Search This Site
Forest on Twitter

TFS on Twitter

Join Forest On Facebook

Featured Video

Friends of The Free Society


Powered by Squarespace
« Twelve good reasons | Main | Ireland: how stupid is that? »

Display ban: how ASH misled MPs

Currently at the House of Commons attending the launch of The Dark Market: How ASH and the Department of Health misled MPs about the tobacco display ban, a report by author and journalist Chris Snowdon. More to follow.

Reader Comments (42)

I'd like to know which NuLab politician was ASH's "taxi for hire". All concerned here should be prosecuted for fraud, wasting public money, and misleading the public and Parliament.

This behaviour is nothing short of criminal. Someone must be held accountable!

July 20, 2010 at 13:16 | Unregistered CommenterPat Nurse

Not to mention the fact that they where also misled about the effects of passive smoking too.
I also vaguely remember the Harpie Arnott boasting in some column or other in the Gaaaaaaaardian about how she fooled the MP's.

July 20, 2010 at 13:46 | Unregistered CommenterSpecky

Hang 'em High!!!!

July 20, 2010 at 13:50 | Unregistered CommenterPeter James

Will the MSM report on it?

July 20, 2010 at 13:52 | Unregistered CommenterSmoking Hot

Hi Patsy and Specky,

ASH's useful idiot was Lord Darzi. "Lord Darzi told the House of Lords in a letter that the costs for removing a typical 25-square-foot retail tobacco display would be £212, based on estimates received from a company (4 Solutions) involved in the Canadian display ban. But the DoH correspondence shows that Action on Smoking and Health (ASH), the most prominent anti-display organisation, was told directly by 4 Solutions that it was not correct."

Arnott speaks.

"It is essential that campaigners create the impression of inevitable success. Campaigning of this kind is literally a confidence trick: the appearance of confidence both creates confidence and demoralises the opposition. The week before the free vote we made sure the government got the message that we "knew" we were going to win and it would be better for them to be on the winning side."

July 20, 2010 at 14:15 | Unregistered CommenterDave Atherton

Delighted to hear that Chris Snowdon has the floor and the attention of MPs. Here's hoping for some rational and fair thinking as a result.

July 20, 2010 at 14:27 | Unregistered CommenterLiberty

ASH are in danger of becoming pariahs in the lobbying world, listened too only out of courtesy. I am sure all politicians expect spin from lobbiests but this is a "charity" funded by the Department Of Health and the ethical standards employed are quite unacceptable.

What has helped greatly with exposing the anti tobacco movement has been Dr.Patrick Basham and the Institute Of Economic Affairs. These people are not persistent smokers from Leytonstone (me) with a good broadband connection but scholars and academics with a truely world renoun reputation for evidence based research. The IEA is best described here.

"undoubtedly the most influential think tank in modern British history"

Andrew Marr BBC 2007 A History of Modern Britain

July 20, 2010 at 14:36 | Unregistered CommenterDave Atherton

are we to assume then that government funding of ASH will continue despite the revelations about it's unethical and deceitful tactics?

This being so, isn't it just condoning how ASH operates?

July 20, 2010 at 14:45 | Unregistered CommenterSmoking Hot

Indeed SH - Govt funding to the dishonest org ASH should stop immediately. If not, then questions must be raised about who in the ConDems is the new anti-smoking industry's "taxi for Hire".

July 20, 2010 at 14:56 | Unregistered CommenterPat Nurse

@Smoking hot

That is a tough one to answer. My gut instinct that it will be stopped as anyone can buy NRT in a chemist or even a supermarket. Philip Davies also asked Parliament recently how many civil servants were employed in "tobacco control." The answer was 7 permanent and 5 temporary people and the temps are going.

ASH will increasingly reply upon other charities for funding and John Banzhaff III's USA ASH, so they won't disappear alas.

What they have lost which is far more important is credibility.

July 20, 2010 at 15:05 | Unregistered CommenterDave Atherton

Philip Davies (Shipley, Conservative)

To ask the Secretary of State for Health how many people work in his Department's tobacco policy team; and if he will make a statement.

