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« ASH and Policy Exchange - the plot thickens | Main | Pledges for progress »

Policy Exchange: words fail me, too

Last year, at the Conservative party conference in Manchester, I was a panellist at a fringe meeting organised by the influential Conservative think tank Policy Exchange (see HERE).

My words obviously carried some weight (I'm being sarcastic) because Policy Exchange has today joined ASH in calling for a five per cent increase in tobacco taxation.

In an email to supporters, Neil O'Brien, director of Policy Exchange, writes:

Dear Friend

Whilst tax on tobacco contributes £10 billion annually to the Treasury coffers, the true costs to society from smoking are far higher, at £13.74 billion, think thank Policy Exchange’s latest report finds. This cost is made up of the cost of treating smokers on the NHS (£2.7 billion) but also the loss in productivity from smoking breaks (£2.9 billion) and increased absenteeism (£2.5 billion); the cost of cleaning up cigarette butts (£342 million); the cost of fires (£507 million), and also the loss in economic output from the deaths of smokers (£4.1 billion) and passive smokers (£713 million).

The report, Cough Up, calculates that of this £13.74 billion, cigarettes – which comprise 93.3% of the tobacco market - cost us £12.82 billion a year. Currently, a pack of cigarettes costs just £6.13. But this would need to be increased to at least £7.42 for cigarettes to be revenue neutral to society and their true cost reflected by their price.

Henry Featherstone, Head of Policy Exchange’s health and social care unit and author of the report, said:

“Smoking is the single, largest preventable cause of serious ill health and kills tens of thousands of people in England every year. It is a popular myth that smoking is a net contributor to the economy – our research finds that every single cigarette smoked costs the country 6.5 pence. In order to balance income and costs, tobacco duty should be progressively increased until the full societal cost of smoking is met through taxation.

“As a start, the next Budget should increase tobacco duty by 5 per cent – this will reduce tobacco consumption by 2.5 per cent, and provide an additional £400 million for the Treasury. A proportion of this extra revenue should be put towards helping people quit, and in particular reaching hard-to-reach groups like pregnant teenagers. Targeted action like this would help reduce England’s growing health inequalities, whereby those on lower incomes suffer more ill health, which can largely be attributed to smoking.”

In the words of Julian Harris, director of Liberal Vision, "Words fail me."

Click HERE for a full copy of the report. Cough, splutter.

H/T Julian Harris

References (1)

References allow you to track sources for this article, as well as articles that were written in response to this article.
  • Response
    It really is quite an appalling mess from Policy Exchange, smells distinctly of obsequious rent-seeking, and author Henry Featherstone should be thoroughly ashamed of himself for producing it.

Reader Comments (53)

Seems Camercon and the Tories are no better than Labour when it comes to telling lies. And they wonder why they are not very far ahead in the polls. It seems the electorate are thinking 'better the devil we know' when choosing where to put their cross on polling day.

If any of these facts are actually true and smoking does kill prematurely, then these geniuses have not factored in the reduction in pension payments the Exchequer has to make given all the early deaths. In addition, the NHS must be saving a fortune on drugs, hip replacements, social care etc on those smokers who fortuitously die early. This has not been used in their calculations.

If this is the best the Tory brains can come up with, who would trust them with the finances of the country? Certainly not me...

March 18, 2010 at 13:58 | Unregistered CommenterMichael Peoples

It is quite astonishing that the less people smoke, the more people get killed by it and the more it costs! One would have thought it would be the other way round! Given that this is not the case, it would be a better policy to encourage more people to smoke because I bet with smoking at 90% of the population we would find a lot less people being killed by it and it costing a lot less. But the rule is cryptogenic diseases are only cryptogenic in people who don't smoke or drink - then it's just bad luck and a complete mystery as to what caused it. The cynical among us would think that this is all a neo-prohibitionist ruse. They are very,very funny people!

March 18, 2010 at 14:00 | Unregistered CommenterFredrik Eich

Not only am I rendered speechless I feel positively nauseous.

