Tiptoeing Away

H/T Simon Clark, the BMJ has been complaining:

Is the UK government still serious about reducing smoking?

The lack of a tobacco control plan since 2015 could damage recent gains in reducing prevalence, Sophie Arie reports

On 20 May, the UK is set to take a huge stride in efforts to stop people smoking. It will become the second country in the world, after Australia, where cigarettes can be sold only in standardised, plain packaging.

Yet at the same time, concern is growing that the current government is letting other crucial tobacco control policies slip, policies that have greatly reduced the prevalence of smoking in recent years.

Since 1998, successive governments have put in place consecutive plans for tobacco control measures in England—from legislation and taxation to increasing public awareness of the harm caused by smoking and helping people to quit. Under those plans, smoking prevalence among adults has dropped by over a third, from 28% to under 18% in 2015. Smoking among young people fell from 11% in 1998 to 3% in 2014.2

Yet the last plan expired at the end of …

That’s all I’m allowed to read without a subscription to the BMJ. And I probably couldn’t get a subscription to it, even if I wanted one (which I don’t), because they almost certainly don’t want smokers like me polluting their pages with 18th hand smoke.

Anyway I certainly hope that the UK government isn’t serious about reducing smoking. I’m not sure that it ever has been, to be quite honest. It’s the cunts in the BMJ and the BMA and the RCP and the WHO who’re dead serious about it.

In fact, whenever I think about it, it always seems to me that the UK government most likely wants to quietly tiptoe away from the catastrophe that it has inflicted on the British people over the past ten years with all its antismoking legislation, which has been smashing society apart, bankrupting pubs and clubs, and doing unimaginable damage in countless other ways.

And there are indeed faint signs that it’s tiptoeing away, with first SmokeFree SouthWest being de-funded, and now SmokeFree NorthWest also de-funded, and no new Tobacco Control plan put in place to follow up on 17 previous years of such plans.

And there are some very good reasons why the UK government should be distancing itself from Tobacco Control. For the UK government is ultimately responsible to the British people, who can vote them into office, and also vote them out. They may have begun to realise, belatedly, that smokers like me are never, ever going to vote for the Labour party that introduced the smoking ban of 1 July 2007, nor the Liberal Democrat party that enthusiastically supported them, or any of the minority of Conservative MPs who also voted for the expulsion of smokers from society, as they were “exiled to the outdoors” by the smoking ban. For I’m never going to forgive them for what they did to me, and to about 15 million other British smokers.

The cunts in the BMA and RCP and WHO are accountable to nobody. Which is precisely the reason why they have become infested with antismokers and health freaks, with their mad plans for a smoke-free, alcohol-free, fat-free, sugar-free, salt-free world. They are organisations which may as well have been taken over by Indian gurus teaching Yogic Flying. In fact, it would have been much better for everybody if they had been. At least we’d all be flying around like birds if they had been. Shopping would be so much easier.

The BMJ can be quite open – and actually is quite open in the editorial above – about wanting “to stop people smoking”, because it’s not answerable to those people. But the UK government is answerable to them. And most likely this realisation has been slowly dawning on a few people in the UK government: they’ve alienated a lot of their own people. And it is ultimately the entire purpose of the UK government to represent the UK people. The UK government has no other purpose. And does it really want to lose not only its voters, but also its tobacco revenues?

Governments climb on these bandwagons from time to time, usually with a great fanfare of trumpets, and then quietly get back off a few years later. We watched David Cameron re-brand the Conservative party as a Green party, even changing its torch logo into a tree. He’s gone now, but he was already walking back from the “green crap” by the time he left office. And now, most likely, the government  has begun to edge away from the zealots in Tobacco Control just like it has been edging away from the zealots in Climate Control, hoping that nobody will notice. And maybe they haven’t. It’s not being widely reported.

I think that the UK government may have begun to realise that there’s nothing “crucial” about Tobacco Control and its policies. They may even know the vandalistic exercise of “plain” packaging won’t be any sort of “huge stride” anywhere. They may even doubt the BMJ claim that adult smoking prevalence has fallen by a third as a consequence of previous measures, given that these numbers are being provided by Tobacco Control in its own defence.

Tobacco Control must be destroyed. It does far, far, far more harm than good. And it probably doesn’t do any good at all. And if its demolition will require the destruction of not only ASH but also the BMJ and the BMA and the RCP and the WHO,  and all the other supportive foundations, then so be it. They sowed the wind. They will reap the whirlwind.

About Frank Davis

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21 Responses to Tiptoeing Away

  1. Rose says:

    Yet the last plan expired at the end of – 2015, if my maths is correct.

    Peers call on government to publish Tobacco Control Plan
    23 February 2017

    Deborah Arnott, chief executive of health charity ASH said:
    “A new tobacco control plan for England has now been promised repeatedly, but we are still waiting, fifteen months after the last one expired.”

