ASH Under Attack

I’ve been a bit late in getting to the argy-bargy about ASH over on Liberal Vision. It’s been an interesting one, because it has attracted some of Britain’s senior antismokers. Like Martin Dockrell (activist, and Head of Policy, ASH), Linda Bauld (Scientific Advisor to the Department of Health, and Professor at the University of Bath, with a degree in Politics), and Robert West.

Robert West interested me. I wrote a piece about him a couple of years ago. And since nobody else had paid much attention to him, I penned a reply to his comment.

Robert West wrote:

It is sad to see people writing on behalf of a vastly wealthy industry that manufactures and very heavily promotes a product that ruins the lives of so many millions of people, and attacking an organisation that on a shoestring has done more to save lives of our citizens than any other that I can think of in the past half a century.

No, they’re not people who are writing on behalf of the tobacco industry. They’re people who are writing on behalf of today’s demonised and excluded smokers. And ASH doesn’t get by on a shoestring. It’s very well funded by government and the pharma industry.

Some of the posts above have all the hallmarks of an orchestrated attack by the tobacco industry which is deeply concerned that the activities of ASH will damage their revenues. That is of course to be expected but let us not be under any illusions as to why they are being made.

What hallmarks? And where’s the tobacco industry? Name one person posting here who’s working for that industry. And if you can’t, then withdraw the smear.

I am a researcher who happens to work in this field and do my best to discover better ways of helping smokers who want to extricate themselves from their addiction. I could easily be researching something else (and indeed have done over the years) but when I talk to smokers who are desperate to stop and others who have stopped but say that it is the hardest thing they have ever done, I am powerfully motivated to continue with this work. The people at ASH, similarly, are motivated by a deep desire to prevent suffering and they are doing a wonderful job.

If I have any idea who you are, you aren’t just a researcher, but a Professor of Health Psychology at University College. And you work in CRUK’s Health Behaviour Research Centre. And you’ve got a degree in psychology (not medicine or statistics). And you advocate the coercion of smokers to force them stop smoking:

“Coercion, by raising price, is probably the method with

the strongest track record, the price elasticity for

consumption being estimated at –0.4 internationally.

More draconian measures may one day be possible:”

So much for ‘helping’ smokers. You – like ASH – are intent on screwing them into the ground at every opportunity you can find.

Not just ASH, but the entire well-funded antismoking industry needs to be closed down. It constitutes one vast, global, organised hate group that is doing colossal damage to the social fabric of society, shattering communities, set friend against friend, bankrupting pubs and cafes – and all for zero health benefits.

I do not write this on behalf of the tobacco industry, from whom I take no money, and which can look after itself. I write it on behalf of the friends that I have lost, and all the millions of people who have had their social lives shattered by smoking bans, and – last and not least – in memory of Lawrence Walker.

I suppose that these bigwigs have showed up because their favourite fake charity is coming under attack. It’s interesting that they should feel that it’s under sufficient threat to warrant them taking a few minutes off from their lucrative day jobs to get down and dirty on Liberal Vision.

And dirty they have indeed been getting. All of them have said, in so many words, that the campaign against ASH is being orchestrated by the Tobacco Industry.

And that is just a cheap smear. I don’t believe that any of the commenters on the thread had any links at all with the Tobacco Industry. People like me are just angry smokers. Angry at being demonised, angry at being excluded, and angry at being lied to.

It’s a smear, and it’s a lie. But that’s how these people work. They just tell lies. And they tell lies about their opponents.

It may still be working now, but it won’t work forever.

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About Frank Davis

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22 Responses to ASH Under Attack

  1. flyingwarpigs2 says:

    Frank, you just made my week! Thank you. Next step is to get charitable status withdrawn from ASH. They were spawned by the devil and deserve to be condemned to lay by his side forever.

  2. Hittman says:

    I can’t think of anyone who has spoken out against the anti-smoker industry who hasn’t been labled as a shill for or a dupe of Big Tobacco. It’s one of then NNs favorite and most predictable tatics. And when asked to provide proof they evade and avoid the question.

    Although I’ve seen this accusation literally hundreds of times, I’ve yet to see a single NN back it up with facts.

  3. Junican says:

    Hello FLY and HITT.

    I do not recall seeing you here before but, of course, I may be wrong.

    Frank has said on many occasions that we bloggers, posters, commenters are a swarm. The beauty of being a swarm is that we are not easily attacked with ‘ad hominem’ claims of ‘special interests’, despite what A-SHITES might say. We are NOT speaking for Big Tobacco. We speak only for ourselves.