March 18, 2010 at 14:00 | Unregistered CommenterHeretic

You have a good point there Fredrik, clearly this reflects the new, improved definition of cause and effect so popular with with epidemiologists and junk scientists.

March 18, 2010 at 14:06 | Unregistered CommenterHeretic

"loss in productivity from smoking breaks (£2.9 billion) "
This cost is attributable to anti smoking in the work place and tobacco control. It's funny
how we were told how cheap it was to go smokefree - now it's very expensive. No surprise there then!!
Tobacco control is an expensive business it creates costs where there were none! So every year the smoking ban is in place it will cost £2.9 billion!! Another good reason to let businesses decide for themselves!

March 18, 2010 at 14:24 | Unregistered CommenterFredrik Eich

UKIP then .
I've had enough of the Conservatives.

March 18, 2010 at 14:27 | Unregistered CommenterSpecky

I wonder why smoking voters will vote Conservative. It beggars belief that they will want to be turkeys at Christmas. I think we all know that the three main parties will not consider smokers at all and the persecution will continue. If only Cameron wasn't blind to how many more votes he could get if he would just come out on the side of choice. UKIP for me too!

March 18, 2010 at 14:30 | Unregistered CommenterPat Nurse

Let me try and analyse and dismiss some of these figures.

Assumptions, male and female smokers die on average 7 years younger than non smokers, 72 and 75 respectively.

There are 12 million smokers in the UK.

The Dutch study put the lifetime costs of treating smokers as £165,000 versus £210,000 for non smokers. I.e. £45,000.

Therefore the lifetime savings to the NHS are 12,000,000 x 45,000 = £54 billion

If you annualise this out over the mean age of women and of men of 73.5 54,000,000,000/73.5 = £735 million per year.

So our net “cost” is not -£2.7 billion it is +£735 million.

Passive smoking can easily be dismissed as fiction, most smokers I know make a point of getting into to work earlier and leave later to make up time. Also if you work at a computer you are entitled to a 5 minute break under ‘elf and safety. I am yet to be sold on the idea hat smokers have more day to day sickness. The cost of cleaning the streets is irrelevant as the cleaners are there for the larger and more unsightly fast food wrappers. Fire is possible but on economic output most smokers have retired from work and living on a pension. Does not the Policy Exchange know the age of retirement is 65? The Government further saves £1 billion in old age pensions due to premature mortality of smokers.

80,000 people in this country are directly or indirectly employed by tobacco companies. So if the average salary is £25,000 a year tax, NI and employer NI works out about at £7,000 per person. Tobacco is now the UK’s largest manufacturing industry and export earner and corporation tax is £500 million pounds.

Hence 80,000 x 7,000 = £560,000,000

So let us summarise the costs and revenues.

Costs = £507 million in fires.


Tax 10,000,000,000
Net health care gain 735,000,000
Corporation tax 500,000,000
Income Tax NI 560,000,000
Pensions 1,000,000,000


So the net benefits to the government are £12,795,000,000 - £507,000,000

= £12, 288,000,000

Your move Neil O’Brien

March 18, 2010 at 15:52 | Unregistered CommenterDave Atherton

The loss of prodcutivity from smoking breaks is a myth. Far more time is lost by people surfing the internet at work and using social networking sites such as Facebook. This has always been a myth invented by anti-smoking groups.

March 18, 2010 at 16:15 | Unregistered CommenterPat Nurse

What a load of sanctimonious twaddle! The Tories really are going to lose the plot if they subscribe to this exercise of wacking on more taxes for the lower income groups under the patronising pretext of saving their lives. The smuggling reference amuses me also - I was under the impression that we were in the EU where free movement of tax paid goods was allowed? Not according to HMRC it appears! Suspect that Ukip should do well out of this and, frankly, they're almost certain to get my vote unless Dave gets real about alot of issues and forgets about his mythical "middle ground"

March 18, 2010 at 16:17 | Unregistered CommenterRichard Elsy

I think it is about time to switch allegiance from the Conservative Party. Unfortunately, however, the others are no better.

