Two Items of Good News

Great news from Taking Liberties:

The BBC has this morning revealed that eleven councils in the south west are to stop funding the anti-smoking campaign group Smokefree South West which will close in June.

It goes on:

CRUK is one of many anti-smoking organisations but at least they’re not funded by the taxpayer. As long as we have organisations like CRUK, the British Heart Foundation and the British Lung Foundation, why on earth do we need publicly funded groups like Smokefree South West, Tobacco Free Futures (formerly Smokefree North West) and FRESH (formally Smokefree North East)? Or ASH for that matter?

The sooner ASH’s Deborah Arnott is out of a job, the better. But who funds CRUK? Last I heard, they were mostly funded by Big Pharma, and push pharma solutions to absolutely everything.

H/T Tony, some other good news from Australia:

CSIRO has announced it will axe 300  to 350 climate jobs, which will “wipe out” the climate division. The head of the CSIRO wants to focus on climate adaption and mitigation instead. Suddenly a lot of Profs who told us the debate was over are squealing that it needs more research. Climate science was “beyond debate” and in need of action, but now we “need to know more about the basic operation of the climate”. Oh the dilemma!

I see: if climate science is settled, there’s no more need for climate scientists. Tee hee.

Isn’t tobacco science settled as well? We could do with a similar cull of tobacco scientists. And couldn’t we do with a bit of adaption and mitigation there too? How about mitigation in the form of a few smoker-friendly pubs and cafes, and re-adaptation to the ambient tobacco smoke that pretty much everybody used to be fully adapted to? That would be a start. Slashing punitive taxes on tobacco would be another welcome piece of mitigation.

Anyway, it’s not often I read two pieces of good news in a day. In fact, it’s not often I even read one piece of good news.

P.S. Three items of good news! Charities to be banned from using public funds to lobby ministers. About time too.

About Frank Davis

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25 Responses to Two Items of Good News

  1. harleyrider1978 says:

    Heres a time line starting in 1900,dont be surprised to see the same thing playing out today nearly 100 years later.

    1901: REGULATION: Strong anti-cigarette activity in 43 of the 45 states. “Only Wyoming and Louisiana had paid no attention to the cigarette controversy, while the other forty-three states either already had anti-cigarette laws on the books or were considering new or tougher anti-cigarette laws, or were the scenes of heavy anti- cigarette activity” (Dillow, 1981:10).

    1904: New York: A judge sends a woman is sent to jail for 30 days for smoking in front of her children.

    1904: New York City. A woman is arrested for smoking a cigarette in an automobile. “You can’t do that on Fifth Avenue,” the arresting officer says.

    1907: Business owners are refusing to hire smokers. On August 8, the New York Times writes: “Business … is doing what all the anti-cigarette specialists could not do.”

    1917: SMOKEFREE: Tobacco control laws have fallen, including smoking bans in numerous cities, and the states of Arkansas, Iowa, Idaho and Tennessee.

    Always look for the signs and the future will appear!

    • Some French Bloke says:

      Always look for the signs and the future will appear!

      Not to put a damper on anyone’s optimism, but here are two quotes by Paul Valéry (1871-1945):
      “History justifies whatever we want it to. It teaches absolutely nothing, for it contains everything and gives examples of everything.”

      “History is the science of things which do not repeat themselves”

    • harleyrider1978 says:

      600 years of smoking bans how many were never repealed………..ehh!

      All of them were

      • harleyrider1978 says:

        The Utah anticigarette law was the last of its kind; although North Dakota and Kansas kept theirs until 1925 and 1927, respectively, they were never seriously enforced, Utah having demonstrated that strict enforcement caused more problems than no enforcement at all.

        • harleyrider1978 says:

          Has anything changed in 80 years when it comes to bans………nope not one bit,impossible to enforce and ridiculous if you do.

        • harleyrider1978 says:

          Breaking the UTAH smoking ban in 1923

          Which they were, since they—along with McKay, who as a result of some rather undignified snitching by his accomplices in crime was soon to become the object of a similar criminal complaint—openly had violated Section 4, Chapter 145, of the Utah state code. The four men had been smoking in an enclosed public place.

          The story goes even farther and UTAH became a laughing stock of the country for its smoking ban.

          In fact, only one state enacted a new, prohibitory anticigarette and antismoking law during the postwar antismoking campaign. That state was Utah.

