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« Thrombosis? Quite possibly, prime minister | Main | Forest: cut public spending on tobacco control groups »

Now IEA calls for end to state aid for anti-tobacco groups

Following the publication of THIS Forest report on Wednesday, the director of the Institute of Economic Affairs Mark Littlewood has joined the clamour of voices calling for the Government to stop funding anti-smoking campaign groups.

Writing on the IEA blog, Littlewood comments:

No one can object to citizens establishing campaigning groups to draw attention to the potential health risks of tobacco consumption or to pharmaceutical companies aggressively lobbying to promote their alternative nicotine products, such as chewing gum and patches. But for taxpayers’ money to be given over to such causes is wholly unacceptable ...

The problem with taxpayer support of groups such as ASH is not just that it forces people to fund campaign groups they may disagree with, but that there is a danger that the public believe that such groups really are private and completely independent. There may be a debate to be had about what sort of role the Department of Health should play in encouraging or facilitating smoking cessation, but at least when you hear from a health minister you can be reasonably clear where they are coming from.

The government needs to be clear about limiting the scope of the public sector, not merely its size. Removing taxpayer-funded grants to groups such as ASH will not make a substantial impact on the deficit, but it would indicate that the government is opposed to using public funds to “load the dice” in areas of campaigning. The coalition should ensure that anti-tobacco groups are obliged to stand on their own two feet.

Full post HERE.

Reader Comments (15)

The TPA are also on the case

October 29, 2010 at 10:09 | Unregistered Commenterchas

"There may be a debate to be had about what sort of role the Department of Health should play in encouraging or facilitating smoking cessation."

We smokers pay more into the NHS than we take out. The debate on whether we are a "burden" to the NHS is over. We are not so why on earth has the Dept of Health any right to play any part in "encouraging or facilitating smoking cessation." That is a personal lifestyle choice and Govt has no business getting into our private lives or socially engineering our private behaviour.

The health dept has been doing that for the last 13 years when it should have been working on how to treat pateints better with the money it has been wasting and throwing at groups like ASH.


October 29, 2010 at 10:50 | Unregistered CommenterPat Nurse

Its great to see that Simon's report has kicked off the right reprecussions.
About time that taxpayers money is cut off from our tormentors - those bloodsuckers in ASH.
The downright cheek of them.
Its like 'Give me your money and we'll ruin your social life'.
They've got away with it for far too long

October 29, 2010 at 11:19 | Unregistered Commenterann

Kick 'em where it hurts

Keep this on the boil's bubbling away nicely!

October 29, 2010 at 11:39 | Unregistered CommenterBill

I would be slightly cautious in thinking that cutting government funding to ASH will see them disappear overnight. On the contary they will no doubt find alternative funding either from ASH International in the USA like they did in 2009, other charities such as Cancer Research or most probably the European Union.

Professor Luke Clancy of ASH Ireland has been given a wad of of our money. To be precise Clancy presides over an annual budget of Euro 344,854.68 and assets of Eu 514,681.48. As we can see from Cameron's negotiations with Brussels there is not a damn thing we can do about it.

However ASH's lack of alturism has been laid bare and the main damage to ASH is image. I have commented here before that the reason Nick Clegg in my opinion was so keen to tell everyone he smoked was the pasting he got on the Your Freedom website. It did him quite a degree of damage. ASH as I have mentioned before are an add on to the Dept Of Health and as I have learnt their tenticles reach into most corners of Westminster. They were spinning back to politicians that the ban is a great success, high compliance, even smokers like it and it is a dead issue, job done.

Err no.

In conclusion ASH's credibility is at an all time low in Westminster, think tanks, and the public, they have much work to do to been seen as "honest broker" again.

"ENSP receives financial support from the European Commission via projects within the scope of the Public Health Programme."

October 29, 2010 at 11:55 | Unregistered CommenterDave Atherton

Excellent piece. Direct, to the point. They've had too much of our money, already and we've had enough of them.

Keep chipping away.

October 29, 2010 at 12:19 | Unregistered CommenterFrank

Well done to FOREST for this report and they should keep the pressure on. Given the cuts that the people realise have to be made, the timing of this report is priceless. Continue the attack and focus on other 'easy' targets such as the EU.

