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Tricks of the (anti-smoking) trade

Today's London Evening Standard reveals disturbing evidence of more dirty tricks by the anti-smoking lobby ahead of next week's crucial vote on Clauses 19 and 20 of the Health Bill in the House of Lords (see previous posts).

According to the City Spy column:

A critical vote in the House of Lords is looming next week for small newsagents who are being seriously threatened by plans to prevent tobacco products going on display across Britain. Cigarettes would have to be sold from out of sight under the counter under new legislation.

The vote is due next Wednesday, and retailers are extremely upset. They say the move will damage their businesses — especially as it could cost £1500 to install a special gantry to store the products.

The Ministry of Health asked anti-smoking organisation ASH (which is hardly a disinterested party) to check on the cost, and it claimed the figure for the gantries was just £120. This figure was sent by health minister Lord Darzi to every member of the House of Lords.

When the supplier, 4 Solutions of Canada, heard about this, it pointed out the individual cost would be approximately £450 — and this did not include any of the installation costs, which would be around £1000. They also pointed out that the costs of the gantries for all the outlets in Britain could be over £30 million.

Neither ASH nor the Ministry of Health has corrected the information they have given to the members of the House of Lords in advance of the vote.

Given the lack of evidence to justify a ban on tobacco displays, this is just the latest in a series of scandalous attempts to "persuade" politicians to support a ban.

Note: you can do your bit by forwarding this article to as many people as possible. Click HERE.

Reader Comments (7)

Simon, why should we be surprised? After all, ASH and their cohorts are doing nothing out of the ordinary here - they are still spreading lies and more lies and ignoring any truths that get up and smack them in the face! Nothing new.

I believe you/Forest are advising the Lords of various discrepancies in what they have been told by the likes of ASH and the DoH, etc - is it too late to advise them of this scam as well?

May 1, 2009 at 13:02 | Unregistered CommenterLyn

So ASH are now shopfitting experts are they? I'm sure most Peers are smart enough to realise it is nonsense, I guess the most important people to forward this to are the members of the House of Lords.

May 1, 2009 at 13:06 | Unregistered Commenterjon

I spoke to my corner shop. His very nice gantry was paid for by the tobacco industry. Plus some cash on top for placing the packs in a certain order. No doubt the tobacco industry will be paying for whatever changes needed. The industry even pays tesco and sainsbury for the massive presentational displays (aka advertising) that welcome all shoppers.

So, real net cost to shopkeepers I guarantee will be ZERO.


May 1, 2009 at 23:25 | Unregistered CommenterSonny D

I went to my local shop yesterday and a lady asked for a packet of cigarettes. She was given the wrong packet and was able to point to the packet she wanted. How would this woman get on if such a ban was passed?

May 2, 2009 at 8:02 | Unregistered Commenterchas

Not much of a comment I know, but I get the Evening Standard every night, and this article wasn't in my paper yesterday?

May 2, 2009 at 17:58 | Unregistered CommenterPeter Thurgood

Peter. I have found it on their web site:

May 2, 2009 at 20:49 | Unregistered Commenterchas

I'll be amazed if we don't have this nonsense inflicted upon us. It shows how stupid our politicians are when they consult ASH. After all, if they haven't twigged on to the fact that ASH are a bunch of compulsive liars yet, they never will.

May 3, 2009 at 9:05 | Unregistered CommenterBlad Tolstoy

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