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« Taking (RAND) Europe to task | Main | Tobacco Products Directive 2001/37/EC - update »

Forest slams ASH Scotland's new anti-smoking drive

ASH Scotland will today publish an "ambitious and radical document outlining 33 recommendations for a new Scottish tobacco control strategy". We were tipped off yesterday afternoon which gave us just enough time to respond as follows:


Simon Clark, director of the smokers' lobby group Forest, has slammed an "ambitious and radical document outlining 33 recommendations for a new Scottish tobacco control strategy" and questioned the use of public money to fund anti-tobacco groups such as ASH Scotland.

Clark said: "The Scottish Government needs to review its tobacco control strategy but not in the way ASH Scotland has in mind.

"Smoking bans, display bans and other initiatives are designed not to educate but to denormalise smokers and make them feel embarrassed, guilty or worse. This is unacceptable and quite possibly counter-productive. Smokers are reaching for their fags in defiance and who can blame them?

"Having replaced education with coercion the tobacco control lobby needs to have a reality check because the way they are behaving is incompatible with a tolerant, liberal society.

"The public smoking ban was a hugely disproportionate response to the effects of second-hand smoke. There is no evidence that a tobacco display ban will reduce youth smoking rates and yet ASH Scotland wants the Government to go even further. Very soon they will be telling us what we can and can't do in our own homes and in the open air.

"Smokers make a huge financial contribution to the public purse and they have every right to consume a legal product without being harassed or stigmatised."

Clark also questioned the use of public money to fund ASH Scotland's anti-smoking activities.

"ASH Scotland is the tip of a huge tobacco control industry.

"In 2008-09 ASH Scotland received £921,837 from the Scottish Government. In December 2009 they received a further £500,000 grant from the Big Lottery to fund a three-year research project into smoke-free homes in Scotland.

"At a time when governments are reviewing public spending we would seriously question the use of public money to fund a group that employs almost three times as many staff as its sister organisation in England.

"How can that possibly be justified at a time when all taxpayers, smokers and non-smokers alike, are being asked to tighten their belts?"

The Scotsman has the story HERE.

Reader Comments (38)

"33 recommendations for a new Scottish tobacco control strategy............"

Thirty-three ? Jeeez...................................

In strictly economic terms, I wonder how many Quangos it costs to run HMS 'Ark Royal' ?

Never mind. At least this cheery bit of news nails forever the myth that this nation 'no longer produces anything': it can still spew out 'recommendations' - and MUST now be a World-Leader in this regard, surely ?

God, but it stirs my patriotic heart....................................

October 20, 2010 at 6:34 | Unregistered CommenterMartin V

Here's another one Simon

Sheila Duffy calls for smoking prevention to be protected from cuts because it's cheap and effective. You can comment.

October 20, 2010 at 10:00 | Unregistered CommenterBelinda

Cheap!!!!??? Effective!!!!!???? WE're losing 7000 troops, Ark Royal, University funding has been slashed and I haven't even see today's cuts announcement..... yet ASH continues to gobble up my tax money to spew lies and bile unhindered Un-be-****ing-lievable.

October 20, 2010 at 11:53 | Unregistered CommenterMr A

I noticed the Scotsman article did not bother to mention the funding part of Simon's statement.
Edited ?

October 20, 2010 at 12:39 | Unregistered CommenterSpecky

You state quite rightly Simon, that the public smoking ban was a hugely disproportionate response to the effects of second-hand smoke.

But disproportionate in what way?

You mentioned that the ban was designed not to educate but to denormalise smokers. Again spot-on, but I do not feel that your response covers the "one big question", which is "is second-hand smoke" dangerous?

I feel that this was a big chance for the Smokers Lobby, to demand an independent tribunal, with a head to head debate with the anti-smokers lobby, with each side producing scientifically based facts to back up their assertions. The tribunal should have an independent adjudicator, who would sum up all the evidence from both sides and deliver his/her verdict based upon the evidence received.

As far as I know, there has never been any real scientific evidence produced to prove second-hand smoke to be dangerous, but there has been much to prove just the opposite. With this in mind, why are we still bowing and scraping to anti-smoking lobbies such as ASH?

I say they need challenging, they are not just being intolerant, and anti-liberal. They are producing false evidence and using it, not to protect the public's health, as they claim, but to protect their own self acclaimed, and highly costly jobs.