March 18, 2010 at 16:17 | Unregistered CommenterArchie Wells

smoke or not smoke well we all going to die.non smokers die of cancer not realated to die of cancer not related to its an excuse tax cigs just to get more money.were not fools tax everthing thats the goverment for you,.cars kill why not get rid and ban cars of the road,the non smokers should walk and not drive cars pollute more than a big smoke in the air,

March 18, 2010 at 17:31 | Unregistered Commentermeggie hamilton

Simple they tax us on everything at the same time rip the country off with false claims with expenses then expect to get away with it

March 18, 2010 at 17:43 | Unregistered CommenterFreemn=an

Cost of treating smokers on the NHS (£2.7 billion).

Loss in productivity from smoking breaks (£2.9 billion).
Who forced smokers outside?

Increased absenteeism (£2.5 billion).

The cost of cleaning up cigarette butts (£342 million).
We already have litter laws!

The cost of fires (£507 million).
That's why we pay house insurance!

And also the loss in economic output from the deaths of smokers (£4.1 billion) and passive smokers (£713 million).
Doesn't everybody die sooner or later? And sooner costs less in pensions!

March 18, 2010 at 18:01 | Unregistered CommenterPhil Williams

Words haven't failed me Simon! I have sent a major response to the freelance journo & the Daily Record for printing such tripe. Fantasia figures dredged up from any available possibility-yet another glorification of smoking costs in order to secure more government handouts.
"Think TAnk" hogwash, just another self styled anti tobacco quango!

March 18, 2010 at 18:14 | Unregistered CommenterPhil J

There is a hidden agenda to this nonsense ... for starters, the pharmaceutical industry is very keen on tobacco leaf ... tobacco is a plant after all - with health benefits - no less!!! jig - independent researcher.

March 18, 2010 at 18:37 | Unregistered Commenterjig London

We wonder why this country is in such a financial mess and then we see the evidence of such fantasy figures from the Conservative party think tank that they believe should justify increasing, yet again, the tax on cigarettes!

If they can't manage to get these calculations even remotely close to the facts, what chance would they have on the far bigger issues facing government - such as the horrendous debt the current government have got us into?

If families or individuals were to get into a proportionate debt, with little hope of paying it off, at least anytime soon, then the powers that be would label them as being irresponsible and incompetent. Enough said?

March 18, 2010 at 18:42 | Unregistered CommenterLyn

I've just posted the following on Conservative Home. They'll probably delete it!

Well that aroused some passions! Shall we start again?

Clearly we could debate all day long about the data presented by Policy Exchange, but I’m not going to because I would have to read their report. That would send up my blood pressure because I’ll lay bets it takes more than just a few liberties.

For a start, do they take into account other taxes and national insurance paid by smokers other than duty and VAT on tobacco? I smoke the odd Cuban cigar and in my 43 years of work I’ve paid nearly £500K in income tax and NI – never mind all the other taxes I paid via my business and when I bought things.

Another point, made in their press release, is that the suggested increase in duty will not increase smuggling. The government admits that in 2000, more than 1 cigarette in 5 smoked in the UK was smuggled and this was predicted to rise to 1 in 3 within a few years. They said that tobacco smuggling was costing over £3bn a year in lost tax revenue – that’s just tax and doesn’t reflect the gross value or quantity.

The fact is that if it’s worth it to criminals, and a big price hike will make it worth it, then criminals will increase tobacco smuggling. ‘Wars’ on things don’t work; witness the ‘war on drugs’ – that’s really worked, hasn’t it. Just take a look at the Irish experience where, despite massive enforcement efforts, and some of the biggest confiscations of smuggled tobacco of all time, smuggling is totally rife. Because it’s worth it!

My final point echoes some of the previous postings. Quite simply you can’t keep on banning things and taxing things to change people’s behaviour. That’s what the Labour party has been doing for the last 13 years. The Labour party has a predilection for bans and they introduced the smoking ban, which has obviously hit the pub industry – the statistics are undeniable with nearly 6,000 pubs closing since the ban, and the closure increased dramatically after the ban and before the recession. Indeed overall the Labour party has imposed tyranny and remorselessly taken away our freedoms – as well as robbing every taxpayer in the country.