          Utah had banned cigarette sales to minors in 1896, but although cigarette prohibition bills were considered in later years, Utah generally muddled through the pre-war crusade without actively joining in. The postwar revival of that crusade found congenial ground in the state, however, particularly within the powerful Mormon church, and in 1920 a church publication hinted that the time had come for all-out war. By February, 1921, the church had lined up enough support to secure easy passage of a bill prohibiting cigarette sales, cigarette advertising, and smoking in any form in certain “enclosed public places,” such as government offices, theaters, and—more germane to this article—cafés and restaurants. The bill sailed through the legislature with little public comment—no one really expected it to be enforced anyway—and was signed by Governor Charles Mabey. By June, 1921, cigarette sales and public after-dinner smokes were illegal in Utah, but as expected the new law affected Utah smokers hardly at all. Restaurant and theater proprietors seemed unwillingly to enforce it themselves, and the sheriff’s office and the police department bickered over who would have the thankless task. In the end, no one enforced it.

          In 1922, however, Mormon church president Heber J. Grant urged Mormon voters to elect officials who would promise to enforce the new laws. Benjamin R. Harries vowed to do just that, and in November, 1922, he was elected Salt Lake County sheriff. Soon after he took office, Sheriff Harries ordered a number of raids on suspected cigarette dealers, whereupon the dealers paid homage to the law by hiding their cigarettes and charging bootleg prices for them. Sheriff Harries obviously decided that more dramatic measures were required, because on February 20, 1923, Mr. Bamberger, Mr. Lynch, and Mr. Newhouse found themselves in jail.

          As if their march down Main Street had not been humiliating enough, the three men were then informed that each would have to post a ten-dollar bond before he could be let go. The implication that so measly a sum could substitute for their word of honor was simply too much; an argument ensued. The three finally were released on their own recognizance by Judge Noel S. Pratt, but not before they had chided deputies Mauss and Harris for not also arresting McKay. That did not help them, but it did result in another complaint being sworn. It was served by telephone, and McKay promised to surrender himself the next morning. Later that day Newhouse told a newspaper reporter that the entire affair was a “frame-up” and a political ploy by Sheriff Harries and his “asinine deputies.” Sheriff Harries dismissed the accusations as “bosh” and ordered his deputies to continue to enforce the law. The next day several deputies raided the Hotel Utah grill room and the state capitol (where the legislature was in session) and arrested six more smokers. The deputies were disappointed when they could find no smoking legislators to arrest.


          he pressure finally proved too much for even the strongest supporters of the antismoking laws. Within a week the Deseret News , a Mormon publication, signaled partial surrender by endorsing a pending revision of the laws to allow cigarette sales to adults and reduce greatly the restrictions on public smoking. The amendment bill streaked through the legislature and was signed by a no doubt relieved Governor Mabey. Charges against Bamberger and his partners in crime were dropped. The Utah crusade was over.

          The Utah anticigarette law was the last of its kind; although North Dakota and Kansas kept theirs until 1925 and 1927, respectively, they were never seriously enforced, Utah having demonstrated that strict enforcement caused more problems than no enforcement at all.

      • harleyrider1978 says:

        Some Utah lawmakers would like to ban smoking

        By LEE DAVIDSON | The Salt Lake Tribune

  2. Barry Homan says:


  3. harleyrider1978 says:
  4. Lepercolonist says:

    Now that oil has dropped to $30/barrel the governor of Oklahoma is asking for an increase of $1.50 per pack in cigarette taxes. Why not increase the gasoline tax so that all Oklahomans share in the budget deficit ? On the back of smokers again. Gross mismanagement.

    • prog says:

      Following this kind of logic, government’s financial problems wouldn’t be in such a mess if every adult smoked.

      Imagine a parallel universe (for the UK) where adults were coerced to smoke or face discrimination, persecution and alienation. If all adults smoked 20/day, HMRC would raise about £300,000,000/day = £109,500,000,000pa based on current rates of duty. Factor in the reduced lifetime healthcare cost (say, £50,0000pp) increased contentment and decent pubs (thus less mental depression)


  5. Nell B says:

    THANK YOU! You’ve made my Saturday morning-let’s hope the dominoes keep falling.

  6. Rose says:

    Joyful news on both counts.

    Now let’s hope they get rid of the rest.

    You can see why they were originally set up.

    Government ‘fixing health consultations’ with taxpayer-funded groups
    02 Jan 2009

    “The Government has been accused of fixing the outcome of public consultations on health policy after it emerged that reviews were flooded with block votes from groups funded entirely by the taxpayer.”

