Saturday, 23 October 2010

English display ban: open letter to Vince Cable MP leads to open warfare

Vince Cable is on the receiving end of this open letter from Peter Kellner (of Yougov) published in the New Statesman, who hopes to influence the UK government not to go back on the tobacco display ban, which became law late last year. It is hoped that Mr Cable will read it in full, including public reactions. Everything happens here: we not only hear directly from Martin Dockrell of Action on Smoking and Health, and Robert West, of the UK Centre for Tobacco Control Studies, a professor with very impressive letters after his name and the Chairman of NHS Warwickshire, but one poster calls them all liars and challenges them to open court.

Funny how all these worthies disappear after Friday lunchtime ...

Particularly interesting was this comment from another participant:
... wouldn't Vince Cable be better served by asking all tobacco companies and major retailers to sit round a table with HMRC (collectors of excise revenue), Dept of Health and all other interested Govt Departments (eg Defra - cigarette litter is the UK's no 1 litter problem) to agree a co-ordinated plan of "attack" which addresses at least:
  • communication of the health risks
  • prevention of access to youth
  • raising awareness of smoking cessation products and reduced harm products - eg e-cigs and other smokeless products
  • tackling smuggled and counterfeit product
  • changing smokers' littering behaviour
This is so sensible, but doomed from the start because the World Health Organisation's Framework Convention on Tobacco Control won't allow tobacco companies any involvement in tobacco policy. Not allowed. Not permitted. No can do. The agreement is binding on participating countries.

This participant continues:
If that was done there'd be no need to choose between the smoking lobby and the British people as Peter Kellner invites Vince Cable to do – and isn't an inclusive society what we pride ourselves on being?
Isn't it wonderful when someone refers to inclusiveness as positive. Sadly, these ideas are out of line with WHO FCTC thinking: social inclusiveness and full democratic participation are less important than the WHO's global agenda.

Dave Atherton is political liaison officer of Freedom to Choose (UK). His contribution to this thread is particularly worthy of note and includes plenty of supporting information.

2 comments:

Pat Nurse said...

Please don't accept that smokers are the worst litterers when it is part of the denormalisation plan for smokers to be seen that way : "Smokers as litterers, smokers as undesirable ...etc..."

Actually, gum chewers are the worst litterers. We all need educating on litter and not just smokers. I learned that lesson back in the 1970s general litter campaign which is why I am not a smoker litterer now and never have been.

Eddie Douthwaite said...

The word "COMPROMISE" does not appear in the Tobacco Control dictionary.