ASH Scotland, might be spending more of our money than its sister organisation in England, but that alone doesn't set it aside for 'special' treatment, I say that both the Scottish and the English branches of this self-serving organisation should be investigated and challenged, and all their funding stopped until an independent tribunal publishes its findings on them.

October 20, 2010 at 13:22 | Unregistered CommenterPeter Thurgood

If ASH Scotland supports "denormalisation" as defined by the BMJ in Australia, then they are supporting hate crime and "Smokers as malodourous, Smokers as litterers, Smokers as unattractive, and undesirable housemates, Smokers as undereducated and a social underclass, Smokers as excessive users of public health services, Smokers as employer liabilities."

In other words, with tax payers money they are causing people in a minority group to be shunned and avoided in their communities after they have made them jobless and homeless. Why is Govt supporting this?

I never much liked the Hitler and Nazi comparison of Jews and Smokers but when you actually read the above from their own mouths, it is hard not to think that there is a Govt Backed hate campaign against us. Where will it eventually lead? Certainly the incarceration of smokers in prison when they eventually make tobacco illegal and prosecute "users" to the full force of the law.

I sincerely believe that Shiela Duffy and Deboprah Arnott should be prosecuted under hate crime legislation. The fraudulent issue of SHS would then be debated and tested and found to be what it is - a minor irritation best avoided by the very small minority who hate it and hate those who use tobacco.

I've asked for help on my blog in bringing a private prosecution. I've asked if there are any lawyers in this "movement" who could help with advice and representation. Smokers have indicated they would be willing to donate for this purpose.

Well? Is there no one out there willing to help us with this? I ask again here.

October 20, 2010 at 14:39 | Unregistered CommenterPat Nurse

"I've asked for help on my blog in bringing a private prosecution. I've asked if there are any lawyers in this "movement" who could help with advice and representation. Smokers have indicated they would be willing to donate for this purpose.

Well? Is there no one out there willing to help us with this? I ask again here"


Try a pm to Grumpole over at f2c, I`ve often wondered why no-one has taken legal action against these people.

October 20, 2010 at 14:58 | Unregistered Commentercarl

English Charlie responded to the article in the Scotsman and said
"Children who were brought up in the 1950s and 1960s when smoking was far more common are the healthiest generation ever.
Increases in tax on cigarettes lead to an increase in smuggling."

He is so right! After all, it is the generations who smoked and grew up with family smoking all around them that are the ones now living too long and putting too much strain on the government's pension funds!

If smoking were so bad, why are these people and their offspring living longer than ever before? A question the likes of ASH conveniently forget to address, methinks!

Perhaps ASH would be better turning their attention to how best protect children from the effects of the far more deadly exhaust fumes that are mostly pumped out at child height! Most lorries that do not have exhausts that emit above the vehicle have their exhaust on the side of the pavement, thus pushing their toxins directly into the faces of children! Surely this is far more harmful than anyone smoking in a car!

October 20, 2010 at 15:05 | Unregistered CommenterLyn

This is also mentioned in The Courier coverage of the story.

"The charity also wants to introduce an incentive scheme for retailers who choose not to sell tobacco......."

This is part of their plan to reduce the availability of tobacco products, in other words "CHOICE" .

October 20, 2010 at 15:22 | Unregistered CommenterEddie Douthwaite

Carl - who is Grumpole and how do I contact him? I suspect the reason no one has taken action before is because we smokers are ordinary consumers who have no money to do this. Legal action is costly and no one funds us. We are lucky that the tobacco industry at least gives us Simon and Forest or we would go from having little hope no hope..

The hate aspect of this issue has only increased as the next stage after first getting the public onside to exclude smokers socially. ASH et al, now know they have the public's approval to enforce their hatred upon us. After all, Hitler also initially got the German people onside in his personal hatred of Jews using the same kind of language as ASH uses today against smokers.

October 20, 2010 at 15:31 | Unregistered CommenterPat Nurse

I agree wholeheartedly with the sentiments expressed by Peter and Pat. I can't comment on your blog, Pat, because I don't have the right ID but I'd be willing to donate for the express purpose of exposing the 'science' on which the ban is based and exposing ASH as the deceivers they are. It's a piity we never tried to enlist Anna Raccoon's help before she disappeared from the blogosphere.