Hansard source (Citation: HC Deb, 15 July 2010, c890W)

Anne Milton (Parliamentary Under Secretary of State (Public Health), Health; Guildford, Conservative)

The tobacco policy team in the Department consists of seven whole-time equivalent civil servants. There are currently also five contract staff, primarily working in the area of smoking cessation delivery. The contract staff will have left the team by the end of March 2011

July 20, 2010 at 15:09 | Unregistered CommenterDave Atherton

Glad to see Chris is speaking. His original article was a masterpiece. It's either on his blog or web page. I remember trying to read and piece together various documents at the time, and after a while my head was spinning. The behaviour of ASH and the DOH is almost unbelievable.

July 20, 2010 at 15:19 | Unregistered CommenterJon

"The behaviour of ASH and the DOH is almost unbelievable." Don't excuse it, Jon. It's criminal nothing less.

July 20, 2010 at 15:40 | Unregistered CommenterPat Nurse

having read 'The Dark Market' my major concern is with Lucy Holdstock of the DoH. Arnott is involved l agree but Holdstock's actions are deplorable. lntegrity and honesty are unknown to this woman. She, along with Arnott and a lesser degree Lee, totally manufactured the cost to be as low as possible despite documented evidence before their eyes. lndeed, they eventually reached a figure of zero manufactured from thin air!

She then personally hand fed these Lords who wolfed it down and regurgitated it to all and sundry. These Lords continued to spout Holstocks lines throughout despite actual contradicting factual evidence being well known to them.

Holdstock is nothing but a lying devious b##ch, with Arnott and Lee following closely behind. These Lords fare no better. Hodlstock desreves to be fired, sadly the others remain untouchable.

July 20, 2010 at 16:05 | Unregistered CommenterSmoking Hot

SH - fraud is a criminal offence.This woman should be prosecuted.

July 20, 2010 at 16:24 | Unregistered CommenterPat Nurse

See below for original article

July 20, 2010 at 16:32 | Unregistered CommenterJon

The fact that Chris Snowdon is adressing MPs is a fantastic step forward. I hope he also has time to tell them about his - brilliant - research on his blog about the smoking ban and pub closures and put them straight about the miracle heart attack stories.

This would have been great to webcast! Or (Simon Clark) howabout a video chat with you and Chris after the event so we can get a good idea of how this went down? I bet the mainstream media are going to have little to do with it.

July 20, 2010 at 16:43 | Unregistered CommenterMark Butcher

Excellent work by Chris! And good luck to him for his presentation.

Now can we get further evidence on how ASH lies and misleads about everything it ever does, top of the list being the supposedly harmful effects of second hand smoke and how "effective" smoking bans are?

July 20, 2010 at 17:34 | Unregistered CommenterMr A

"Philip Davies also asked Parliament recently how many civil servants were employed in "tobacco control." The answer was 7 permanent and 5 temporary people and the temps are going."

I saw that the other day, Dave. I wonder if this means the end of the one day per week secondment, at the DH, of an officer from Cancer Research UK.

July 20, 2010 at 17:43 | Unregistered CommenterDick Puddlecote

Mr A

This one sets my teeth on edge.

Monday 12 January 2004

ASH and Thompsons' Tell Employers:
Don't Say You Weren't Warned Over Secondhand Smoke

The hospitality trade faces a rising threat of legal action from employees whose health is damaged by secondhand smoke, after a new tie-up between health campaigning charity Action on Smoking and Health (ASH) and the UK's largest personal injury and trade union law firm Thompsons was announced today.

ASH has sent a registered letter to all the UK's leading hospitality trade employers, warning them that the "date of guilty knowledge" under the Health and Safety at Work Act is now past, and that employers should therefore know of the risks of exposing their staff to secondhand smoke.

Employers who continue to permit smoking in the workplace are therefore likely to be held liable by the courts for any health damage caused.

ASH and Thompsons intend to use the letters in any future court cases as evidence that employers have been fully informed of the issue."

ASH and Thompsons are also planning further steps to encourage employees who believe their health has been harmed by smoking in the workplace to seek legal advice on making a claim for compensation.

These will be announced shortly."

Another "confidence trick"

July 20, 2010 at 17:50 | Unregistered CommenterRose2

Unbelievable. I'm actually getting to the point where exposing ASH for their lies and corruption is my number one priority, with the repeal of the Ban itself a distant second. They are a dangerous, dangerous organisation. And the fact that they work with our elected representatives under their cloak of "charitable status" without our permission (and often without our knowledge) using OUR tax money to fund themselves, is the ultimate insult.