  2. Timothy Goodacre says:

    Why do we need anymore Tobacco Control Plans ? Surely now there is nowhere else for these state funded twats to go. They’ve completely ruined the social life of the UK. Government should be mindful of the smoker vote and tell ASH, BMA, and PHE where to go.

  3. Roobeedoo2 says:

    This is in Denmark – Dying man granted wish of a glass of wine and a cigarette:


    The fact this even makes it into the news is a sad reflection of the destruction wrought by Tobacco phobic fuckwits worldwide.

  4. Pat Nurse says:

    The govt is not tiptoe-ing away from smoker persecution. Try writing to the health minister and you will find out.

    The closure of another smoker hating office means nothing but that the govt is streamlining it’s persecution to cut the cost of it. While there is a public health office in every council, rest assured that their daily job every day will be to look at where they can ban smoking next.

    Outdoor public places, plus council homes or public housing, and then private housing with the scaremongering on third hand smoke and the move to devalue smokers’ homes will all be a feature of this smokerphobic govt in the coming 10 years or less.

    I am not trying to be pessimistic, just realistic. The govt will stop at nothing to reduce smoking and the smoker hating fake charities have shown them how they can force smokers to quit. The govt just doesn’t need so many of them.

    • Frank Davis says:

      Try writing to the health minister and you will find out.

      The health minister isn’t the government. The UK government, at any one time, will consist of a lot of people with a lot of different opinions. The government isn’t of one mind. It’s of many minds.

      The govt will stop at nothing to reduce smoking

      Is that really what Theresa May is all about? Is that what she wants to do?

      I don’t think it’s the government that will stop at nothing to stop people smoking. It’s the medical lobbies in the form of ASH and the BMJ and BMA and RCP and WHO who will stop at nothing. And they’re highly influential inside the government. But they’re not the government.

      And I think that what’s ultimately at stake here are two rival notions of proper government. One of them is that government should be parliamentary representative government, elected by the people, for the people. And the other one is that governments should be about top down control of the people, to make them behave in the ways the government wants, making them so many serfs to be ordered to do this or that or the other. The first is bottom-up government, and the second is top-down government.

      Back in June, shortly before the EU referendum, my local Conservative MP gave a talk about it, and said that he regarded his job as an MP as being one of representing the people in his constituency. So he was in favour of bottom-up government. And he didn’t vote for the smoking ban, which is a piece of top down government control.

      And Brexit was a victory for bottom up representative government. I didn’t actually believe that Theresa May would do what the British people chose to do: i.e. leave the EU. But that’s what she seems to have decided to do, perhaps partly at the insistence of MPs like my one.

      I think it’s the big political struggle of our time. In fact it’s what the political struggle has always been about: top down controllers versus bottom up representatives.

      The top down controllers have been on top in government for the past 10 or 20 years. But I think that the Brexit vote, and Trump’s election, have shown that the people can push back. And I think we’re going to see them pushing back everywhere.

      And I think you aren’t being realistic. I think you’re just being pessimistic.

      Although you may well turn out to be perfectly right.

      • Rose says:

        Times are changing, Theresa May is not Cameron and I was thinking of The Great Repeal Bill.

        Brussels, 16 June 2003
        EU among first to sign Convention on Tobacco Control

        “Health and Consumer Protection Commissioner David Byrne and the Greek Council Presidency are among the first to sign in Geneva today the Framework Convention on Tobacco Control (FCTC) on behalf of the European Union

        “Byrne was nominated to the European Commission by Taoiseach Bertie Ahern in September 1999, serving as Ireland’s EU Commissioner and had responsibility for Health & Consumer Protection in the Prodi Commission. He continued in that role until replaced as Ireland’s Commissioner by Charlie McCreevy in 2004.
        During his time in office, Byrne was a major driving force behind European tobacco control legislation, ”

        We appear to have been signed up as part of the bloc.

        There are some curious discrepancies over the dates.

        30 Jun 2005
        “The European Union today completed its ratification of the Framework Convention on Tobacco Control (FCTC) when Luxembourg’s Ambassador to the UN formally deposited the EU’s ratification documents with the UN secretariat in New York.”

        “Commenting on the EU’s ratification of the FCTC Markos Kyprianou, European Commissioner for Health and Consumer Protection, said : “The EU and its Member States played a leading role in negotiating this treaty, so it is right that we should lead the way in ratifying it. The challenge now is living up to the principles the FCTC contains, for example on protecting non-smokers from second hand smoke, helping smokers to quit and stopping young people from taking up the deadly habit in the first place.”

        But previously –

        16 Dec 2004
        “On the same day as these statistics were published, the UK ratified the World Health Organisation Framework Convention on Tobacco Control.”
        http: //www.wired-gov.net/wg/wg-news-1.nsf/0/77D27AEF0BE504D7802572AB004BA8C4?OpenDocument

        4 Nov 2014
        Q – “To ask Her Majesty’s Government what is the legal status in United Kingdom law of the Framework Convention on Tobacco Control Protocol and the Local Government Declaration on Tobacco Control.”

