No Business for Tobacco Companies

That would appear to be the UK government’s aim, judging from what Health Secretary Andrew Lansley has said:

Health Secretary Andrew Lansley told the Times the government did not work with tobacco companies as it wanted them to have “no business” in the UK.

If they are to have “no business” in the UK, then there can’t be any tobacco companies in the UK.

I wonder when the government decided this? I wonder if it asked the British people whether they would like there to be no tobacco sold in the UK, and no tobacco companies?

Well, of course they didn’t ask. This is going to be another government edict.

And since the long term goal is now officially to completely dismantle the UK tobacco industry, it’s really quite academic whether tobacco is displayed or not, or put in plain packages or not, because there isn’t going to be any tobacco on sale anyway.

Simon Clark (again):

“The consultation on plain packaging threatens to be a farce. Andrew Lansley says he is open minded yet he clearly supports plain packaging even before the consultation has begun.”

Well, of course it’s a farce. They’ve made up their minds what they’re going to do, and the “consultation” is a sham. Just like the display ban “consultation” was a sham which ignored the protests of thousands of retailers. You have your “consultation”, and then you go ahead and do what you were going to do anyway.

Incidentally, I left a link to yesterday’s post in a brief comment on Taking Liberties. The blog is moderated these days, and Simon Clark declined to publish my comment.

Anyway, I’m now wondering how the government aims to drive the tobacco companies out of  business. Display bans and plain packaging alone won’t do it. But I suppose they can keep pushing up the tax, and adding further regulations to make it more or less impossible to sell tobacco. And maybe require smokers wear yellow stars brown smoking status indicators. After a while, unable to sell any tobacco, the tobacco companies will be bankrupted.

Why don’t they just make tobacco illegal? Then all of Britain’s 12 million smokers will become criminals overnight, and they’ll need to build concentration camps holding centres for them.

And if they feel able to drive one perfectly legal business to bankruptcy, then they’ll also feel able to drive any other businesses that fail to conform to their eugenic master plan public health programme into bankruptcy as well. Alcohol. Chocolate. Tea. Coffee. Sugar. Salt.

And this government calls itself “conservative” and “liberal” and “democratic”. Pah!!!

Meanwhile Pat Nurse reports that Deborah Arnott has been saying:

“…the tobacco industry is “increasingly resorting to the use of front groups and third party advocates” to influence policy outcomes.

“I think they’re trying to enlist supporters to lobby government,” said Deborah Arnott, chief executive of Ash. “Because they can’t get through the door to Number 10 they’re trying to persuade others to do so for them.””

I bet that the likes of someone like me is one of those imaginary “front groups” that has been “enlisted” by the tobacco companies. People can’t do anything on their own initiative these days, it seems. They’ve got to have tobacco company support before they start speaking out against what’s happening to them.

Not to worry, Deborah. The government pays no more attention to us than it does to the tobacco companies – or to anyone else for that matter. It’s not as if we’re living in a democracy any more.

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35 Responses to No Business for Tobacco Companies

  1. beobrigitte says:

    “…the tobacco industry is “increasingly resorting to the use of front groups and third party advocates” to influence policy outcomes.

    “I think they’re trying to enlist supporters to lobby government,” said Deborah Arnott, chief executive of Ash.

    Ah, I see. Debbie, please do explain all about Tobacco Control government lobbying. Spare us no detail!!!!!

    But I suppose they can keep pushing up the tax, and adding further regulations to make it more or less impossible to sell tobacco.

    They can. But with it people are eagerly awaiting the visit of “special” friends.
    Perhaps there will be less black market sales when it comes to petrol, so there is an option for replacing the lost tobacco duty income. The nation will love it, won’t it?

  2. Wiel Maessen says:

    I did a quick internet scan on Andrew Lansley, to find out if there is any connection between him and Big Pharma (‘follow the money approach’). Wikipedia may give a clue:

    While in opposition as health spokesman, Andrew Lansley accepted a donation of £21,000 from John Nash, the chairman of private healthcare provider Care UK and founder of the private equity fund Sovereign Capital, which owns several other private healthcare companies, to help fund his private office, leading to allegations of a conflict of interest. Such companies stand to be the biggest beneficiaries of Conservative policies to increase the use of private health providers within the NHS.