Is this how the Conservatives want to be perceived? Like NuLabour with knobs on? Ban things and tax things to change behaviour? It would be a massive mistake if they did. Because remember that smokers are voters too and 22% of the voting population are smokers. That’s a very large ‘minority’ to pick on and alienate.

March 18, 2010 at 18:44 | Unregistered CommenterChris Oakham

Dave Atherton - I think, like Policy Exchange - that you might have missed the income tax, NI, VAT, etc paid by smokers in their lifetimes. As I recall, Tony Blair addressed the nation (like Churchill) and said I know you want a better NHS so I'm increasing NI to pay for it. He then promised more doctors and nurses and we got more box tickers - but that's another story.

March 18, 2010 at 18:47 | Unregistered CommenterChris Oakham

(Two Threads - One Gordian Knot).

David Cameron was today described as ‘gutted and appalled’ at the main proposals in the report behind the Government’s latest Green Paper on the future of the Monarchy – ‘Off With Her Head’.

The decision, in particular, to sell the Queen, the Royal Estates, and ‘all those racehorses and stuff’ to the Disney Corporation for a suggested £2 billion was described as ‘sheer madness’:

“This is absolutely typical of this incompetent, shoddy government”, the Conservative Leader said on ‘The One Show’ yesterday:

“The Monarchy is one of our most valued institutions, and has made Britain the envy of the world for generations. It’s one of the things that makes us special - like 'X Factor' and 'Eastenders'.

We could get much, much more than that at open auction”.

When pressed on exactly how his party would oppose these plans, Mr Cameron said that he would consult with “all the relevant focus groups” as a matter of urgency.

“This is not the time to do nothing”, he later added forcefully.

(BBC Report)

March 18, 2010 at 19:02 | Unregistered CommenterMartin V

I'm happy to pay tax to cover any nhs bill but some of those figures seem to me highly dubious.

How the hell do you serisusly come up with figures for the cost of people taking fag breaks??? I smoke but never at work so don't take fag breaks are smokers like me included in those calculations? And wouldn't this be an employer issue?? What's the difference between a fag break and a tea break??
So apparently banning fag breaks would settle the smokers bill??

and the passive smoking, for real??

Might as well come up with a figure for the cost to the economy of people blowing their noses at work?! it seems that ridiculous.

etc etc etc

The only figures on that list I can accept is the nhs bill and the tax revenue - the rest is just fanciful speculation, and even if those guestimations are remotely accurate would not at least some of those costs be incurred regardless of whether people smoked or not?

Are these sort of figurs seriuosly the basis of government policy - i'm actually quite shocked by it if they are!

I find it depressing that every breath of or life is now reduced to the cost of ££ in such a crass and what seems to me arbitrary way.

March 18, 2010 at 19:10 | Unregistered CommenterTom


I did not.


Tax 10,000,000,000"

March 18, 2010 at 19:15 | Unregistered CommenterDave Atherton

Two phone-calls to make tomorrow:

One to Central Office.

One to UKIP.

You could call it (for those with longer memories) The TINA Effect.....................

March 18, 2010 at 19:19 | Unregistered CommenterMartin V

Ahem, I think it's all tosh. ;-)

March 18, 2010 at 19:55 | Unregistered CommenterDick Puddlecote

Has anybody bothered to read the second part of this story, by Matt Sinclair of Tax Payers Allience? Maybe you should do so before rushing to hang yourselves with the nooses neatly supplied by Ukip.