        A – “The World Health Organization Framework Convention on Tobacco Control (FCTC) is an international treaty that the United Kingdom signed on 16 June 2003, ratified on 16 December 2004 and which entered into force for the UK on 16 March 2005.

        The UK has therefore consented to be bound under international law by the rights and obligations set out in the FCTC.”
        http: //www.parliament.uk/business/publications/written-questions-answers-statements/written-question/Lords/2014-11-04/HL2652

        • smokingscot says:

          @ Rose

          I was wondering if some of what’s happening, or at least seeming to happen, had anything to do with Andrew Black being seconded to the WHO, because without his influence not a lot is likely to happen.

          Curiously I can find no reference whatsoever to his secondment (even though I posted a comment on this here blog only a couple of weeks ago). What does come up is that business of articles being removed on account of privacy or something – usual Google gibberish.

          During my search I came across a list of people who are in contention to take over from Margaret Chan as Director of the WHO when she sods off later this year. Six only, but there’s a very clear favourite. (Only one made sure the key issue of smoking cessation was highlighted on his CV. Pity, because the other 5 seem first rate at real health issues).

          Dr Miklós Szócska
          The Hungarian nominee, lauded as the first health minister to manage a full four years in office, has implemented a wide range of public health regulations, from banning smoking in public to adding a tax on food and beverages with added salt and sugar.


          On a very much more sinister note, I see that Stephen Williams (he of same sex marriages, hiding tobacco displays and plain packs, who got booted out by voters at the last election), well that self same sleazeball’s standing for a brand new political position, West of England Metropolitan Mayor – and as Guido pointed out, he thinks he’s got it in the bag.


          If he does, then expect to see Smoke Free South West reinstated.

          I think it’s down to a very small number of key players. Arnott ain’t one, she’s just an expendable patsy.

      • Pat Nurse says:

        I will only believe the war on smokers is over when the public health Quangos are closed down, ASH is booted out of the dept of health, and govt stops funding our persecution and gives us the same rights as other consumers to brand information, product and contents information, and price comparison as well as ending our social and health exclusion.

        It is good news the outdoor pub ban has been shot down by Tories but don’t forget that they also decided against plain packs initially before they were bullied and pushed into it by whining smokerphobic lobbyists. They may turn tail again after the local elections on May 4.

        I believe complacency earned us the ban and we can never again afford to be complacent. Govt has not so far given us any reason to think they will leave us alone. They have gone for every regulation proposed and remember how proudly Lansley, when Health Minister, declared he aimed to ensure tobacco had no business in this country and then proceeded to create the climate that led to the closure of tobacco factories and related industry not just in the production of cigarettes and tobacco but also the packaging.

        A health minister, it would appear, has a lot of power and we smokers cannot trust them because they are in the antismoker industry’s pocket.

        I heard that smokerphobic Williams was coming back on the scene. Watch how outdoor smoking bans in parks, public squares, town centres and the rest follow if he becomes Mayor.

        I am not trying to be pessimistic. I will not be fooled again. Action speaks louder than words so I wait to see what happens rather than what is said by ministers who we know speak with fork tongue.

  5. Timothy Goodacre says:

    They won’t ever tell me what to do in my own home.

  6. Smoking Lamp says:

    The government funded persecution of smokers must stop. Tobacco control must be eradicated.

  7. Smoking Lamp says:

    UK Supreme Court: Detainee succeeds in appeal against smoking ban at Carstairs

    A detainee who sought judicial review of the legality of a comprehensive ban on smoking at the State Hospital at Carstairs has had his appeal unanimously allowed by justices in the Supreme Court to the extent that the part of the impugned decision, which relates to the prohibition from possession of tobacco products and the powers of search and confiscation, does not comply with the Mental Health (Care and Treatment) (Scotland) Act 2003 and the Mental Health (Safety and Security) (Scotland) Regulations 2005.


    • nisakiman says:

      Unfortunately the court found that a total smoking ban in a secure mental facility was legal, and upheld it, which is very bad news. The only thing he succeeded in was preventing search and confiscation of tobacco products, which is something of Pyrrhic victory when the smoking ban itself has been upheld in a court of law.

    • Joe L. says:

      Whoa… so this comprehensive ban on smoking on the grounds of a State Hospital also stretches to include a ban on patients smoking while visiting home? How the fuck is this in the interest of “public health”??

      Emphasis mine:

      The comprehensive ban prohibited a detained patient from smoking or possessing tobacco products in the State Hospital, including in its grounds, and from smoking on home visits.

  8. waltc says:

    I recall reading a study not long ago to the point that increasingly smokers don’t vote. I believe it even postulated that one of the reasons was that smokers don’t feel that anyone represents them. To the extent that’s true, and that smokers won’t vote Labor, Lib Dem or Conservative (and there are apparently not enough to put UKIP in charge, even if they voted for it) it may well be that the Powers That Be are The Powers That WILL Be. Just a (pessimistic) thought

  9. Pingback: Labour’s Municipal Killjoys | Frank Davis

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