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« ASH and Forest AGMs: spot the difference | Main | Policy Exchange: words fail me, too »

ASH and Policy Exchange - the plot thickens

Great find by Dave Atherton Mark Wallace of The Taxpayers Alliance (see comment below and on the previous post).

It seems that Policy Exchange's Henry Featherstone, author of the report that calls for a five per cent increase in tobacco taxation, not only attended the ASH AGM on December 10, 2009, he even tweeted about it:

At ASH AGM last night. Smoking still bad for inequality ... something must be done ...

Well, well, well. (Click HERE for the evidence.)

The plot thickens.

PS. Henry doesn't tweet much. I don't think he'll be tweeting very often in the future either.

Reader Comments (6)

Mark Wallace deserves the real credit as he posted it on ConservativeHome. However I have found much much more, that is even better. More to come tomorrow.

March 18, 2010 at 21:55 | Unregistered CommenterDave Atherton

After carefull research, following the figures of this report, the assumption is not only a questionable, but it seriously damages the creditability of similar statistic researches.

Actually it is a more of a joke.

It begins with the sensesionalistic figure of reported deaths due to smoking and i quote:

"First, let’s be clear that smoking remains the biggest single preventable cause of death and serious disease in our society – 83,000 deaths in England last year"

Now following the same trail of references in Exchange's own report (3), quotes lead to reports by NHS which attribute causes of deaths as follows:

"It is estimated that in 2008, 35% (23,200) of all deaths due to respiratory diseases and 29% (37,700) of all cancer deaths were attributable to smoking. In addition, an estimated 14% (21,600) of deaths from circulatory diseases and 1,400 (6%) deaths from diseases of the digestive system were attributable to smoking."

First of all the report does not mention the evidence being found for that attribution (as usually the term that would have been used is 'directly linked' - and would provide referenced matirial evidence) - the methodology being referred to and can be found under Appendix C in the same report is purely statistical and not medical).

Secondly, forgive me if I'm mistaken, but isn't it odd that the figures are strinklgly similiar to
cancer trends (aprox 29% as seen in - founds under

Oddly, If I may theorise under those figures, it is far more likely for 29% of people who died from respiratory failure to have been smokers by default (aha) - rather than to have *actually* died as a result of respiratory failure because of smoking. To back up the theory, what about the smoking habits of the other 71%? Respiratory failire without smoking?

Dispite the fact that smoking trends tend to decline, the respiratory failure (being referred as 'lung cancer' - erroneously in my opinion but on the other hand I'm not going to debate terminology here,) is keeping the same?

Oddily some of those figures are to be found in reports dating back in the 1950?! (i.e. 4. Mills CA, P.M., Tobacco smoking habits and cancer of the mouth and respiratory system. Cancer Res, 1950. 10: p. 539-42) - isn't that a bit dated?

What is going on here? Is this some sort of blunder? Or people supposidly educated in the highest degree (I would assume you have to to be part of a think tank) have trouble understanding reports, figures and charts?

In my personal opinion the figures being quoted are the tale of a friend's friend - misinterpeted and back up with seriously questionable evidence, which seems to increase in gravity as the reports are passed from one person to another, but without being equally backed up with additinal evidence.

Maybe someone from FOREST (more qualified than me) can actually follow those reports up and check the referenced material through and through; I believe there's treasure to be found.

March 18, 2010 at 23:39 | Unregistered CommenterSotirios Mitsis

Henry Featherhead has a distinctly Miliband-ish look about him.

That alone would tend to put me off................

March 19, 2010 at 3:47 | Unregistered CommenterMartin V

Gosh, that ASH meet looks a real jolly.

Was everyone else outside having a sly drag?

March 19, 2010 at 8:07 | Unregistered CommenterJoseph K

Just finished reading the report from Dick Puddlecote. Wow! Exchange Policy could really stand to learn something about how a reflective report should be put together.

Well done.

I believe its just about the right time for smokers to go on the offensive. Here's an idea. How about publicizing a report on how much impact the anti-smoking campains actually have on NHS (and in effect goverments budgets) - including all the interesting bits like TV ads - information leaflets and so on?

If the tax payers (even the non smokers that is) were made aware of how much they end up paying for all the social engineering (which btw is being refer to by Exchange and other parties related as 'symbolic taxing'), they just might start taking a different view on this debate.

Just a thought.

March 20, 2010 at 2:37 | Unregistered CommenterSotirios Mitsis

I'd say the guy on the right has perfected the art of sleeping with his eyes open for these sort of lying agenda meetings of corrupt misuse of junk science.
Looks like he's heard it all before and finds these obligatory meetings a great antidote to a good nights sleep.
Out going Chair! Wonder have they copped him on.

March 20, 2010 at 10:31 | Unregistered Commenterann

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