Wednesday, 10 June 2015

ASH chases the cash

An easy mistake to make

In April, when I reviewed the Conservative party manifesto, I wrote...

They claim to be "helping people to stay healthy by ending the open display of tobacco in shops, introducing plain–packaged cigarettes and funding local authority public health budgets." There is no mention of any other anti-smoking policies, presumably because they're waiting for ASH to tell them what to do.

It hasn't taken long. Barely a month after a winning an election on the back of a manifesto that didn't say anything about new anti-smoking policies, the Conservatives have been huddling with ASH in the House of Commons to discuss how to persecute smokers for the next five years.

As Guido reports, ASH - the state-funded 'charity' - was launching its new manifesto with Jane Ellison - the public health minister - yesterday afternoon in a House of Commons dining room. How very cosy.

Regular readers will remember it was Ellison that shoehorned plain-packaging through the House of Commons during the dying embers of the last Parliament, without so much as a debate in the Commons. She’s a fully paid up nanny-stater, and clearly has no qualms sharing a platform with the health fascists.

I've wrote about the content of ASH's wish list last week for the Spectator. It is full of disgraceful, regressive and socially destructive ideas. Here's a précis... 

Increasing tobacco duty by 5 per cent (plus inflation) every year

ASH's plans will mean that a single cigarette will cost a pound by 2025. Almost unbelievably, ASH's press release complains about smokers being impoverished despite it being their own policies that make the poor poorer. When tobacco duty makes up 80 per cent of the price of a pack of cigarettes, it is hardly surprising that smokers tend to be poorer than non-smokers, nor is it surprising that the UK is awash will counterfeit and contraband tobacco.

Tobacco levy

This is the policy that Arnott really has her beady little eyes on. She's hoping the government will loot from the tobacco industry and give the money to her and her mates in tobakko kontrol. It won't work, as you can't levy a windfall tax on companies that are not based in the UK, including JTI and Philip Morris, and those which are will likely decide to move their headquarters to a country where they're not going to be plundered by an arbitrary and capricious government.  

Banning actors from smoking on stage

It says a lot about ASH's petty, obsessive and mean-spirited mentality that they are prepared to fight to close this tiny loophole - a loophole that they were happy to include when they drew up the smoking ban ten years ago.

Banning smoking outdoors and in cars

A ban on smoking outdoors is bullying and harassment of the most spiteful kind. There is, of course, not a shred of evidence about secondhand smoke to justify it. Similarly, ASH want a ban in cars regardless of whether a child - or anybody else - is present.

Just as yesterday's push by the Welsh government to ban vaping indoors proved that public health is not about health, so this proves that smoking bans have nothing to do with secondhand smoke.

In recent years, ASH has pretended to be attacking the tobacco industry rather than smokers with policies such as the display ban and plain packaging. If it does nothing else, their new hit list should make it abundantly clear that they are not just anti-smoking, they are anti-smoker.

Never forget - if you're a British taxpayer, you're paying for this.

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