Monday, 9 May 2011

The vested interests of (ahem) tobacco companies, and private meetings

This month Ms Duffy blogs on the Guardian's revelations that tobacco industry funding had assisted newsagents in their campaign against the display ban, covered in a story here just over a week ago.

ASH Scotland's concern with tobacco industry 'vested interests' is natural. Any industry has 'vested interests' in public policy debates that affect its products. Less wholesome are 'competing interests', especially in the field of tobacco control: this is where a lobbying group claims they are acting in the public interest, even though private interests benefit from their lobbying activities. Even the British Medical Journal published a note of concern about this issue.

Ms Duffy also refers to a meeting that was 'publicised' by the Scottish Licensed Trade Association, where 'retrograde moves' and 'backwards looking, expensive and unworkable' proposals were discussed – the whole thing financed by tobacco companies. Simon Clark has quite rightly pointed out that not only was the meeting private, but also funding it was a matter of necessity. Publicly funded Ms Duffy with no anxieties about her next meal (cool salary offered here, and it's not even the top job)  huffs about tobacco money going to fund private trade meetings on topics vital to their commercial survival.

Interesting that with this kind of track record, pharmaceutical companies – the ones who feed the tobacco control industry – are regulated with such a light touch in Scotland. Incoming MSPs take note.


Anonymous said...

What about these vested interests sponsoring the UK National Smoking Cessation Conference 2011:-

And third on the list of Supporters, none less than ASH Scotland.

Dick Puddlecote said...

That job looks interesting. Perhaps I'll apply. ;)

Bill Gibson said...

It is also very interesting that the World Health Organisation should now advise Tobacco Control personel to distance themselves from the Pharma Industry
and the following statement should be made by Armando Peruga, programme manager of WHO’s Tobacco Free Initiative, advised health professionals “to be independent and guided by scientific evidence.”

“We have to keep a distance from the tobacco industry, but we also have to maintain some distance from any other industry that can have a commercial interest in this issue,” he said.

It will be interesting to see if Tobacco Control advocates can break the habit of a lifetime and stick to the truth from now on.

Anonymous said...

Maybe the incoming politicians should look towards diverting the funding of ASH Scotland which is close to one million pounds per annum towards projects that would benefit society in general as opposed to lining the pockets of a few.