Forget repealing all State funding from them. I want them outlawed as a dangerous organisation, along the lines of al-Muhajiroun.

July 20, 2010 at 18:01 | Unregistered CommenterMr A

Demoralising the opposition

2 June 2004

Trade publication the Publican is feeling decidedly bruised and sorry for itself as, a result of a smoking in the workplace conference organised by the Royal College of Physicians (RCP).

The Publican claims that the conference, whose purpose was to discuss the impact of passive smoking on employees in pubs and bars, turned into "an assault on the hospitality industry".

The Publican also drew attention to how few representatives from the trade were present - eight compared to over 100 from the medical profession and local authorities.

Licking its wounds the Publican reported that the conference only provided one slot for a trade speaker, Peter Linacre, Managing Director of massive Pubs."

ASH Political Bulletin 2004 Page7
Letter to the Publican

"We all need to be forwarned that the next growth area for the legal system will be prosecutions of publicans for not protecting staff from the dangers of ETS.Since April 27 cases have been taken on - this is the start of a tidal wave - in my view"

"Since the last political bulletin, ASH and Thompsons have launched their new hotline through a leaflet called "secondhand smoker?"

It is aimed at people who don't smoke themselves but are suffering from ill health due to exposure from tobacco smoke pollution at work.
Thompsons and ASH have been very pleased at the response so far."


July 20, 2010 at 18:46 | Unregistered CommenterRose2

Rose2 - sorry, I don't understand. Exactly who can smoke at work in this smoke-free world and where?

July 20, 2010 at 18:50 | Unregistered CommenterPat Nurse

Yes, but what gets me is why no-one called their bluff on this? This is where the SHS myth needs to be, in a court of law, where lies, intimidation and obfuscation are frowned upon most severely. Considering no-one has had exposure to SHS on their death certificate, the EU threw out that case a few years ago saying illlness caused by SHS was nearly impossible to prove, and the H&S Execuive said the dangers of SHS were minimal, I would like to see how exactly they could prove an illness was caused by SHS in the first place? There was an opportunity to put them back in their box once and for all and to put a final nail in the coffin of the SHS myth. I can see why lone publicans or restauranteurs wouldn't want to risk it but surely someone should have had the money and the balls to call their bluff on this?

July 20, 2010 at 18:56 | Unregistered CommenterMr A


No one now.


It looks more like a done deal.

"Last week saw an unprecedented attack by the medical establishment of the UK on government health policy.
In a letter to The Times on Nov 25, leaders of the 18 Royal Colleges of medicine and their faculties jointly condemn the failure of the UK government to introduce legislation to ban smoking in public places.

Unlike parts of the USA (eg, California, Connecticut, Florida, and New York State), parts of Canada, Thailand, and south Australia, which have already introduced legislation, the UK government is sticking to its position that a voluntary code is sufficient.

In response to the call in The Times, the Health Minister, Melanie Johnson, backed by John Reid, the Health Secretary, and Tony Blair, the Prime Minister, said that -

more needed to be done to persuade the public of the merits of a ban before it could be imposed."

Britain ratifies anti-tobacco treaty
DECEMBER 16, 2004

"The British Department of Health has issued a statement saying that the United Kingdom has become the latest country to ratify the World Health Organization's Framework Convention on Tobacco Control - the first global health treaty.

This commits the government to enact strict tobacco control measures.
The convention will become international law on February 28 2005.

The treaty binds the nations involved to enact comprehensive bans on tobacco advertising, promotion and sponsorship, ban the use of misleading terms such as "light" and "mild" and to increase tobacco taxation.

Campaigners are already asking the Secretary of State for Health what planning mechanisms will be put in place to ensure the UK complies with the requirements.

The announcement was hidden away in a statement about a reduction in the number of smokers in the UK."

Tony Blair's 10 Years Of Tobacco Control 2007
29 Jun 2007

"The Comment concludes: "Blair promised much for tobacco control but required considerable pressure before he delivered.

Let us hope that Gordon Brown, the new Labour Prime Minister, is able to act on the radical advice on long term planning and promotion of public health he commissioned in 2004, and responds to the nation's major public health problems with timely and powerful solutions."