Now is the time to do this - as Mr A says, the Government is making deep cuts that have serious consequences and is in no position to generously fund the likes of ASH which doesn't provide value for money and can hardly be said to speak for the electorate when it wouldn't survive five minuites if self-funded. Even if we can't stretch to anything grand, an information pack to our MPs which exposes ASH wouldn't go amiss.

October 20, 2010 at 15:51 | Unregistered CommenterJoyce

...BTW, I noticed in The Scotsman article that they're wanting profits from the tobacco companies to fund anti-smoking measures,,,.

Is there no end to their cheek? s'truth!!!

October 20, 2010 at 15:55 | Unregistered CommenterJoyce

Tobacco Denormalization and Stigma

"In fact, many tobacco denormalization programs tend to embrace the stigmatization of smokers as a public health tool.

Stigma is achieved through a moralization of smoking. For instance, public education campaigns on the adverse health outcomes of smoking paints those who smoke as engaging in morally reprehensible behaviour.

The philosopher Martha Nussbaum, for instance, has argued that humiliating or dehumanizing the victim is “central” for stigma to be enacted, and, following Goffman, the stigmatized person has to recognize this humiliation (spoiled identity) as a reality.

Such an effort at manipulating the mores of society has clear implications for persons living with psychiatric illness. As UBC‘s Kirsten Bell and colleagues notice, “denormalization policies have the effect of sanctioning stigma implicitly directed towards a particular segment of the population: the segment with the least ability and/or willingness to quit”

Interestingly, denomalization programs are antithetical to public health efforts which are focused on eradicating stigma – particularly around eliminating negative public perceptions of people who use illicit drugs.

However advocates such as Bayer argue that the burden of stigmatizing denormalization policies imposed on vulnerable populations (e.g., individuals living with psychiatric illness) is justified by the (potential) benefits to that population."

That's why people have to do that huddled and shunned without adequate shelter thing, if they want to smoke a cigarette in public.
In obeying the law , you conform to the desired stereotype.

October 20, 2010 at 16:14 | Unregistered CommenterRose2

Sadly Joyce, they've conned naive and frankly stupid or bigoted MPs to believe that what they do SAVES money. This has to come from a bigoted stance as the figures of the alleged costs of treating smokers on the NHS is far outweighed and covered many times by the tax smokers pay to the NHS.

It's stupid. It's false, it's lies, and the science doesn't back it up so it has to be mutual hatred by those in Govt that pays for ASH's funding.

The only reason they are now demanding tobacco companies pay for anti-smoking propaganda is that they fear they'll lose their jobs in cuts. This is also a way that Govt can continue the hatred and persecution of a minority group while deflecting any criticism that their hate is costing the public purse. I seem to recall the Jews paid for their own persecution under the Nazis too. It's sinister how many similarities there are.

It will never stop unless we take action. Legal action has to be our first shot.

I went to Anna Racoon for help, advice and support and that's when I found she left the blogosphere after being bullied away by other blogger nutters who got at her family somehow. I was too late but what she did for Nick Hogan should be an inspiration to us all.

October 20, 2010 at 16:18 | Unregistered CommenterPat Nurse

The Tobacco Companies have the money, THEY should take Legal Action to expose the fraud of Second Hand Smoke. The cost would be PEANUTS in relation to their profits.

October 20, 2010 at 16:55 | Unregistered CommenterEddie Douthwaite

The tobacco companies will never take legal action Eddie. You only have to take a look at another thread on here, "Tobacco: who's in control?". At the end of the video, which I believe was produced by BAT Industries, a disclaimer comes up onto the screen, stating "Smoking is the cause of serious and fatal diseases so we agree that tobacco products should be regulated appropriately".

These people are so scared of being sued that they are admitting to things that are not fully proven. They say "Smoking is the cause of serious and fatal diseases", when they should be saying, "Smoking could cause serious and fatal diseases in some people".

For don't we all know people who live to ripe old ages, in good health, who have smoked all their lives? Of course we do, which proves beyond a doubt that smoking does not cause serious and fatal diseases in all people.

So why do these massive companies, with all their money, fear speaking the truth? Only one reason that I can put my finger on, and that is the fear of being sued, and as we all know, being sued in the USA can involve millions of dollars, if not billions and open the floodgates to certain bankruptcy.

If we want action, it needs to be taken by MPs and private individuals. We need to get backing for a private enquiry.