    We have only two objectives;

    !. To deny and disprove, as best we can, the claims of ASH ET AL.

    2. To regain our freedom.

    The first is comparatively easy, but the second is very hard.

    The first is comparatively easy because there is simply no evidence that Second Hand Smoke is significantly harmful. We can define ‘significantly’, but ASH ET AL cannot. In ASH’s vocabulary, ‘significant’ can mean ‘utterly minuscule but POSSIBLY deadly’ but in our vocabulary, ‘significant’ means actually, REALLY deadly.vocabulary, not only must ASH ET AL show that SHS is DEADLY, but also they must show that THE ENJOYMENT OF TOBACCO is DEADLY.

    I believe that ASH ET AL have shown neither to be true. My conviction is not based upon ‘studies’. It is based upon ‘death statistics’. I will not go into detail – suffice to say that the vast, vast majority of people who die from heart failure are very, very old. And we must be aware that these people who are dying in their eighties are the very people who smoked the mosts or were most exposed to SHS.

    As regards the second point, it is only hard because our politicians are so incompetent. Bear in mind that Cameron, Clegg, Milliband and co were never educated in ‘detail’ – they were only educated in ‘generalities’. This means that, in any particular circumstance, they have no idea what to do. They must therefore rely upon ADVICE.

    Who provides the advice?

    As regards the enjoyment of tobacco, it seems to me to be true that politicians, over several years, have allowed the Dept of Health to be infiltrated by zealots. And, there has been a particular person who has engineered this infiltration – Sir Liam Donaldson.

    I do not say that Sir LD was dishonest in any way. I am merely saying that the World Health Organisation is both unaccountable and corrupt.

    We see that these matters are complex. But we also see that there would be no problem if THE CORRUPTION IN THE WHO AND THE UN AND THE EU was expurgated.

  4. Curmudgeon says:

    It’s a bit like the way anyone who expresses scepticism about man-made global warming is accused of being a shill or a dupe of Big Oil. It’s funny how I have yet to see a single dollar from Exxon or Philip Morris in my bank account…

  5. Rose says:

    If you haven’t been called a shill for big tobacco you haven’t arrived.

    I was only explaining the plant chemistry of the nightshade vegetables and that nicotine was not unique to tobacco on a newspaper thread.
    I was very surprised to be attacked
    It was around the time of the ban and I’d never encountered anti-tobacco before.

    IN MY VIEW: Brainwashing in the Anti-Smoking Movement: #1 – Smearing the Opposition

    “If you take part in secondhand smoke policy training in the tobacco control movement, chances are that you will be taught that all opposition to smoking bans is orchestrated by the tobacco industry, that anyone who challenges the science connecting secondhand smoke exposure and severe health effects is a paid lackey of Big Tobacco, and that any group which disseminates information challenging these health effects is a tobacco industry front group. Consequently, the a chief strategy of tobacco control is to smear the opposition by accusing them of being tobacco industry moles. And in no situation should one say anything positive about an opponent, even if true.

    How do I know this?

    Because for many years, I was one of the main trainers of tobacco control advocates in the United States. And this is what I taught, because this was what I was led to believe. I attended many conferences and trainings and this is precisely what I was taught. I accepted it for the truth, and passed it along to others.”
    http://tobaccoanalysis.blogspot.com/2007/04/in-my-view-brainwashing-in-anti-smoking.html

    So then I realised I had inadvertently hit a nerve.

  6. Rose says:

    “Some of the posts above have all the hallmarks of an orchestrated attack by the tobacco industry which is deeply concerned that the activities of ASH will damage their revenues. That is of course to be expected but let us not be under any illusions as to why they are being made.”

    “If you take part in secondhand smoke policy training in the tobacco control movement, chances are that you will be taught that all opposition to smoking bans is orchestrated by the tobacco industry”

    “The measures recommended in these guidelines aim at protecting against interference not only by the tobacco industry but also, as appropriate, by organizations and individuals that work to further the interests of the tobacco industry.”
    http://www.who.int/fctc/guidelines/article_5_3.pdf

    As Frank puts it.
    “What all this means is that the legislation cannot be allowed to be “subverted” or “interfered with” by not just the tobacco industry, but organisations or individuals who further the interests of the tobacco industry.
    And “individuals” means me. Or anybody else who objects to smoking bans. Because obviously, while any lifting such bans would obviously further the interests of smokers, it would also further the interests of the tobacco companies whose products they consume.”
    http://frank-davis.livejournal.com/133676.html

    So it’s quite surprising that they bothered to post on Liberal Vision at all.

