Friday, 1 March 2013

Tobacco control activists anticipate publication of new Scottish strategy

In this article in Holyrood Magazine, not only old favourites Sheila Duffy (ASH Scotland) and Ben McKendrick (British Heart Foundation) weigh in, but also the convenvor of the Cross-Party Group on Tobacco Control in the Scottish Parliament (did they have more than one meeting last year?).

Willie Rennie combines the convenorship of this group with his position as leader of the Scottish LibDems. Clearly this is a high-profile post.

This Cross-Party Group has authored the new Scottish tobacco control strategy to be published 'shortly'. They are not messing about:
The CPG was briefed on a draft version of the strategy late last year and Rennie says that while he is encouraged by the ambition within it, there were concerns about the lack of detail. “You can go for a smoke-free Scotland, which is technically below 5 per cent. But you need to have the policies that detail how you are going to get there."
The CPG wants to 'bring down' the smoking rate from the high 20s to 5 per cent within 15 to 20 years. This involves a faster rate of decline in prevalance than at any time in the last ten years, and comes at a time when the drop in prevalence has slowed (if the trend in prevalence reflected below has continued into 2013). I am sure that we all look forward to reading the detail on this process of coercing, or persuading, people to drop a habit that they are being persuaded to believe is extremely addictive, and wonder whether this amount of coercion or persuasion will represent better value for money than it has in the past.
Figures on tobacco control and smoking cessation expenditure obtained December 2012.
Smoking prevalence figures from Scottish Household Survey.
Click to enlarge.
The argument for tobacco control rests on the assumption that tobacco removes people's choice: its addictive qualities mean that people are not free agents and need the government's help to get out of the weed's clutches. Whether people have free will or not is an argument deployed vigorously in all walks of life – it is not unique to arguments about whether the government should offer assistance programmes in smoking cessation. In this field the government fails to respect individual autonomy declaring that tobacco is uniquely dangerous and demands official intervention, and then saying disingenuously to adults: 'Smoke if you like, we're doing this for the children.' If you protest, you're an addict, and if you're kids protest they've got it wrong too (probably because they have followed your evil example). Furthermore recent history suggests that the more money that is thrown at tobacco control, the less effective it becomes in persuading people not to smoke – perhaps because people resent the intrusion, perhaps because the proportion of people who want (or feel the need) to smoke will always be higher than 5 per cent.


handymanphil said...

The EU are more than a little pissed off as you can see ;)
"Smokers have so proved resilient to anti-smoking campaigns. Showing pictures of cancer-infected lungs on cigarette packs accompanied by bold warnings have not led to droves of people giving up on their cancer sticks. However, the EU is not giving up. In order to bring down the alarmingly high rate of European smokers, new legislation is being planned. Follow the EP's public hearing on tobacco products Monday and check out our infographic for more details about smoking in the EU".
And considering that government has already thrown £30bn (minimum) at the 'problem', they won't be restricting expenditure anytime soon!

Junican said...

We advocates of personal freedom need to bide our time. It becomes more and more obvious that the Tobacco Control Industry's 'evidence' is severely tainted. But there is nothing that can be done until the Politicians stop accepting the advice of the quack experts and realise that they are being led up the garden path. Better to let the quack experts keep on wasting money until the Politicians realise that the whole Tobacco Control Industry is a FRAUD.
It may take some time.
I used to comment on newspaper articles about the enjoyment of tobacco. I no longer do so. I believe that the only reason that newspapers publish the ramblings of the Tobacco Control Industry is that they believe that the publication of these articles will sell their newspapers. This idea is based upon the number of comments which they get. If there were no comment from PETS (People who Enjoy Tobacco), then there would be no controversy, and therefore no point in publishing the propaganda. It makes sense for us, therefore, not to comment on the newspaper articles.
The reality was revealed in the McTear versus Imperial Tobacco case in Scotland. In that case, Tobacco Control had every opportunity to prove (on the reduced requirement of only 'the balance of probabilities') that smoking causes lung cancer. Not only could they not prove it, but they did not even produce any evidence!
It has become clear to me that there is no point in arguing with THE MONOPOLY. 'Resistance is futile' - until Government (whatever that may mean) realises that:
1. People will still suffer ailments and die.
2. The Tobacco Control Industry is entirely destructive economically and costs an enormous amount of money.
3. THE PEOPLE are sick to death of being nannied.
4. There are other ways of obtaining tobacco than buying duty taxed tobacco.

As regards the last item, it is important to understand that all the propaganda shit about 'rat droppings' and such is just that - propaganda. I am not advocating smuggled stuff - I am describing perfectly legitimate purchases of unprocessed tobacco leaf. Make of that what you will.
Or, home grown stuff - just the same as home-made beer or wine.


The Zealots have created their own MONOPOLY. Let then stew in it. The important thing is not to rise to the bait. Let it run its course and exhaust itself, which will surely be the case.
In the meantime, use your brains to circumvent the persecution. It is not difficult.