    “Earlier this month the Health Secretary, Alan Johnson, announced that the display of cigarettes and tobacco in shops would be banned in England and Wales from 2011.”

    “Mr Johnson boasted that the display ban was favoured by an “overwhelming majority” of 96,000 responses to a six-month public consultation on the subject.”

    “Yet only a handful of those 96,000 respondents came from individuals submitting their personal views. Almost 70,000 came from those collected by pressure groups entirely funded by the Department for Health.

    Among the groups submitting block responses were SmokeFree NorthWest, SmokeFree Liverpool and SmokeFree North East, which were all set up by the Government to lobby against the tobacco industry.”

    “Ministers have effectively been accused of “astroturfing” – cultivating a fake grassroots movement in order to make a position appear more popular than it really is.”

    Such behaviour is shameful in a democracy.

    More shameful that the Conservative government appear to have used the New Labour government’s sham consultation to introduce the policy.

    Which had been demanded by the WHO FCTC, incidentally.

    Article 13 FCTC

    12. Retail sale and display.

    “Display of tobacco products at point of sale in itself constitutes advertising and promotion.Display of products is a key means of promoting tobacco products and tobacco use,including by stimulating impulse purchases of tobacco products,giving the impression that tobacco use is socially acceptable and making it harder for tobacco users to quit.

    13.To ensure that points of sale of tobacco products do not have any promotional elements. Parties should introduce a total ban on any display and on the visibility of tobacco products at points of sale, including fixed retail outlets and street vendors.
    Only textual listing of products and their prices, without any promotional elements, would be allowed.”

    Article 13 also includes Plain Packaging

    16. Plain packaging.

    The effect of advertising or promotion on packaging can be eliminated by requiring plain packaging: black and white or two contrasting colours, as prescribed by national authorities: nothing other than a brand name and/or manufacturer’s name, contact details and the quantity of the product in the packaging, without any logos or other features apart from health warnings, tax stamps and other government mandated information or markings: prescribed font style and size: and standardized shape, size and materials.
    There should be no advertising or promotion inside or attached to the package or on individual cigarettes or other tobacco products”

    Click to access article_13.pdf

    So you could say that these government funded lobby groups like Smokefree South West have already done their job and councils no longer need to fund them.

  7. Rose says:

    The link from VGIF

    Charities to be banned from using public funds to lobby ministers

    “Revealed: A new clause to be inserted into all new and renewed grant agreements will make sure that taxpayer funds are spent on improving people’s lives and good causes, rather than covering lobbying for new regulation”

    “The Institute of Economic Affairs, a right of centre thinktank, has undertaken extensive research on so-called “sock puppets”, exposing how taxpayers’ money given to pressure groups is paid to fund lobbying campaigns on policies such as a sugar tax and the environment.

    Officials are hoping that the clause will ensure that freedom of speech is protected, while stopping taxpayers’ money being diverted away from good causes.

    Matt Hancock, the Cabinet Office minister, told The Telegraph: “Taxpayers’ money must be spent on improving people’s lives and spreading opportunities, not wasted on the farce of government lobbying government. ”

    Well done Chris.

    Far away I can almost hear church bells ringing.

  8. Joe L. says:

    Sounds to me like an outdoor ban on trees is in order:

    Stunning discovery: Trees are increasing global warming

    An alarming new report finds that trees are actually causing the Earth’s temperature to rise.

    It sounds like a great idea to fight climate change — but a new study has thrown a bucket of cold water on the notion of planting trees to stop global warming.

    The study, published this past week in the journal Science, shows that forests are increasingly made up of dark green conifers in Europe has actually increased the pace of global warming, showing that not all trees are good for battling climate change, according to a Christian Science Monitor report.

    Scientists think about 6 percent of the global warming observed so far is due to an increase in temperature caused by these trees. And scientists are seeing similar afforestation in China, the United States, and Russia, so the problem could actually get worse.

    • Frank Davis says:

      Interesting. It seems the problem isn’t that trees don’t absorb CO2 and emit O2 (they all do), but that dark-leaved conifers absorb more solar radiation than lighter-leaved broad leaf trees (and presumably thereby contribute more to warming).

      So we don’t need a ban on outdoor trees, but simply a ban on outdoor conifers. And in future we’ll see people – movie stars, etc – planting silver birches because of their highly reflective bark.

  9. harleyrider1978 says:

    Velvet Glove, Iron Fist: The beginning of the end of the sock puppet state

  10. harleyrider1978 says:

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