Thursday 1 September 2011

Anti-tobacco and anti-alcohol swap notes again

The day might come when I get tired of reminding drinkers of how foolish they were to doubt the slippery slope, but that day is not today, so let's have look at the next ASH (Wales)/Alcohol Concen conference, shall we?

That seems fairly unambiguous and it's a nice sequel to the recent 'alcohol and tobacco summit' in Scotland. Being an ASH event, it is of course sponsored by the pharmaceutical companies Novartis and Pfizer, and some of the country's top anti-smoking fantasists will be sharing their tips with the temperance lobby, including Gerard Hastings, a man who thinks the Ferrari logo looks like a Marlboro packet.

Temperance campaigners will be particularly excited to hear that Linda "the smoking ban didn't hurt pubs" Bauld and Anna "but it did reduce the number of heart attacks" Gilmore will be attending. Alcohol Concern are not slouches when it comes to bending the truth themselves, but these two have the know-how to go nuclear with the junk science. Let's remind ourselves of some of their greatest hits.

According to Linda Bauld, the smoking ban had "no clear adverse impact on the hospitality industry". And here, using pub closure figures from the British Beer and Pub Association, we can see what "no clear adverse impact" looks like:

And in her study of heart attacks in England, Anna Gilmore said: "We conclude that the implementation of smoke-free public places is associated with significant reductions in hospital admissions for myocardial infarction." Hmm, quite. And here's that significant reduction in full (the figures come from her own study):

Considering that the world and his wife has swallowed the idea that the smoking ban didn't damage the pub trade but did reduce the heart attack rate, you can see why any lobbyist would want to kneel at the feet of these two conjurors. Well done Alcohol Concern, you wanted the best. You got the best.


Anonymous said...

I really can't see this anti-alcohol campaign gaining any serious ground. Smoking is very different to drinking.

The vast majority of people, even alcoholics, are quite comfortable restricting their drinking to the evenings, at home.

This means the only weapon the temperance movement has is price. But alcoholic drinks are easy and cheap to make. A very high tax on sugar isn't practical.

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