    Andrew Lansley’s wife, Sally Low, is the managing director of Low Associates. Sally Low denies that Low Associates is involved in lobbying, preferring to describe its activities as providing “strategic advice” to clients. Low Associates helps people prepare before they give evidence to committees of MPs, and Sally Low has given speeches on improving lobbying skills, in which she said that lobbyists should “establish positive relationships with decision-makers before you need their help”. Clients of Low Associates personnel in their previous careers have included the pharmaceutical companies SmithKline Beecham, Unilever and Procter & Gamble.[

  3. Tim Paton says:

    As I said on facebook the other day, public consultation does not mean consulting the public, it is consulting those you choose and letting the public know

  4. cdbro says:

    What keeps tobacco companies in the UK?
    Lansley could have his wish if they moved lock, stock and barrel to more welcoming countries.
    Never mind the direct and indirect job losses. Never mind the taxes they pay. Never mind the financial benefit from their healthy export trade. Never mind the chaos they would leave behind. It could be done and soon.

    Lansley would be happy but maybe, just maybe, the tobacco companies would expose the medical world’s best kept secret — brain transplant technology has been perfected and leading MPs have benefited from this important advance. A spokesman for the BMA is reported to have said, ” In most cases the removal of the existing organ poses few difficulties although we had difficulty finding many of them.”

  5. jaxthefirst says:

    After noticing that, rather surprisingly, these comments were only mentioned once on the radio news today, in the morning, and then never again, and also noticing that it didn’t even make the TV evening news (BBC) at all, I’m starting to wonder whether Lansley has got a bit carried away with his “mission” and has rather over-stepped the mark with his “no business” comment, and the powers-that-be (the Party whips, or whoever decides these things) have moved swiftly to block news coverage of it in an attempt to sweep the matter quietly under the carpet. In the past, any new anti-smoking initiatives have been headline news for about three or four days, if not more, with the media loving the opportunity to whip everyone into a frenzy of squabbling with each other.

    In fact, after a day’s reflection, I think that the comment is something of an embarrassment to the Tories. Right now they’re facing an uphill struggle, trying to convince everyone that they are the same “pro-business” party as they have always traditionally been; a task which is difficult enough when their own rulers, the EU, are so anti business themselves that they won’t permit them to pass any pro-business laws or relax any anti-business ones, but one which is made even harder when one of their own, in their enthusiastic anti-smoking zeal, threatens to let the cat out of the bag with comments which are so brazenly anti any kind of business – even the wicked old tobacco business. As far as the Tories are concerned, this was an unwise comment – not because it’s untrue and doesn’t reflect the party’s policies, but because it’s so close to the real truth – that they are powerless to be pro-business whether they want to or not – that it threatens to give the game away altogether.

    I strongly suspect that Lansley has privately had his knuckles rapped, and I actually wouldn’t be surprised if (for some other reason, of course) we hear of his resignation in the not-too-distant future.

  6. All the tobacco companies would need to do is put out a united statement to the effect that, as a direct result of governmental policy, they would voluntarily stop selling their product in the UK. From 1 January 2013, say, tobacco products would be withdrawn from the UK market…and how the Government deals with the resulting loss of huge quantities of tax and extremely angry smokers would be their problem.

    Make it sound believable enough, and I’m pretty sure governmental policy would change sharpish.

  7. Angry Exile says:

    Sounds familiar. Tobacco was once a cash crop here in Oz, where it grows very nicely indeed in various places, but at the urging of the ‘phobes, the control lobby, the healthists and associated wowsers the industry was gradually dismantled. It might still be hanging on in places as almost a cottage industry, and of course the illegal ‘chop-chop’ tobacco trade will have taken up some of the slack, but other than that the tobacco industry has been gradually killed off here. Not the trade, however, which means the wowsers are now complaining that tobacco being grown by the Kiwis is being exported to Australia in increasing amounts. What the fuck did they think was going to happen?

