Tuesday, 19 April 2011

Work together, says Scottish Coalition on Tobacco

Work together to improve tobacco control in Scotland. This is the message of Sheila Duffy, speaking as Chair of the Scottish Coalition On Tobacco, which includes the following organisations:
ASH Scotland, British Heart Foundation Scotland, British Lung Foundation Scotland, British Medical Association, Cancer Research UK, Chest Heart & Stroke Scotland, Macmillan Cancer Support, Royal College of Nursing, The Roy Castle Lung Cancer Foundation, Royal College of Physicians of Edinburgh, Royal College of Psychiatrists, The Stroke Association, and the Royal Environmental Health Institute of Scotland.
And furthermore:
The coalition provides a platform to share view with other organisations and with policy makers as it works closely with the Scottish Government, NHS Health Scotland, and the Scottish Parliament's Cross Party Group on Tobacco Control. Its collective approach means that SCOT has become an influential and respected voice in public health, with the secretariat being provided by ASH Scotland, the leading charity campaigning for effective tobacco control in Scotland.
 These people have got cooperation off to a fine art. On the issue of tobacco control they have succeeded in pushing legislation through Holyrood with eye-watering majorities (both the tobacco display ban and the smoking ban itself were opposed by fewer than twenty MSPs each).

Perhaps they have succeeded in convincing enough of the public that something must be done about Scottish health, whether under-age smoking, drinking, anti-social behaviour. But it doesn't stop at something, either with tobacco or alcohol. Australia has graduated to a general state of threatening to stop people from smoking in their own homes. Meanwhile Alcohol Focus Scotland, following the strategy of ASH Scotland, excludes the drinks industry from alcohol policy discussions.

It's disappointing that the licensed trade can't find its way to cooperating as effectively as the alliance that's fighting it. Disappointing but not surprising, because the alliance of professional associations and well-heeled charities is naturally in a far stronger bargaining position than those in the market place whose survival depends on sympathetic policies.

The picture illustrating 'Level the playing field' aptly shows the slope in the playing field sloping sideways and not offering advantage to pubs, clubs or supermarkets. Yet the Scottish Licensed Trade Association's campaign of the same name seeks to remove any advantages of clubs in relation to licensing laws, and the ability of supermarkets to sell cheap booze.
Level the Playing FieldThe difficulties faced by licensed premises of all kinds relate to official attitudes and policies relating to drink, the beer tie, drink and driving and all manner of other issues. The smoking ban, however, has allowed official policy to dictate the pub's customer base, and interfered terribly with what happens in private clubs. It's hard to see anything more fundamental to the success and confidence of the pubs and clubs as autonomous institutions welcoming whoever came through the door.

Pubs, supermarkets and clubs used to serve different markets. The smoking ban has done much to increase direct competition between pubs and supermarkets for the same market – most pubs can't offer nearly the same advantages in terms of social experience to their erstwhile customer base, the smokers, nor can they compete with supermarkets on price. This has made pubs feel more keenly any apparent preferential treatment that clubs get in their licensing arrangements.

Unlike those worthies (above) who find it relatively easy to cooperate with each other to further the honourable agenda of denormalising smoking, drinking and who knows what next, the traders in the market place are still treating each other (publicly at any rate) as their biggest threat. Of course there are issues but surely if nothing else they could unite to fight the powers that unite to stop them trading effectively.

They're doing it in Spain.


Eddie Douthwaite said...

"The formation of alliances and campaigning

2.24 In October 1999, the Scottish Cancer Coalition on Tobacco ( SCCOT) was created by ASH Scotland as an alliance between itself and the leading Scottish Cancer Charities and Scottish branches of UK Charities.

2.25 In 2000, ASH Scotland received funds from the Scottish Government to undertake a consultation process to explore the need for a national tobacco control alliance and the role(s) that it might hold. It then went on to form the Scottish Tobacco Control Alliance ( STCA) with Scottish Government funding, bringing together a multi-disciplinary, multi-sectoral body of over 120 organisations concerned with the impact of tobacco on Scotland and its people.

2.26 ASH Scotland set up Scotland CAN! (Cleaner Air Now) in May 2000. This brought together a wider group than SCCOT and began campaigning for legislation to restrict smoking in public places. In November 2004, it was agreed that SCCOT would no longer exist as a separate coalition, and that it would instead reform under the wider coalition of SCOT (the Scottish Coalition on Tobacco). Scotland CAN! also came under this umbrella."


Belinda said...

And then of course we have the Scottish Tobacco Control Alliance http://www.ashscotland.org.uk/alliances/scottish-tobacco-control-alliance-(stca)/membership

(do they get bonuses for each extra alliance they bring in?)

Michael J. McFadden said...

Working together?

You mean like this:


WHO warns anti-smoking campaigners not to become too close to drug firms

"The warning came last month at a meeting on smoking prevention in Madrid that was hosted by the National Committee to Prevent Smoking, which represents most Spanish anti-tobacco organisations, and which was sponsored by Pfizer, GlaxoSmithKline, and McNeil—all of which make treatments to help smoking cessation."