See Matt's take on the story here

March 18, 2010 at 20:05 | Unregistered CommenterPeter Thurgood

There are so many fallacies in the Ash/Tory/Labour arguments that smoking costs outwiegh the revenues. One aspect that is not mentioned might seem rather callous, but it is really self-evident. Smoking does tend to end some people's lives prematurely, typically in their late 5o's to late 60s which is when they are mostly ceasing to be economically productive. As people give up smoking and live longer, they cost more in terms of pensions and chronic illnesses in a prolonged old age. Those costs are never quoted by the anti smoking lobby. The fact is, we will all die; the only question is when.It really seems quite good for the country if people who cease to be economically active die sooner rather than later! People know the risks. they should be trusted to run their lives accordingly. I am a non-smoker, but I support freedom and I just hate the lies peddled by our establishment politicians and by Ash.

March 18, 2010 at 20:25 | Unregistered CommenterBeaudigby

Well, if this is not final proof that the Tories are no better than this defunct Labour government, then this recommendation for tax hikes takes the biscuit. It has been lifted from the ASH book of junk science for anti-smoking measures and propaganda.

Sorry Dave, you really do not understand how ANGRY smokers are about how our social lives have been completely wrecked by the Smoking Ban. You really do not deserve a pop at the top job, do you!! This report has made the prospect of a hung parliament ever more likely or even to give good old Gordie another FIVE years - god forbid. The Tories REALLY do not get it either, do they!!!!!!

March 18, 2010 at 20:31 | Unregistered CommenterBill

So it appears that Henry Featherstone is an ASH flunky.

At ASH AGM last night. Smoking still bad for inequality...something must be done...
12:08 AM Dec 11th, 2009 via Twitterrific
Henry Featherstone

March 18, 2010 at 20:40 | Unregistered CommenterDave Atherton

The country is awash with bogus statistics, which should be scrutinised by statisticians. Brown was wrong on defence expenditure--to the Enquiry! Prof Eysenck, a brilliant statistician,said 1 in 10 smokers die of lung cancer, partly personality-related.

March 18, 2010 at 20:45 | Unregistered CommenterJ A Sutherland


You wrote "Sorry Dave, you really do not understand how ANGRY smokers are about how our social lives have been completely wrecked by the Smoking Ban"

Is that a reference to me or have you got the names mixed up?

As someone who has attends at least one political event a week, smokes 20 a day and spends probably 5-6 hours researching and writing on smoking I can only presume you have the wrong person.

March 18, 2010 at 21:52 | Unregistered CommenterDave Atherton

Just one rather Silly Little Point (where DO you start with this mountain of drivel ?), regarding:

"and also the loss in economic output from the deaths of smokers (£4.1 billion) and passive smokers (£713 million)......"

Does this mean that these workers are NEVER replaced ?

In the same way that people who RETIRE are NEVER replaced ?

In the same way that people who CHANGE JOBS are NEVER replaced ?

Oh - I get it now: this must be the result of our having 100% employment in the UK.

I always knew we were good - but not THAT good.

If this is the case, then we ought seriously to consider allowing (smokefree) IMMIGRANTS into the country. Some of them might just have the skills we need, and this fact alone should persuade our far-sighted Government to relax its 'closed borders' policy.

Should I let George Osborne know ?

Or would it just be simpler to run a search for 'Kegs - Gunpowder' on Ebay......................?

March 18, 2010 at 23:07 | Unregistered CommenterMartin V

Was trying to leave comment on Conservative Home, but it wasn't playing. Here is my comment.

If a creationist was asked to give sound reasons to justify their obsession, they would do it, with apparent evidence, especially if their income depended on it. Their pontification would be believed by those who want to believe it.
Now simply change the words ' a creationist' to 'Action on Smoking and health'.
I am truly mystified by this idea that all smokers are wheezy, sickly people, which would also suggest that all non smokers are not. I am a fifty nine year old cigarette smoker. I have been in hospital four times in my entire life, first time when I was six, last time over twenty years ago. Never for anything to do with smoking. One of those was a day visit, another for two nights. I go to the doctor about four times a decade, and I never get a cold, cough or flu.
Am I an exeption? Not that I am aware of, I know many smokers just like me.

March 18, 2010 at 23:08 | Unregistered Commentertimbone

Peter T -


"Maybe you should do so before rushing to hang yourselves with the nooses neatly supplied by Ukip."

