Tuesday 1 May 2012

A slight difference of opinion

A radio debate on Voice of Russia between myself, Amanda Sandford (ASH), Amul Pandya (Hands Off Our Packs) and Mark Littlewood (Institute of Economic Affairs).

The interview was undeniably, though inadvertently, slanted towards the friends of liberty because the fifth guest—a Russian anti-smoking lobbyist—failed to make telephone contact. However, I doubt whether Sandford's feeble pro-plain arguments would have carried any weight had she had a dozen supporters behind the mic.


Ben said...

Would it be a far better investment and a true humanitarian action to spend the money ASH and other lobbyists get to help children who have really NO choice: no food on the table (or not even a table), no clean drinking water, no shelter, no schools, but malaria instead.

Doesn't Amanda think of THESE children? Certainly not, it's so much more comfortable to sit in a state sponsored office and to bark at a tree than to go out and PROVE that they care about choldren

Ivan D said...

Some people seem to think that Amanda Sandford is the acceptable face of ASH and I can see why they might in comparison to Deborah Arnott . However, she seems incapable of making it through any kind of debate without accusing those who oppose her as being somehow in the pocket of big tobacco. I find this hypocritical tactic a despicable form of censorship.

As for her reference to the YouGov survey she claims as evidence of public support, had a company used the contextually selective imagery and the wording that ASH used in order to make a product claim I believe that company would risk either censure from a governing body or litigation. Tobacco control appears to be immune to the rules of honesty, integrity and common decency that govern the behaviour of others.

Xopher said...

Sandford admitted that youth smoking is reducing (fig 2, Para 17 of the Impact assessment) - She's already getting what she claims she wants but is suffering from an insatiable appetite for legislation.
She got what she wanted with the smoking ban and look what happened to overall smoking rates (Fig 1 Para 14) - they flat-lined.
The simple conclusion is that increased investment in and imposition of anti-smoking legislation is counter productive.

The evidence is plainly packaged in their own publication.

As many have written - the medicine isn't working, increase the dose.

Anonymous said...

"However, she seems incapable of making it through any kind of debate without accusing those who oppose her as being somehow in the pocket of big tobacco. I find this hypocritical tactic a despicable form of censorship."

I heard that plaintive squeak too.

Smearing the Opposition

"If you take part in secondhand smoke policy training in the tobacco control movement, chances are that you will be taught that all opposition to smoking bans is orchestrated by the tobacco industry, that anyone who challenges the science connecting secondhand smoke exposure and severe health effects is a paid lackey of Big Tobacco, and that any group which disseminates information challenging these health effects is a tobacco industry front group.

Consequently, the a chief strategy of tobacco control is to smear the opposition by accusing them of being tobacco industry moles. And in no situation should one say anything positive about an opponent, even if true.

How do I know this?

Because for many years, I was one of the main trainers of tobacco control advocates in the United States. And this is what I taught, because this was what I was led to believe. I attended many conferences and trainings and this is precisely what I was taught. I accepted it for the truth, and passed it along to others."

Smoking Hot said...

So kids go for the premium brands eh? What an utter load of tosh! They go for the cheapest and don't care what brand.

Has there been a survey of actual smokers to find out how they started smoking? ... or is that too logical?

Frank J said...

Woodbines, Park Drive, in 5's and a 1d book of matches.

You certainly didn't go for the packaging with those.

Anonymous said...

Frank J - You mentioned woodbines & park drive. I started with the rather less 'premium' brand of Domino. I seem to think they were a small pack maybe 6 for 6d. They were certainly cheaper and rougher than woodbine. It was the price not the packaging I was attracted to.

Anonymous said...

I was pleased to hear you turn the matter of funding back onto her. For too long, ASH have got away with claiming tobacco funding of opposition to their plans, while not having to answer for their own funding. Who pays the salaries of ASH UK and ASH Scotland?

Also, I was pleased to hear you saying that children were just an excuse for the persecution of adult smokers and that it was not about health either. Thinking about the smoking ban, we must bear in mind that the health of bar workers and office workers was similarly just camouflage - the objective was 'to stop people smoking where they typically smoke'.

As regards 'standardised packaging' let me quote this (hidden in the small print of the Consultation):

4.6 Reflecting the guidelines of the World HOrganisationzation’s Framework Convention on Tobacco Control (FCTC) we have developed the following approach to standardised packaging for the purposes of this consultation:
» All internal and external packaging to be in a prescribed colour/s.
» All text on the pack, including brand names, to be in a standard colour and typeface.
» No branding, advertising or promotion to be permitted on the outside or inside of packs, or attached to the package, or on individual tobacco products themselves. For this purpose ‘branding’ includes logos, colours or other features associated with a tobacco brand.
» Any foils within a pack to be of a standard format and colour with no text permitted.
» Packs to be of a standard shape and opening, and possibly manufactured with particular materials.
[My bold]

That is the whole objective - to get their hands on the size and shape of the packets so that they can reduce them at will.

Frank Davis said...

I was glad to hear, from the tone of their voices, that the participants opposing Sandford were angry.

I was also glad to hear, from her tone of voice, that Sandford was very uncomfortable.

Frank Davis said...

And I've made a transcript of the interview.

SteveW said...

Nice to hear her accepting that all ASH do is lobbying.
Might have to get back onto the DoH now.