit.

After analysing Health Minister Anne Milton’s bafflingly vague reply to MP Steve Baker’s question: To ask the Secretary of State for Health what his policy is on the exercise by local authorities of powers restricting smoking in public places, Alex Deane of Big Brother Watch thinks similar bans may be heading our way.

It is a prospect made sharper by February’s Johnston Press online poll. Its network of local e-newspapers were asking for a yes/no response to the acceptability of New York style bans around the country.  Ascertaining the level of support for ‘the logical next step’ is standard tobacco control strategy.  Polls are interspersed with periods of intense scare-mongering education until the ‘right’ answer is met.

Poll Name No Yes
Leicester 55% 45%
Nottingham 61% 39%
Derby 57% 43%
Gloucester 55% 45%
Cornwall 63% 35%*
Scunthorpe 63% 37%
Bath 63% 37%
South Wales 57% 43%
Somerset 75% 25%

*Don't know 2%
(Results at 28th Feb. 2011)

Expect ramped-up lobbying from the usual quarters, each armed with its very own Toolkit!


You have to have sympathy for the Coalition. The country is broke and so, once again, finds itself turning to those naughty smokers to bail it out. The new boss appears to be as unfamiliar with the Laffer Curve as the old one.

As The Guardian points out, an above-inflation tax increase on tobacco is on the cards, which looks likely to increase man-in-a-van’s trade, resulting in more money lost to the treasury than gained - through smuggling.  Ms Arnott, director of ASH, denies any connection between high tax and smuggling, but then denying connections is an area in which ASH has previous form.

Hull City has a different tack.  Having voiced not a peep of protest about the proposed display ban, their sudden interest in damage to local shops from smuggling is heartening, albeit misplaced.

Meanwhile, in Warrington there are worries that people who buy cigarettes with Ukrainian health warnings might think those cigarettes are only dangerous in the Ukraine.  Because everyone knows smokers are too stupid for rational thought.

Other examples of HMRC working hard for their dollar in Lancashire and Staffordshire.

And, despite all the counterfeiting, this report from trustnet tells us that:

"Tobacco stocks have returned more to investors in the last decade than any sector in the IMA universe".


...Or maybe not.

For the residents of Campbell County, Kentucky, the answer is a resounding ‘Not!’  Thanks to two men of principle and a concerted effort by bar owners and lovers of liberty, Campbell County vote 3-1 to overturn their smoking ban

New commissioners Pete Garrett and Brian Painter kept to their campaign promise to vote down the ban, which was originally passed in December and due to go into effect on April 15th.

Judge Steve Pendery describes the strength of feeling surrounding this issue:

“…which led to six consecutive capacity crowd meetings, [and] was by far the most contentious in his 28 years of governing, including 12-plus with the county: “It’s not even close,” he said.”


stop press: shortest smoking ban ever? Venezuela Health Minister rescinds national smoking ban 24 hrs after the law is passed. No reason given for the sudden U-turn.



NHS Trust Boards consist of people who do not have the authority to create new laws. Yet, Trust Boards across England and Wales have taken it upon themselves to declare that smoking in the open air grounds of our NHS hospitals is 'banned'.

It is against U.K. law to smoke in public enclosed places:  there is no mention of smoking being banned in the open air.  Private organisations have the right to ban smoking on their grounds, but NHS grounds are owned by the public and are not privately owned.

no smoking sign

The notices that have sprung up in our hospitals are usually careful not to state that smoking in the grounds is against the law, but they often state that smoking is against the law IN these premises.    They hope that this will convince most people that they would be breaking the law if they smoke outside in the grounds.  Other notices might state ‘It is this NHS Trusts policy to prohibit smoking on the hospital grounds'.  This statement is merely quoting the Trust’s   'policy'.  While law can compel or prohibit behaviours, policies cannot.  Staff may have to abide by these policies if they have a contract of employment, but patients and visitors do not.

When challenged, these NHS Trusts must admit that their policies are unenforceable and that patients and visitors are breaking no laws by smoking in the grounds. 

This new call by Manchester health chiefs proves that the Trusts do not have the authority to prevent smoking by patients and visitors in the grounds.  If they did have the ability to create new laws, they would not now be calling on the Government for outside smoking to be made illegal


ASH Scotland has a busy month ahead with not one but TWO conferences on the agenda.  First up is the March 3rd. gathering in Dundee at which attendees will be trained in the art of scare-mongering persuasion.  Co-sponsored by REFRESH (REducing Families' exposuRE to Second-hand smoke in the Home) the full conference title is: Smokefree Homes and Cars: protecting children and families. Thanks to a generous donation from the Big Lottery Fund, it is free to professional health groups at point of entry.

Helping to ram home the smokefree message is Third Hand Smoke, now a fully accepted asset in ASH Scotland's arsenal of fear.

The grandly-named Scottish Alcohol and Tobacco Policy Summit is scheduled for for the middle of the month, in Edinburgh. Officially, delegates from both sides will compare notes and ‘explore what each sector might learn from the other’. In reality, of course, the lessons will flow one way only. The modern alcohol prohibition movement lags behind tobacco control by almost forty years and has much to learn.

The Licensed Industry has reacted with bewilderment and anger to the news that their trade representatives have been left off the invitation list.  Alcohol Focus Scotland, showing how well it has learnt its first lesson, explains the snub:

“…it’s stand was done so to fall in line with Ash, which bans the tobacco industry from its events.”