  8. waltc says:

    On yesterday’s Nazis (because I’m on US time and a night owl to boot, I come late to these threads), I don’t, in public presentations, call them Nazis. I just offer the parallels. E.G.:

    V. Parallel Propaganda: (All that’s different here is the noun.)

    A. Health columns in Nazi newspapers offered a healthy tip:
    “Stay clean and avoid Jews.”19

    Health columns in U.S. newspapers offered a similar tip:
    “For your health, stay away from smokers.”

    Not just once, but again and again:

    Orlando Sentinal; “Avoid smokers.”Chicago Tribune: “Avoid smokers.” A.P: “Surgeon General’s advice to Americans: ‘Stay away from smokers.’” Southwest Missourian: “Surgeon General: Stay Away from Smokers.”Kansas City Chronicle: “Stay away from smokers.”20
    There’s more, but the point is made.

    On Thirdhand smoke and the idea that smokers are per se contaminated,:

    B. “Jews, in the untidiness of their lice-filled clothes carr[y] germs
    throughout the city” and contaminate all around them.”

    “Smokers themselves are contaminated..[Even when not smoking]
    they emit toxins.”*…. “The invisible but toxic brew of gases and
    particles clinging to smokers’ hair and clothing” has “now been
    proven deadly and capable of causing cancer as well as nerve
    damage, especially to children.”21

    As for the general segregation of smokers as a “matter of public health,” because smokers “cause disease,” and the move for “smoker-free” apartment buildings, again, I don’t scream Nazi, I just offer these quotes (all tied to citations):

    “It is unacceptable that representatives of the Reich should be obliged to
    meet Jews when they enter or leave the house and are, in this way, liable
    to infection from epidemics.”
    -Hans Frank, Nazi governor of occupied Poland, April, 1941

    “The Jews have always been carriers of infectious disease. They should either
    be concentrated in a ghetto and left to themselves or be liquidated, for other-
    wise they will infect the population.”
    – Joseph Goebbels, Reich Minister of Propaganda, August, 19412

    “JEWS=LICE=TYPHUS.”
    -posters in schools, streetcars, billboards in occupied Poland3 .

    “In 1913, [ U.S.President Woodrow] Wilson ordered the segregation of
    toilets, cafeterias and work areas in all federal buildings [because]
    white government workers had to be protected from contagious diseases
    that…were being spread by blacks.”4 5

    “Jim Crow was viewed as a system of disease control. Segregation quaran-
    tined blacks to prevent them from infecting whites.” 5

    “DARKIES BATHING PROHIBITED.” 6
    -sign at a public swimming hole, date, and place unknown

  9. Frank Davis says:

    Perhaps this is how they plan to destroy the UK tobacco industry?

    The latest research by the TaxPayers’ Alliance suggests that no less than £28.5 billion in tax revenue has been lost to the black market in spirits, beer, cigarettes, hand rolling tobacco and diesel in the last five years. Not so much an excise gap as a tax gulf; it’s enough money to fund a penny cut in the basic rate of Income Tax for all UK earners.

    Not only does the black market cost taxpayers money, it has a devastating impact on retailers selling legitimate products, who cannot compete with those who are breaking the law. George Osborne could do something about all of this, and help struggling families at the same time by cutting the duty on tobacco, fuel and alcohol. Yet instead he actually used Budget 2012 to increase duty on tobacco, fuel and alcohol, despite the fact that we already have amongst the highest tobacco and fuel duties in the world – and despite the fact that those on relatively low incomes are the most likely to smoke, drink and depend on their cars, making these probably the most regressive measures in the Budget.

  10. Frank I would like to apply for a job position in your tobacco front group!!!Hopefully you’ll pay me well!!!!

    • Frank Davis says:

      Well, if I’m being funded by tobacco companies, all I can say is that they are very, very slow payers. Either that, or the cheque’s been in the post for nearly 3 years.