    • Frank J says:

      They had no choice but to reply. Since Dave Atherton’s appearance on TV with Arnott, the heat has been on them and they’re feeling it. As you know, it’s not something they would normally choose to do – to respond and be severely shot down both personally and professionally – but with the serious questioning they now receive coupled with the amending of bans in several areas, they have little choice. According to AH in her blog she has even received an e-mail from somebody inside ASH who states their actions and beliefs to be ‘hogwash’ The cracks are showing. Very soon the heat will be turned on the APPG, another ‘fraud’.

      Stroll on!

      • Frank Davis says:

        According to AH in her blog

        AH?

      • Rose says:

        Tobacco Retailers Concerns ‘Air-Brushed Out’ By Government, UK 2008

        “Members of the Tobacco Retailers Alliance, a coalition of 25,000 independent retailers, have expressed outrage that their views were excluded from a Government report into retail displays of tobacco.

        In a report on the Future of Tobacco Control consultation published on Tuesday 9th December 2008, the Department of Health appears to have deliberately omitted evidence offered by the Tobacco Retailers Alliance.

        Ken Patel, Leicester retailer and National Spokesman for the Tobacco Retailers Alliance, said: “First the Minister refused to meet with retailers, now they have censored our formal response to a public consultation.”
        http://www.medicalnewstoday.com/releases/132901.php

        Thick fug hangs over tobacco
        “Incidentally, of 96,515 submissions to the DoH consultation, 49,507 came from something called Smokefree North West and a further 8,128 from Smokefree North East.
        It is to be hoped that their pre-written postcards or e-mail campaigns are not accorded equal weight to the more considered, but less shrill, views of the small retailers and tobacco industry.”
        http://business.timesonline.co.uk/tol/business/columnists/article5315436.ece

        MPs fall foul of ‘dirty’ tricks by tobacco giants
        http://www.guardian.co.uk/business/2008/dec/14/tobacco-industry-small-retailers

        If they managed to achieve all that, why bother about a few people expressing their opinions on a blog?

      • Frank J says:

        AH is Angela Harbutt on liberal Vision in the thread titled “ASH – We really must do this again”.

      • Frank J says:

        Rose: “If they managed to achieve all that, why bother about a few people expressing their opinions on a blog?”

        Exactly. Yet, for some reason, on this blog by this person they found it necessary to drag themselves up from the sewers to ‘respond’ both to her and Dave Atherton – not something they would normally do – albeit with the usual and singular garbage and notwithstanding that they’ve been pretty much destroyed on it. Any other ideas, ’cause I haven’t.

        This is good stuff

      • Junican says:

        AH – Angela Harbutt?

  7. Ed says:

    Don’t forget the Anti-Smoking Mafia in Scotland, they are all tarred with the same brush.

    http://f2cscotland.blogspot.com/2011/06/ash-scotland-assaulting-smokers-with.html

  8. Brigitte says:

    …….but a Professor of Health Psychology at University College. And you work in CRUK’s Health Behaviour Research Centre. And you’ve got a degree in psychology (not medicine or statistics). And you advocate the coercion of smokers to force them stop smoking:

    “Coercion, by raising price, is probably the method with

    the strongest track record, the price elasticity for

    consumption being estimated at –0.4 internationally.

    More draconian measures may one day be possible:”

    I am a little surprised Robert West has so little understanding of what can be termed basic psychology.

    “Coercion, by raising price, is probably the method with the strongest track record…..

    Perhaps Mr. West lacks experience when it comes to dealing with adolescence – the more expensive something is, the more the youngsters feel the need to have it. This + an element of “risk taking” (aren’t extreme sports very popular these days? – doesn’t every packet of cigarettes/tobacco tell you that you stand the risk of dying if you dare to go near it?) makes ASH’s et al hate for all things smoking one of the most “epic phails” ever.

    A large number of youngsters have their heads screwed on – and they do ask questions. A very popular one I often answer is: “how long have you smoked?” – “42 years” – “How come you still are alive and do our sport, then?” “Dunno – I guess we didn’t know SHS and active smoking “kills” – and we weren’t scared. That’s why we are still alive and kickin'”!

    • alanx says:

      A hearty thank you to all who contributed to the thread over on Liberal Vision, especially Dave Atherton for soaking up the ad homs so well.

      I’ve kept my gob shut over there, as I don’t think scientifically but write emotional things.

