Tuesday 24 January 2012

ASH: The government in drag

I recently mentioned the possibility that ASH (England) may have lost its government funding. Maybe they have, maybe they haven't, but the anti-smoking pressure group was certainly sucking on the teat of the state in 2010/11, as its latest accounts show.

Department of Health: £220,500

ASH International: £152,657

Supporting charities: £393,833

Donations: £15,365

Total: £782,355

ASH International is funded by Pfizer, which perhaps explains ASH's eagerness to promote Pfizer's psychotic stop-smoking drug Chantix/Champix.

The supporting charities are the British Heart Foundation and Cancer Research UK, so if you don't like indirectly funding neo-prohibitionist pressure groups, you might want to avoid them in the future and donate to other charities.

The Department of Health grant is for a project called 'Capitalising on Smokefree'. This is the third year in a row that taxpayers' money has been diverted to this mystery project. Although we pay for it, no details have ever been made public. If I was a cynic, I would say that it involves ASH being given money to manufacture support for Department of Health policies.

And that leaves £15,365 of donations from the public, meaning that one of the country's most powerful and influential "charities" gets less than 2% of its income from the general public's voluntary donations. However, it gets 28% from involuntarily donations through the tax system and a further 50% from donations given to different charities which are then diverted to ASH.

I do believe that means that ASH continues to be what it has always been: a fake charity. They are the government in drag; they are the Department of Health's sockpuppets; they are the state lobbying the state. Why are smokers being forced to pay for their own vilification?


Number 11 in ASH's list of 'objectives' for 2010/11 is:

To be sensitive to the concerns of the smoker.

Wow. Just wow.


Anonymous said...

Don't forget the gift aid on all that BHF and CRUK money. You can add a couple of % on from taxpayers for that, too.

Ivan D said...

My local is having a big charity month in February but unfortunately the beneficiary is BHF so unusually for me, I have had to abstain from any involvement whatsoever. Sad, but I will not give the BHF a single penny while they continue to fund ASH and waste donations on advocacy.

At least CRUK admit that they fund ASH albeit nowhere near the pages where they ask people to donate. You have to dig a bit deeper on the BHF Web pages to find out what they really spend your money on.

Xopher said...

It would be quite enlightening to discover more about ASH's activity BUT, as a charity, it seems they are unaffected by FOI requests - that's a bit convenient!

Anonymous said...

To be sensitive to the concerns of the smoker.

I’d hate to imagine if they weren’t sensitive.

Anonymous said...

"To be sensitive to the concerns of the smoker" - yeah right! I have just given our equivalent, ACOCH a spray over the last five or six days, after being victimised for being a smoker on Friday night. I went to their website and since they said "We value your opinions", I went for it. I've been attacking them daily (so they can see what it feels like) and told them that when I kill myself because I no longer feel a part of society, it will be on their heads. All this and not one single response from them. SURE they value 'our' opinions. They make me sick to the stomack with what they are doing to people.

Bucko said...

I would be concerned about that 15k in public donations.
That's more than a threefold increase in two years if my memory serves me correctly.

Anonymous said...

"To be sensitive to the concerns of the smoker."

And prey on them?

Jonathan Bagley said...

I notice that today's ASH news includes an article from the Birmingham Mail claiming that shisha smokers are inhaling the equivalent of 100 cigarettes and hour. I've questioned ASH about their news page, incorrectly calling it a press release. I got an angry email back from Martin Dockrell, pointing out that ASH was only relaying the words of other publications. In my opinion, a casual visitor to the page would get the impression that ASH believed that shisha smokers inhale the equvalent of 100 cigarettes an hour - clearly nonsensical. Keep writing to the Charity Commission. It will eventually have an effect.

prog said...

Jonathan, based on this claim -


that'd be between c.17 and 25 hours lost per session.

Anonymous said...

I've just used the calculator of 'days lost through smoking' which is on the site that 'prog' has linked to. It says that I have lost 18 years of life. Sooo....

I am 72. If I popped off today, I would have survived to 90! If I manage another 10 years,I will lose 22 years, so, if I peg out at 82, I would have lived to 104! And if I manage to live to 92 (which is possible I suppose, being,as I am, in good health), then I will have have lost 26 years of life. So I owuld have survived to 118!

Rather like Mann's hockey stick.