  11. Frank Davis says:

    So, can I comment on my own blog?

    Answer: yes I can. But I can’t comment on Dave Atherton’s blog, or Leg-iron’s using my WordPress account. I have to pretend to be somebody else. How weird. Looks like WordPress has got commenting problems.

    • nisakiman says:

      Ha! WordPress has username issues. Several times when I tried to log in, it told me that “nisakiman” was not my username, and that it belonged to someone else! WTF? Hasn’t happened for a while, but I still find that although I’m logged in on one site, I have to re-log in on another. I’ve learned to copy all my comments before hitting “post”, because if it makes me log in again, it also deletes the comment I’ve just written. It’s a right pain.

      • nisakiman says:

        Having said that, I just wrote a longish comment on Junican’s blog, and not only would WP not let me post it, the comments window contracted and left me unable to copy it either. There is a fundamental problem here.

  12. lysistratatheoriginal says:

    But we knew this was going to happen. It was all laid out back in 2002.
    Taken from WHO’s “The Tobacco Atlas” (First edition): http://www.who.int/tobacco/en/atlas38.pdf

    “Cigarettes only available on prescription in rich countries.
    The tobacco industry is fully regulated, with licensing of nicotine as an addictive drug, and manufacture, promotion and sale under strict regulatory control by government agencies.
    Cigarette packets will be plain black and white and contain only brand name and explicit health warnings.
    Doubts about new “less hazardous” products increases(sic).
    Tobacco control funded from a percentage of tobacco tax in many countries.
    Vaccine produced to switch off nicotine receptors.”

    Chilling, ain’t it?

    • nisakiman says:

      Thank God for the Greeks, eh? :¬))

      • lysistratatheoriginal says:

        Hi nisakiman! Xronia polla, Xristos anesti.

        Yes, thank god for a country where bad laws are passed but the people and the police ignore them. A very civilised reaction. They make the laws. We do not obey them.

        However I am am chilled to the bone by the WHO plan I linked to above. (I’ll link again at the end of this post.)

        Back in 2002 they forecast an economic crisis in 2010-11 onwards which would depress tobacco control for a while. They also forecast a viral epidemic for 2020 which will also depress tobacco control again.

        They’re a tad tobacco-control centred, so they seem to take no notice of the adverse health effects of this current and accurately forecast economic recession.

        More worryingly, they appear to regard the coming 2020 world viral epidemic as only a diversion from their aim of the complete eradication of tobacco. It may just be be me, but I would have thought the WHO’s efforts could possibly be concentrated on a life-threatening giobal new viral attack rather than seeing it as an annoying distraction from their plan to eradicate tobacco.

        Meh.

  13. legiron says:

    The government has no business with pot producers either but it doesn’t seem to affect their trade. No need for all those fancy lighting systems for illicit tobacco growers, they can do it in a remote field somewhere.

    Lansley is just setting up a massive criminal system and he’s probably the only one who doesn;t realise it!

    (BTW, your last comment at my place went into spam, for no reason that I can see)

  14. Rose says:

    I can only log in using “reply” on someone else’s comment first, as none of the symbols come up under the large reply box, which has now shrunk to 1inch high.
    But it’s been like that for a few days now.

    I have to copy and paste too, because without warning the reply box snaps back to an inch again and won’t let you see what you have been writing, unless you delete the first two lines and replace them when you’ve finished!

    That can happen several times in the same post.

    • Frank Davis says:

      Yes, I’m getting a similar problem with the box size.

      But the bigger problem seems to be that some people can’t post. And Leg-iron’s comment above had to be retrieved from my spam folder. And Peter Thurgood wanted to comment on Antismoking Nazis (which he thought highly of), but was unable to do so.

      There seem to be some systemic problems (although Lysistrata above seems to have been able to use her WordPress account to comment successfully.)

      • nisakiman says:

        Just commented above with the same complaint.