October 20, 2010 at 17:17 | Unregistered CommenterPeter Thurgood


This is not about smoking but Second Hand Smoke.

October 20, 2010 at 17:22 | Unregistered CommenterEddie Douthwaite

I think they are legally prevented from doing so Peter because of various tobacco control agreements they have been forced to sign. The message at the bottom of the vid is probably also a legal requirement bearing in mind they have to by law warn us on packets and with graphic images.

Perhaps Simon can tell us why the tobacco companies won't help us by funding and supporting legal action. Would we want it anyway bearing in mind that tobacco funding is ready made ammo for the likes of ASH?

We cannot wait for them to help us. We must take action now and we must do it ourselves.

October 20, 2010 at 17:26 | Unregistered CommenterPat Nurse

Eddie - it's not about SHS or health. It's about hate. SHS and health are the excuses to get legal backing for that hatred.

October 20, 2010 at 17:38 | Unregistered CommenterPat Nurse

Have blogged Sheila's output today

I am still worried that the likes of ASH would come up with a whizz legal team that persuaded the judge that everything was in the best interests of our health and that hate crimes don't count against smokers. A loss on that argument would be catastrophic and not just on our wallets (and we WOULD have to bear the burden of proof). They can easily afford appeals too.

October 20, 2010 at 17:41 | Unregistered CommenterBelinda

I do know it is about second-hand smoke Eddie, but to even think of asking any company that admits (even though it is probably wrong) that the product they are selling is killing people to become involved in a legal action suit, is not even worth thinking about.

If they say their products are killing people, and they are still selling them, then they would be seen as morally irresponsible, and anything they said could not be taken seriously in a court of law, and that would obviously include any facts they might produce on second hand smoke.

October 20, 2010 at 17:59 | Unregistered CommenterPeter Thurgood

Belinda - I fear we have nothing to lose. It is our last hope before criminalisation. My guess is tobacco WILL be illegal after the next election if we get the same old liblabcon party in again. I do not want to spend my old age in fear of prosecution for doing something generations of my family have done and I have done almost all of my life.

October 20, 2010 at 18:39 | Unregistered CommenterPat Nurse


If the supposed risk of Second Hand Smoke was judged in a Court of law to have been exadgerated or was non-existant then the whole Tobacco Control movement would be stopped in it's tracks.

A public examination of the "science" involved would be on record for everyone to see.

October 20, 2010 at 19:59 | Unregistered CommenterEddie Douthwaite

Lyn. What alarms me is that many in the anti smoking movement today do not even realise what you said about the older generation having grown up when people smoked everywehere. They honestly never experienced the smoke filled cinema or doctor's waiting room. That probably includes Duffy, who is not as old as she looks. Did you know that the generation who lived in a smoke filled society, including factories and coal fires, and not forgetting the smogs, are now living so long that £23billion pounds is spent on dementia?

Peter. I am not sure that Simon is quite so passionate regarding the SHS question. Sorry if I am wrong Simon, but I have not seen anything indicating a change in your view that 'the jury is still out on this one'.

October 21, 2010 at 0:05 | Unregistered Commentertimbone

Pat Nurse, I will happliy donate towards a legal action to bring the downfall of ASH and attendant parasites. It would make my day!!! I did a large contribution towards the Judicial reveiw raised by F2c back in 2007 i think it was. Unfortnately it proved to be too expensive to follow through.

October 21, 2010 at 6:48 | Unregistered CommenterPeter James

We all like debating on this site, otherwise we wouldn't be here, and I do like answers to my posts, but can I just ask anybody who wants to answer me, to please read my posts carefully before responding?

October 21, 2010 at 9:38 | Unregistered CommenterPeter Thurgood

Does anybody know of any court case (in UK in partic.) relating to SHS that has succeeded?

I've mentioned before that I'm only aware of two relating to smoking and both failed. One for developing Lung Cancer in Scotland was kicked out as the Judge said general statistics in the population could not be applied to a specific case. An ex landlady sued on Teeside for a throat problem claiming SHS as the cause. The Judge said there was no evidence at all of this and was more likely caused by her permanent shouting. I seem to remember that major case in the US was about nicotine addiction, not development of illness.

I doubt it would ever win in a court and will likely never get near one. This is the problem. Its all done politically and therefore has to be dealt with politically.

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October 21, 2010 at 12:22 | Unregistered CommenterFrank

Why does Simon allow these spammers on here in the first place?