Well, it's plain that nobody will now feel the need to supply the (Nu) Tory Party with a noose.

Why bother to hang a corpse ?

March 18, 2010 at 23:23 | Unregistered CommenterMartin V

I have voted conservative all my voting life. not anymore. UKIP will get my vote now everytime. if you are a smoker,and you want freedom to choose, you should do the same.

March 19, 2010 at 0:03 | Unregistered Commenterjulian charles

Timbone - I was trying to make a comment on Conservativehome as well. It wasn't playing for me either.

It seems comments are BANNED on this issue - from us two anyway.

Hey-ho. That's the way it goes and the way that they want it.

March 19, 2010 at 0:03 | Unregistered CommenterHelen

Helen, maybe it was a temporary blip, I have been successful now. Mind you, how long it will be there is another matter.

March 19, 2010 at 0:19 | Unregistered Commentertimbone

I've tried to comment on another article - similar topic - I'm still banned.

Funny though, I always thought that Conservativehome was mainly about the grass-route tory principles as well. Perhaps I was wrong.

March 19, 2010 at 0:27 | Unregistered CommenterHelen

On a side issue, I've smoked 20 years and had a number of jobs and NONE of them ever allowed fag breaks. Indeed, in my experience the smokers had shorter breaks as, where the non-smokers would disappear to the works kitchen and have a coffee and a natter and a 20 minute break would invariably turn into 30 minutes, the smokers would instead go outside for a fag then have 10 minutes to kill. You can't do anything in 10 minutes so they'd usually just get back to work.

That's my experience anyway.

However, the recent anti-persecution has CREATED this issue. A few years ago I'd just walk 20 yards from my office, have a fag then go back inside. Now, my campus is non-smoking (outside, too) apart from one "Smoking Patio" some 400 yeards from my office. 3000 people work at my university and there are nearly 10,000 students, so that's thousands of people traipsing around outside.... to get to another outside area.

What a waste of time and resources. And all caused by anti-tobacco.

Why doesn't someone tot up how 10% of the pub trade closing down affects tax take from the businesses and their employees; how their reduced income affects their spending in other businesses; how it affects how much time people spend traipsing around to get to smoking areas; how much is wasted on advertising and NRT treatments that don't work, and quangos and Smokefree Partnerships, and Smoking Cessation Officers etc etc.

These parasites must cost us billions. And they're so beloved by the public that they get a few thousand a year in donations.

Why do the politicians keep supporting them?

(By the way, I've had 7 sick days in 10 years and have been in hospital once in my life (to get my wisdom teeth removed. So much for sickliness).

March 19, 2010 at 3:19 | Unregistered CommenterMr A

J A Sutherland -

Yes, Eysenk was indeed brilliant (and highly resistant to bullshit).

But even he exaggerated the effect of smoking by A LONG WAY - in terms of deaths from lung cancer.

Check this site out (age-adjusted, based on statistics supplied by the WHO and the CIA !):

These are the sort of stats that seem (mysteriously) to slip under the Arnott Radar System.

For example:

In the USA (the 'worst' country), the estimated deaths from lung cancer per 100,000 MALE smokers are 306.

That - according to my calculator - is 0.3%.

While in Japan, the figure drops to 81 (ie less than ONE TENTH of a percent).

Doubtless, such figures will be controverted - but, even so, they hardly support the Black Death Scenario beloved of the Antis.

Even if they were inaccurate by a factor of TEN !

Hence, of course, the crying need to inflate these figures (astronomically) by recourse to the deliciously hazy concept of 'Smoking-Related Diseases'.

And the media hacks gobble down these porkies like an army of insatiable Billy Bunters.

When it comes to the Black Arts of Deception, the Antis leave Al Gore standing.

At any rate, there's ONE thing we CAN be certain of:

Something ain't quite right.

You were saying, Henry.................?

March 19, 2010 at 5:26 | Unregistered CommenterMartin V

Who paid Policy Exchange for this report. Because they sure won't have done it for free. We should ask and keep asking. Follow the money! £10 says its GSK or one of their front medical charities.