"The Bloomberg initiative helps to translate the principles of the FCTC into action, with particular focus on the 15 countries where two-thirds of the world's smokers live (which include China, India, Indonesia, and Russia).
But as the sorry delays in the UK illustrate, signing up to the FCTC was the easy bit.
Implementation of all effective tobacco control policies requires sustained unwavering governmental commitment.

The short-term political costs may seem substantial, but the potential health gains are huge."

July 20, 2010 at 19:37 | Unregistered CommenterRose2

Pat .

I do not think that you read the date!

July 20, 2010 at 19:42 | Unregistered CommenterJunican

Mr A: (I'm actually getting to the point where exposing ASH for their lies and corruption is my number one priority)

If you hate the now discredited ASH as much as I do check in my single issue Facebook group:

July 20, 2010 at 19:45 | Unregistered CommenterGeorge Speller

Oh, I've seen it George. I've seen it.... ;)

July 20, 2010 at 19:56 | Unregistered CommenterMr A

For everyone's delectation - (ht to Hairy Chestnuts) here's the video of ASH getting a beating during a 1990 Select Committee meeting after trying their usual corrupt tricks. Of course, this is back in the days when politicians cared about integrity and truth rather than actually working with them.... I somehow can't imagine this happening now.

July 20, 2010 at 20:03 | Unregistered CommenterMr A

One MP turned up! .......... One! (h/t Dick Puddlecote)


July 20, 2010 at 20:10 | Unregistered CommenterSmoking Hot

... and that one MP was prob a new one who just got lost!

July 20, 2010 at 20:19 | Unregistered CommenterSmoking Hot

Junican - yes, reading glasses were on and I did read the date but wondered why it was particularly relevant now is all. We all know how the wool has been pulled over the eyes of our naive politicians in a variety of ways and how the pub co industry thought rolling over and taking it would be good for business based on false promises of increased trade.

I think, looking at Rose2's post on this aspect : "The British Department of Health has issued a statement saying that the United Kingdom has become the latest country to ratify the World Health Organization's Framework Convention on Tobacco Control - the first global health treaty." Even if our politicians announced they were sympathetic to our cause and would reintroduce choice, I don't think this treaty would allow it. Stitched up like kippers comes to mind.

Certainly we are now ruled by the Eu which demands all countries have smoking bans, and all pro-choice groups should be ignored, so I doubt whether there is anything that can be done about it unless we simply choose to ignore it as citizens but then we wouldn't would we because of our respect for those publicans who are struggling to stay afloat.

And as I'm told that just one MP attended the above Dark Market event, then the whole issue becomes even more depressing especially given the factual and intellectual work done by the esteemed Mr Snowdon. I guess Simon will update later and confirm if this is right.

I am honestly starting to think that unless these fraudsters are held to account, the truth will continue to be suppressed and unless we smokers can organise some sort of civil disobedience as a strong group, then they will continue to lie and things can and will only get worse for us. More criminalisation of smokers has to follow.

My own form of dissent is to stop buying Uk tobacco. I use what I save in UK tax to fund a cheap flight and accommodation and bring back my limit.

I will no longer pay taxes here for my own, or any other smoker's, persecution and I have resigned from all health services despite the fact I have paid into the NHS system all of my life. I would urge all who hate the way we are treated to also look at buying abroad and starving the treasury of tax.

July 20, 2010 at 20:19 | Unregistered CommenterPat Nurse

And the Youtube link. It's always nice to see ASH exposed, even if it WAS 20 years ago....

July 20, 2010 at 20:26 | Unregistered CommenterMr A

It appears that not enough people gave up smoking after Doll's study.

Our Chief Medical Officer at the time decided to do something about it.

"Godber recollected that he had said in 1962 to Keith Joseph, another of his Conservative ministers, that "we really have to do something about abolishing smoking" (having won the approval of the Health Minister Enoch Powell).

Joseph looked quite shocked and said: "You really can't expect to abolish smoking." Godber replied:
"No, but I want to see it reduced to an activity of consenting adults in private."

But they didn't feel they could force law abiding people to stop allegedly harming themselves, if they weren't harming any one else.

