Saturday, 1 January 2011

UK National Smoking Cessation Conference 2011

The dates and venue have been announced for this year's major annual trade conference in the calendar of the anti-smoking industry. It'll be held in London on Monday 13 and Tuesday 14 June, at the Novotel London West Hotel.

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
You'll get an idea about the likely agenda of the conference here. The home page of the UKNSCC site gives a brief preview of the 2011 conference (we can look forward to a nicotine vaccine, for example), mentioning  treatments that are 'known to be effective such as nicotine replacement therapy'. See this paper to discover how untrue this is: 'Currently stop smoking services are evaluated on the percentage of 4-week quitters, but around three-quarters relapse after this date,' says Tim Coleman of the UK Centre for Tobacco Control Studies, in a bid to keep smokers on nicotine cessation medication for the longer term.

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.


Dick Puddlecote said...

"For the smoking cessation industry, smoking restrictions represent marketing opportunities"

Ain't that the truth. That looks like a grand day out, perhaps something fun should be organised. ;)

Unknown said...

In early 2007, many months before the ban came into being, I scoured the net usint the words 'smoking ban.' I was inundated with adverts by companies that would erect smoking shelters for the great unwashed outside pubs and clubs etc. This told me that money was the motivation and could see a feeding frenzy coming into fruition...I was not wrong but I didn't realise the extent in would impact on our lives.

The fight goes on!

JJ said...

Keep us posted on this Belinda.

Is that you in that fetching little hat...and why is Sheila Duffy wearing a Superman T-shirt?

Belinda said...


Fetching? that's my Winnie the Pooh hat and I needed it, it was *the* sweltering hot day of 2010.

The ('Smokerman') t-shirt is not being worn by Sheila Duffy (lol)(who is in the background making a mobile phone call). It has the slogan 'Dignity and equality for all' on the back. (I'm not trying to sell it, just thought you would like to know!)

Anonymous said...

This is how the Greeks protest ... in big numbers, a lesson can be learnt from these photographs.

anti snore said...

This told me that money was the motivation and could see a feeding frenzy coming into fruition.