March 19, 2010 at 6:31 | Unregistered CommenterGawain

#David Atherton - sorry David, the "Dave" I meant was Dave or David Cameron.

March 19, 2010 at 10:04 | Unregistered CommenterBill


Thanks for the clarifiction, I broadly agree with your point.

March 19, 2010 at 12:12 | Unregistered CommenterDave Atherton

Hey here we go again Nanny knows best. What an awful counrty we live in Tax TAX Tax and more tax. How about they sort the drinkers out? At least with smoking you dont loose your friends. Alcholics drink and cause the health service more worrys than smokers. But hey I will be buying an electronic ciggie and Have to odd ciggie. As I suffer from stress. How about taxing stress ? I am voting ukip I am so tempted. The Goverenment are awful

March 19, 2010 at 14:21 | Unregistered Commenteramandah

the Conservative Party's 'Responsibility Agenda' is evidently being jetted when it comes to the regulation of tobacco and smoking?

there are health risks, and correspondingly public health costs,associated with smoking and what would really be responsible would be calls for government to get all the stakeholders together ie Dept of Health, HMRC, tobacco manufacturers and retailers and agree how best tobacco products should be made, packaged, distributed and sold
Charles Hamshaw-Thomas
CSR Solutions

March 19, 2010 at 15:46 | Unregistered Commentercharles hamshaw-thomas

J. A. Sutherland and Martin V both commented on Eysenck. So I thought I would post a link to the book he wrote in 1997, just prior to his death. It is well worth a look.
How many people does smoking actually kill?

March 19, 2010 at 19:14 | Unregistered CommenterTonyW

Here's an interesting little survey, taken from the US National Center for Health Statistics and dated 1965 (ie. before the anti-smoking bandwagon got fully under way) :

Just for a change, it focuses on chronic conditions instead of the usual lung cancer stats and, unlike most studies, divides the study respondants according to the amount they smoke.

Scroll down to the tables (p34 onwards) and check out the stats for the lowest (<11 a day) smoking group, although even the next group up (11-20 a day) gives some surprising results.

It's difficult not to interpret the figues as suggesting that moderate smoking is far from being the terrible threat to health that we're always told it is. So much so, in fact, that it makes the entire concept of 'second-hand' smoke quite ludicrous.

March 19, 2010 at 21:37 | Unregistered CommenterKaren

I was comtemplating Voting Conservative just to get Labour out even though I Favour U.K.I.P Policies but not after reading this,the Conservatives don,t deserve my vote if Smokers are to have even more persecution,my Social life and Taxi Business have been ruined as it is since the Ban was introduced,I thought that we might get an amendment of some sort if the Tories won ,some hope,U.K.I.P here I come ?

March 19, 2010 at 23:22 | Unregistered CommenterChris Whittaker

Tony W -

Many thanks for the link.

I'd love to have seen him go head-to-head with Arnott and Donaldson.

Sadly, that - like the Monckton-Gore debate many of us would cherish - just isn't going to happen now.................

March 20, 2010 at 9:42 | Unregistered CommenterMartin V

Come On!! We're being attacked on all fronts, government and opposition parties have got to, got to at some point! understand that smokers have made their decision and respect that, and its up to us to make them see that, we've got to keep up the pressure. When the smoking ban came in we sat there and took it without even a ripple of protest. We should be taking to the streets, not only to show our outrage at the constant and unjust attack on us but to show society in general that we have rights and we're prepared to defend them.

March 20, 2010 at 15:05 | Unregistered Commenterjulie

How come the journalists who print all these hand outs from researchers and scientists, who are quite obviously on the payroll of Big Pharma, Govt Quangos etc are never taken to task for printing misleading, inappropriate and non-scientific findings.
I thought it was againt journalist ethics to print a story or a report without checking out if the source or story was true, instead of just accepting the fact that its based on money and lies.
Looks to me that the govt hangers-on arent the only ones on the payroll.

March 20, 2010 at 18:42 | Unregistered Commenterann

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