Medicine and the Public: The 1962 Report of the Royal College of Physicians and the New Public Health

The civil servant Enid Russell Smith, always an incisive analyst of events, commented in 1962 that government could draw in future on two things: parents' concern for their children, and the changes taking place in the medical profession.
Publicity would have the authority of the profession.

So far, she commented, the state had not sought to protect individuals from doing harm to their own health if they were not harming the health of others; alcohol was an exception to the rule, and also drugs of addiction, but for both it was the social consequences rather than individual health that was paramount.

The new line might be that the costs fell on the state, and so government should stop people from damaging their health—but, she commented presciently, once government took on this role, it would not stop at smoking"

But apparently that wasn't good enough for George Godber.

July 20, 2010 at 20:49 | Unregistered CommenterRose2

I included The Dark Market within the TICAP submission to the Scottish Government in response to their Consultation on the Tobacco Display Ban when I sent the document to them on the 18th July. They confirmed today that the document has been accepted and as a result will be published in full by the 14th August on the Scottish Government website.

Every MSP will see what has been going on and with the Scottish elections due in May 2011 will start to consider their options ...

July 20, 2010 at 20:56 | Unregistered CommenterBill Gibson

ASH and similar parasites are on a sure winner as they know the opposition
lays great store with twittering and fluttering around a tiny band of worthies
occasionally excited by the interest of an MP or two.
Some of us at trench level would be deeply appreciative if those in the high command could give the order to fix bayonets and start some meaningfull
mustering of wider support.
You see,its like this,some of us in Englands rougher quarters dont see much progress with fine words and gilded prose,in fact we are heartily brassed of
with twittering ,blogging,youtubing,facebooking,e-mailing and other digital

So if anyone would like to raise the Standard and chase some honours
please check with the other campaigns and sites that they are wearing the same uniform.

Dun crying in the rain

July 20, 2010 at 22:15 | Unregistered CommenterFree Corps

Then go & visit The International Coalition Against Prohibition (TICAP) who have held 2 Conferences on Prohibition mainly on Smoking Bans

or maybe this is what is needed in the UK ... from Hawaii

and have a look at this from The Netherlands

We are just too nice .... get active now !!!

July 20, 2010 at 22:34 | Unregistered CommenterBill Gibson

Agree totally Free Corps and Bill. There are a number of sites advocating such. 2 of theses that l know of and recommend are:-

Buying your tobacco abroad and stop paying tax to the UK treasury is a good and simple one. Not forgetting it saves you money too! Why give tax tothe very people who treat you like pariahs? Only sado-masochists would do this!

July 20, 2010 at 22:47 | Unregistered CommenterSpartan

..... or stupid people!

July 20, 2010 at 22:59 | Unregistered CommenterSpartan

Meant this link for The Netherlands .. sorry

July 21, 2010 at 8:52 | Unregistered CommenterBill Gibson

Be careful everyone of street charity collections.
The other day I was about to drop a coin into an animal welfare collection box with a picture of a cute fluffy dog on the tin when, just in time, I spotted the words supported by ASH, whereby I duly put my money back in my purse and told the poor innocent unaware brainwashed girl I would not donate if it was ASH supported, when she asked why, I said because they were anti smoking and had taken away my civil liberties.
I left her still looking after me as if I was mad.
But felt good after making my point.

July 22, 2010 at 9:00 | Unregistered Commenterann

ASH is a disgusting infection for any free society, symptoms include, a misanthropic hatred, of others, contempt of human rights, free thought, personal freedom, discouraging the 'arts' and skills of a social society, airbrushing and censoring. This parasitic worm has found its nest. There is a cure, ASH should be spread on the fields of ... See morerememberance, of a particularly bad period of modern social history. If folk wish to play with statistics, who holds the highest record for human fatality, Big Tobacco or Big Pharma? ASH appear to be also very insular in thinking that they are liked and respected, and in denial for the hatred they have achieved, I hate those grubbing parasitic insects with a passion, so from that point of view they are successful. Tambourines stuffed with illicit money.

July 24, 2010 at 4:12 | Unregistered CommenterStef Aitkenhead

PostPost a New Comment

Enter your information below to add a new comment.

My response is on my own website »
Author Email (optional):
Author URL (optional):
Some HTML allowed: <a href="" title=""> <abbr title=""> <acronym title=""> <b> <blockquote cite=""> <code> <em> <i> <strike> <strong>