How much is spent by the EU each year on tobacco control?
Detail the reports whereby EU employees and members advocate prohibition.
Publicise the links between ASH and the EU and try and get details of expenses.

I personally am pro European but not the way it operates now. However, the bulk of people are anti EU and will use any stick to beat it with. If they knew how the EU is wasting their hard earned taxes on smoker denormalisation, even the most ardent anti smoker would sympathise.

October 29, 2010 at 12:29 | Unregistered CommenterMichael Peoples

What appears to be a growing chorus of Anti-Tobacco Control dissent is hugely gratifying, I must say - and due in no small measure to the magnificcent work of Simon and his colleagues, and fellow-minded enthusiasts such as Dave Atherton.

A BIG thankyou from me for your tireless work in The Great Struggle.

I'd be bloody exhausted by now................................

October 29, 2010 at 13:10 | Unregistered CommenterMartin

Yes, Ann - The Process is, or should be by now, a familiar one:

1) An Absurd Idea is born.

2) The Masses laugh at The Absurd Idea

3) The Absurd Idea is given concrete form.

4) The Masses stop laughing.

5) The Absurd Idea grows into rude maturity.

6) The Masses accept the New Reality (too late to turn back now).

7) Job done !

And loadsa money to me made on the way.

Blimey, they'll be taxing some harmless gas in the air we breathe next......................................

(Only jokin')

October 29, 2010 at 13:30 | Unregistered CommenterMartin V

Hat tip Belinda F2C Scotland.

The potential of a tobacco display ban in New Zealand is discussed.

October 29, 2010 at 14:34 | Unregistered CommenterDave Atherton

Dave - of course ASH won't disappear without our taxes from Govt - but without Govt backing and Govt supported propaganda, the slanderous hate slurs will stop and they will have the same level playing field as any other advertiser in the market.

Without Govt support, it will also mean that it isn't a national sport to attack smokers at every turn.
What was so bad about the imposition of the blanket smoking ban was not that smokers could not "smoke where ever they liked" but that Govt gave moral backing to discrimination and called open hunting season on smokers.

Without that support, ASH et al will have to work for themselves on sound based evidence and not Govt ideological backing which is in effect what Nulabour gave them.

I find it interesting on the ConHome debate, that one raging anti says quite clearly that if choice were allowed back to the licenced trade, then "Of course many of them would reintroduce smoking and that wouldn't be right..." . An odd admission from an anti bearing in mind how many times they have been in deinal about the cause of the rapid rise in pub closures since July 2007.

October 29, 2010 at 15:59 | Unregistered CommenterPat Nurse

"Of course many of them would reintroduce smoking and that wouldn't be right..."

Lovely quote there - courtesy of Pat.

Naturally (one hopes), the Anti is correct about the consequences. I'd love to know, however, how he (?) would respond to the question: what makes HIM a better arbiter of what is 'right' than the pub landlord, his staff, and his customers ?

In the Language of Intolerance, "It wouldn't be right' = "I wouldn't like it". And that's ALL there is to it.....................

October 29, 2010 at 19:53 | Unregistered CommenterMartin V

Martin, I 'm not laughing anymore where ASH is concerned.
Seeing that their latest warning that a 'single bowl of cornflakes causes heart damage similar to that of Habitual Smokers', I'm sure that if they paid their spin doctor a million of taxpayers money he'd come up with a way to tax smokers for their personal ether.

October 30, 2010 at 10:59 | Unregistered Commenterann

No, Ann -

The Destruction of Freedom is no laughing matter, is it ?

You'd think even the Sheep would have learned THAT by now. But even when you open the gate for them, most still huddle together in the pen:

"If we let them shear us, they'll leave us alone. Won't they..........................?"

'Fraid not, Sheep !

October 30, 2010 at 12:07 | Unregistered CommenterMartin V

Hi Folks

n defience of this awfull ban of which Mickey and Mouse have no intention of amending as I have mentioned before, as they are too busy up Europes backside, my wife and I have decided to have have a party to celebrate the fight against our loss of freedoms and obviously,a certain guys birthday. Saturday 18th December. Accomodation available for five persons. Dogs welcome. Sorry, no children under 16 years. This is is a hot weekend and to hell with it. You will be very suprised at our facilities.


October 31, 2010 at 15:20 | Unregistered CommenterPeter James

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