Back on the mean streets, Chief Constable Steve House blames an increase in homicides on the combination of smoking ban and ‘cheap booze,’ which he says has created drinking dens in the residential areas of Strathclyde.


Spanish business owners in the hostelry sector said they are expecting to collect a million signatures in support of changes to the country’s no-smoking legislation; a figure which is double the amount needed to petition a debate on the matter in parliament.

Greeks continue to defy the ban. As reported here,  there is something, 

“...within Greek society: a propensity to bend the rules, to rebel against authority, particularly that of the state. It is so ingrained that many Greeks barely notice the myriad small, daily transgressions — the motorcycle driving on the sidewalk, the car running the red light, the blatant disregard of yet another government attempt to ban smoking in restaurants and bars.”

And in the meantime,  we suggest the growing unrest across Egypt, Tunisia, Libya, Yemen, Bahrain, and even northern Cyprus means that for years those countries will have rather more important matters to attend to than anti-smoking.


Martin Dockrell of ASH blames seasonal fluctuations in smoking cessation attempts on last May’s governmental decision to withdraw funding for anti-smoking adverts. Chris Snowdon offers a more cogent translation, of both the figures and Dockrell’s interpretation of them.


NHS north Yorkshire and York is now joining Kent PCT in banning smokers and fat folk from routine orthopaedic surgery.

Still with smokers and fat folk, an increased demand for foster placements in the wake of the ‘baby P’ tragedy has charities again voicing criticism of rules, put in place in 2008, that bar both kinds of 'undesirables'  from fostering.


Road blocks and sniffer police will be deployed in a month-long campaign by Tendring council and Essex police to help identify cases of smoking in works vehicles and company cars. Two points of interest here: both the guilty driver and employer may be fined; and police involvement in an issue that they have, until now, been keen to steer clear of.


David Hockney says he is thinking of packing his bags and decamping to America, so sickened is he by the constant smoker-bashing encountered here. He describes California as “anti-smoking but not mean-spirited.”

Don't forget! - Wednesday 9th. March 2011

Now Smoking Day

c/o John H Baker 22 Glastonbury House, Priestfields, Middlesbrough, Cleveland TS3 0LF
Tel/Fax 0845 643 9469

Freedom2choose (Scotland):
c/o The Dalmeny Bar, 297 Leith Walk,
Edinburgh EH6 8SA

Tel 0845 643 9552

Friday, 4 March 2011

ASH and Chantix

By John Watson

ASH claim that Chantix is safe. If Chantix is so safe then why are over 1000 people suing Pfizer?

If Chantix is so safe, why has the Federal Drugs Administration insisted on warnings that it alters the mind, causes depression, violent episodes and suicide?

If Chantix is so safe why have the Teamsters union, the Airline Pilots Association and the Department of Defence Naval Bureau of Aviation medicine all banned their people from using it?

Could it be because the thought of a truck driver or pilot crashing their truck or aircraft due to the side effects of this drug and killing untold numbers of innocent lives weighs heavily on their consciences?

Clearly neither ASH nor Pfizer have no such qualms as long as the profits come in, if they did they would remove Chantix from the market under the precautionary Principle.

Could it be because the this drug has devastated families when a family member on Champix has changed beyond recognition, become violent or self-harms even to suicide?

Could it be that the FDA are fully aware that this is happening, if so why have they not ordered its removal from the market place?

If the FDA are aware, then NICE are also aware the same question could be asked of them, why is this dangerous drug being prescribed in the UK?

I would ask that you do not just accept my word, the following link is quite long, it is  the story of a couple who clearly loved each other, of the greed and avarice of the pharmaceutical companies leading to the death of Brian McLinden who's only wish was  to give up smoking.

It is not just the pharmaceutical companies who share the blame, the tobacco control lobby who are funded by and have financial interests in Chantix are equally guilty:

ASH declared interest in GlaxoSmithKline, 2001 In 2001, then head of Action on Smoking and Health Clive Bates  The letter says:

That Action on Smoking and Health had a 'small holding' in GSK that Action on Smoking and Health was instrumental in getting smoking cessation treatments accepted by the Department of Health in London wrote to the Chief Executive Officer of GlaxoSmithKline, protesting at the appointment of a tobacco industry representative Derek Bonham on its board of directors. Bates felt that a conflict of interest was involved.
The public already in 2001 had identified collusion between pharmaceutical and tobacco interests:

"There are already campaign groups that claim the tobacco industry and pharmaceutical industry have a symbiotic relationship that is parasitic on the smoker. I believe it would be highly damaging to the category, to the company and the industry as a whole would be highly damaging to feed that cynical perception."

News to me if the public had any such 'cynical' perception ten years ago.
H/T F2C (Scotland.)

The latest news on Chantix comes from the group suing Pfizer.
If Pfizer are willing to settle out of court then that is a tacit admission that they know their products cause harm and even death, I call on Pfizer and GSK to withdraw these products from sale under the Precautionary principle  and for the Health department to remove them from the prescription lists.
Would you not agree then that ASH’s only interest in reducing smoking is purely financial?

It would appear that the TVECA certainly agree on the dangers of Chantix.

ASH do you still say Chantix is safe?
John Watson


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