October 21, 2010 at 14:13 | Unregistered CommenterBill

I don't, if I can help it. The blog is not moderated at present which makes it a little vulnerable. If it became a serious problem I would reintroduce moderation. When spam comments appear I usually delete them and report them to the host server. I this instance, by the time I spotted them Frank had already commented and I didn't want to delete his comment as well!

Note to readers: ignore them and they will be deleted sooner rather than later.

October 21, 2010 at 15:01 | Unregistered CommenterSimon Clark

I think to legislate that people stand outside in fifty percent enclosed shelters, so they may smoke is on a par with hate crime and is discrimination. To ban venues exclusively for the use of smokers and their tolerant friends probably breaches human rights legislation. I agree with Pat, making people stand outside public buildings like lepers on the street is disproportionate, unnecessary and ultimately about control and hatred.

October 21, 2010 at 16:24 | Unregistered CommenterMalcolm

The Tobacco Control Cross Part Group at the Scottish Parliament - Minutes of Meting held on 3rd December 2009.

They mention " Smoking in Cars".

Also note the representation from " Charities ?" and other Organisations.

More information here, like the Organisational Members:-

ASH Scotland (Jeanette Campbell, Philippa Bonella, Sheila Duffy)
Asthma UK Scotland (Gordon Brown)
British Heart Foundation (Ben McKendrick)
British Lung Foundation (Michael Bews, Richard Dietrich)
BMA (Gail Grant, Beatrice Morrice, Helen Reilly)
Cancer Research UK (Vicky Crichton)
NHS Health Scotland (Andrew Harris, Paula Macdermid)
Institute of Social Marketing (Ingrid Holme, DR Crawford Moodie)
Macmillan Cancer Support (Peter Hastie, Kate Seymour)
Marie Curie Cancer Care (Lorena Brogan, Maggie White)
Roy Castle Lung Cancer Foundation (Jennifer Dickson)
Royal College of Nursing (Geoff Earl)
The Royal Environmental Health Institute of Scotland (Tom Bell)
The Stroke Association ( Angela MacLeod)

October 21, 2010 at 16:39 | Unregistered CommenterEddie Douthwaite

Much obliged, Simon. Merry Christmas.

October 21, 2010 at 16:46 | Unregistered CommenterFrank

No Comments on my last post ? . Funny

October 21, 2010 at 18:19 | Unregistered CommenterEddie Douthwaite

Timbone, I am sure that you are right in what you say.

The next question, I guess, is how we go about educating these fresh out of nappies idiots who think they are capable and worldly wise enough to advise governments?

Perhaps we should sit them in a darkened room and run the first 20 years of Coronation Street! At least that would show them a little of what life for ordinary folk was like back in the 'Good Old Days'.

Sorry to be flippant, but I guess it is that or cry and if I were to start crying I am not sure that I would be able to stop as the total helplessness and hopelessness would be overwhelming. It does so feel hopeless at times - like banging our heads against a brick wall.

October 21, 2010 at 18:45 | Unregistered CommenterLyn

I do know it is about second-hand smoke Eddie, but to even think of asking any company that admits (even though it is probably wrong) that the product they are selling is killing people to become involved in a legal action suit, is not even worth thinking about.

I agree, but big tobacco earn from all sides. Big tobacco supply big pharma with nicotine for their NRT. Big tobacco earn a profit from smokers themselves. Big Tobacco, Phillip Morris, at least is colluding with the FDA in the USA.

So all round the tobacco companies are alright Jack, they couldn't get a flying fig about their customers. That was obvious from the smuggling video, it was hailed as at last they're standing up for themselves, sorry but I never viewed it that way, in fact if I hadn't know it was made by BAT I'd have said, especially after the warnings, that it was an ASH production.

All in all as long as the companies earn their money smokers mean nothing to them, they're just a means to and end, money. The same as smokers are a menas to an end to ASAH et al.

What big tobacco should've done years ago when all this first started and they lost in court in the US was to say we won't be able to pay the master settlement over 25 years because we're shutting up shop.

End of lucrative taxes for the governments and end of tobacco control.

Could be Duffy is after tobacco profits because she's seen how lucrative the MS has been and wants in on the act so their jobs are safe for another 20 years.

I've never hated people more than I hate the anti-smoking mafia.

October 25, 2010 at 2:36 | Unregistered CommenterMary

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