        • nisakiman says:

          I also just pointed out on Dave Atherton’s blog that every comment there is posted at exactly the same time – 13.57, even mine, pointing it out.

  15. Zieg Heil! CLICK,CLICK!!!!!

  16. junican says:

    The same problem has arisen on the Bolton Smokers Club site. It must be wordpress.

    I think that the problem with Tobacco Control is that they have no responsibility for the consequences of their activities. Nor have any politicians the courage to point out the consequences. The matter is also complicated in so far that the loss of tobacco tax income is equivalent only to 1p on the income tax rate.

    Put those three considerations together and you have a recipe for disaster. Starting from the bottom, what is the significance of 1p on income tax? It is nothing. Or is it nothing? Bearing in mind that the vast majority of tax is already spoken for, that 1p (being some £10 billion) pays for all the marginal things that the Government can do – a million here and a million there. Also, that 1p, in macro economic terms, equals X jobs lost or gained. In those terms, 1p on income tax is an enormous amount of money. It may not affect individuals much at all, but the overall effect can be catastrophic. Which reminds me of the theory that smoking bans seriously affect the economy. It is a case of the butterflies wings.It is a case of the 1p becoming 2p, in its effects, and then 3p and 4p and 5p and so on.
    The courage of politicians does not exist. It cannot possibly exist since they only talk the talk in general terms. They know nothing of the detail. Imagine a new Defence Secretary who has been spouting sound-bites in parliament. When he comes to deal with the reality of aircraft, ships, supplies, manpower, medical teams, etc he will be totally out of his depth. He can only accept advice. Who then know what to do?
    The irresponsibility of special interest groups has been well-known for decades. There was a time when such groups received short shrift. But, as regards Tobacco Control, the group is responsible to the WHO and acts in the interests of the WHO (which has a branch in the EU). It is massively funded by the politicians who are controlled by it.
    I fear that Cameron, Clegg and Milliband are in thrall to this organisation. Milton readily states that the Government of the United Kingdom must do as the WHO demands through the tobacco control treaty. What sort of chickens has our political system hatched when a minister of the crown states in public that the British Government is powerless?

    Oh….the problem seems to have been resolved.

  17. Rose says:

    Really stupid and ill-thought out idea of the day.

    “Radical” wants to be ruled by a government who routinely organises random executions!

    “Nothing could be easier than to get people to give up smoking. The government passes legislation so the government has the right to place once a month in one cigarette a highly toxic pellet which would kill the lucky buyer, (bit like the lottery) Even though smokers know their addiction is probably going to kill them its a risk they are prepared to take, so they could hardly quibble. Strangely enough that miilion to one risk, (It Could Be You) will have more impact than all the other health warnings put together.”

    http://www.guardian.co.uk/society/2012/apr/14/smoking-cigarette-packets-branding

    Hardly original though.

    NEW BOOK TELLS HOW PROTAGONIST KILLS SMOKERS

    “GASP!,” being released by Barricade Books this week, examines the eerie world of an embittered wire service editor who learns he is dying of lung cancer the same week he is fired from his job. Deciding that if he is going to die he will take the tobacco business down with him, he launches a deadly plan to poison hundreds of packages of cigarettes and plant them in convenience stores, restaurants, offices, factories and bars across America.”

    http://ash.org/protagonist.html

    Gasp!: A Novel of Revenge
    1996

    Only 1 left in stock–order soon (more on the way).

    “Martin Muntor — a journalist dying of lung cancer — is a dangerous man: he’s smart and he’s mad and he has nothing to lose. Muntor has it in for the tobacco industry. He doesn’t give a damn who gets sacrificed as long as he can hurt the billion dollar profits of Big Tobacco.

    The twisted journalist’s plan is simple. He’ll poison cigarettes with cyanide and slip them into convenience stores, restaurants and vending machines all over the U.S. He’ll even leave deadly cigarettes in the playground of an elementary school. He knows the inevitable media frenzy will further his cause.”

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