Further details will be released closer to the date, but expect a line-up of seasoned tobacco control advocates from throughout the UK, sponsorship from major pharmaceutical companies and the manufacturers of breath-testing equipment, and hundreds of publicly funded delegates assembled to learn how to push medicinal nicotine (they'll all walk out of the conference with folders and hessian bags emblazoned with the UKNSCC logo).
These are guesses based on last year's conference. A few of us waved banners outside the Radisson Hotel, Glasgow last June, and it did have an impact: one or two delegates seemed genuinely astonished that anyone would want to protest against their conference.
|Our placards: the slogan on the right has also been used on demos in the US|
|Eddie poses with Sheila Duffy: Radisson Hotel, Glasgow|
For the smoking cessation industry, smoking restrictions represent marketing opportunities. Smoking bans already exist in workplaces, but last year's conference reported local projects that discourage parents from smoking at home: this slide presentation features a Glasgow project. Using potential damage to children as a pretext, 'intervention' to make smoking difficult at home will become more popular among enforcing authorities (discussed today at Dick Puddlecote's place).
Pressuring people to use nicotine substitutes rather than expose their children to smoke will become more common: this seems to be what the smoking cessation industry means by 'harm reduction'. Given the lack of any significant evidence linking passive smoking to specific cases of ill health or mortality, I find it hard to believe that exposing children to smoke is usually harmful (and the idea that it can be described as child abuse is absurd). The idea that pharmaceutical companies are helping to create pressure to 'denormalise' smoking in the home is far more likely than the idea that secondary smoke harms kids, in homes where fresh air is reasonably abundant.
So I will be looking out for the agenda of this conference. It won't be the only smoking cessation conference this year, but it involves significant players in the UK anti-smoking industry.