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.