Monday, 28 May 2012

Scotland slips behind in the race to control tobacco (says ASH, Australia)

I almost feel sorry for Michael Matheson, but not quite. The story tells how a visiting speaker to Edinburgh University from ASH Australia this week will rebuke the Scottish Government for falling behind in the race to tobacco control. She perhaps does not realise that the Scottish Government does not have legislative competence to bring in plain packaging, which is reserved to Westminster. She accuses ministers of being afraid to stand up to tobacco companies, whose lawsuits have delayed the implementation of tobacco display and vending machine legislation. Matheson expostulates (reasonably enough) that he can't stop the tobacco companies challenging their legislation in court.

Another accusation bears a second look:
“Almost one in four people in Scotland smoke. The cost to Scotland in terms of lives lost, NHS bills, healthcare and other related costs is staggering,” [Anne Jones] said.
 One in four seems to be used quite frequently:
Best of all is this:
It would show quite clearly that the impact of tobacco control policies in Scotland has barely changed the picture in smoking prevalence in Scotland over the last few years – if there were evidence that the smoking rate was based on anything more reliable than a figure plucked out of the air.

Matheson should not be distressed by this hurtful display of one-upmanship from the Australian branch of ASH. Tobacco control laws are nothing to be proud of, especially when characterised by absurd races to be ahead of other countries.


Bill Gibson said...

A very interesting observation from Down Under

Belinda said...

They just noticed? :)