      Well said also to MrA on points he glanced on – the Ash types do not realise the ferocity of contrariness that they inspire in the sane.

      I’ve got my own epidemiology, it shows that some vegetable dodging smokers live into their 80’s or 90’s after a working life of occupational hazard, whilst some clean living celery munchers die young in unfortunate ways.

      In my opinion smoking is a normal pleasure.

  9. Brenda says:

    A couple of years ago I attended the TICAP conference with other members of Freedom2choose.and was appalled that Mary Honeyball MEP had almost accused me of being paid by the tobacco industry:
    This diatribe comes to you courtesy of a Ms Brenda O*****, a delegate to the conference against prohibition who apparently paid to attend out of her own resources.
    http://thehoneyballbuzz.com/2009/01/22/ukip-mep-goes-up-in-smoke/

    I had obviously paid my own travel and hotel expenses for the trip and was disgusted by the innuendo.
    I am still active in Freedom2Choose in the fight against the smoking ban and have personally paid for postage etc. to lobby M.P.’s and self funded organised meetings (as have many other F2C members)

    ASH:
    It is a small to medium-size registered charity, employing (in 2010) an average of 10 staff. The salary of its Chief Executive was within the range £60 – £70,000, which is normal for a London-based national charity.
    http://freedom-2-choose.blogspot.com/2011/03/f2c-triblogology-part2.html?utm_source=feedburner&utm_medium=feed&utm_campaign=Feed%3A+blogspot%2FqZch+%28Freedom+To+Choose%29

    Perhaps I am on the ‘wrong side’

    Brenda

  10. Junican says:

    I have just read the Honeyball statement. At first, I could not understand what she was going on about. Her statement seemed to be saying that you complained about the EU cancelling the venue for the event. She quoted your complaint at some length, a complaint which seemed to me to be very reasonable. I then expected some revelation of ‘a diatribe’. Where was the diatribe? It took me a while to realise that the very reasonable complaint was supposed to be the diatribe! But it also took me a while to realise that the phrase that Honeyball used:

    “”….who apparently paid to attend out of her own resources.””

    was the offensive one. (Forgive my lack of quickness)

    The offensive word is obviously ‘apparently’, implying, as it does, that there is some doubt about using your own resources; the obvious inference being that you did not, and was a ‘paid lackey’ of the Tobacco Industry.

    But it goes further, does it not? Her statement also suggests that you were wrong to complain. That the EU is perfect in every respect. That it is not corrupt.

    Well done for bringing this to our attention. We see more and more how corrupt the EU is. I do not dislike the EU myself. But I think that it seriously needs sorting out. In its present form, it is a dictatorship.

  11. Will the last person who leaves the empty ASH headquarters please leave an ASHtray!

    • Frank J says:

      I feel the ASHITES to be the 8th. plague they forgot to mention and just like the first 7 they’ll disappear. ( I presume they’re no relation to the Hittites)

  12. Kin_Free says:

    I missed out on the ASH / tobacco control rout – shame – It was a brilliant read. If I had discovered it earlier I would have commented.

    As you noticed Frank, there were many anti comments on there, claiming posters had tobacco company affiliation in an attempt to smear independent posters, but most pro-choicers’ to their credit, actually denied any such affiliation – I bet they were disappointed in the realisation that most (if not all) had no connection with Big T.

    I can’t help but wonder if this was a response to my ‘research’ in an article in the Guardian earlier this month. http://www.guardian.co.uk/world/2011/jun/01/green-smoking-australia-cigarettes?
    (ref; my comments near the very beginning and near the end of the comments)

    I have noticed for a long time that when I post comments on articles etc. I am regularly accused of being a big T shill but when I have responded by requiring that THEY deny THEIR connections with tobacco control (TC), I have found that they stop commenting altogether, ignore my request entirely, or do an ‘Ali shuffle’ to side-step the question.

    It is clear to me that most on-line commentators who support TC are closely aligned with (probably paid by) TC. They comment from a position of anonymity as if they were just normal members of the public in order to maintain the deception that there is strong public support for TC measures. I put this to the test in the Guardian as I was able to get my comment in early and challenged any TC supporters to deny any connection with TC.

    Out of 143 comments, around forty (40) posters supported TC (there were others but as their support for TC was not clear cut I did not count them) Only ONE (1) poster denied having any connection with TC! A ratio of 40:1!!

    The scientific methodology may not be ‘impeccable’ but I think it proves a point! – Common Con men !! (and women)

    Kin_Free

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