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Scottish Tobacco Control: never mind the evidence feel the bias
November 29, 2012
by Belinda Cunnison
THIS WEEK the Scottish Parliament Petition 01451 to achieve a review of the 2005 restrictions on smoking tobacco, which closed 22 October, came before a hearing of the Public Petitions Committee. As on earlier occasions, the petitioners were not invited to give evidence, and the reasons for this are becoming clearer by the day.
The SPICe (Scottish Parliament Information Centre), as is normal, briefed the Public Petitions Committee herethat makes a number of points. It notes that EU 13779 – the ventilation standard published by the European Commission four years ago that shows how to clean smoke out of buildings – doesn’t have the force of law. (Freedom 2 Choose Scotland’s petition simply points out that removing smoke can be part of a coherent air quality standard.)
It also flags up a UK Parliament document by the Parliamentary Office of Science and Technology on indoor airborne pollution pointing out that no government department has specific responsibility for this area. (This document seems to concern itself mostly with cooking fumes and Environmental Tobacco Smoke (ETS), and cites the famous Pellesque 17 per cent drop in heart attacks that allegedly followed the implementation of the Scottish smoking ban in evidence.)
In a section on passive smoke, it then lists evidence that passive smoke damages health, using all the usual sources. It lists counter-arguments, sourced mainly from the Tobacco Manufacturers’ Association.
In a section on ventilation, it gives arguments against the use of ventilation (basically, against the use of piss-poor ventilation that has already been shown not to work). It presents arguments in the petition in favour of using air-cleaning systems: Paragraph 19:
“Those who support the use of ventilation systems also use the wider argument that identifying and measuring the components of ETS and assessing the exposure of non-smokers to them in real-life situations, present very great difficulties. TMA (2004, p 8) stated that various substances that make up ETS are generally only present in extremely low concentrations, some below any meaningful measurement. It contended that some of these are likely to be present in the air anyway, emanating from other sources and inseparable from the ETS contribution.”
It also gives a brief history of parliamentary activity on the smoking ban, listing the two previous petitions. It then addresses the Scottish Government’s view. The Scottish Government does not intend to review the smoking ban. It considers on the basis of studies carried out in the early stages of implementation that the smoking ban had proven health benefits. It does not want to reverse the tide of denormalising smokers, and it also wishes to adhere to the Framework Convention on Tobacco Control, which recommends public smoking bans. Finally the petitions clerk suggests that further information could be sought from interested parties, including ASH Scotland, NHS Scotland, Forest, the TMA, or the petition could be referred to the Health and Sport Committee.
Inherent bias is overwhelming. The Scottish Government’s plan for tobacco control will be published early in the New Year, and we get a hint of it here – the Government has announced a plan to make Scotland smoke-free by 2030. John Watson of ASH Scotland says:
“We know that 69% of smokers say they want to quit and we know that two-thirds of current smokers started before they were 18.
“If we achieve those goals, we are actually talking about a small number of willing adult smokers continuing to do that. That is their business, and we don’t want them to be criminalised or stigmatised for doing that.”
Is Watson unique in tobacco control, not to want to denormalise smokers? Or is he lying?
As usual, competing interests of the tobacco control lobby are ignored:
“In its submission to the then Scottish Executive‘s consultation in 2004, ASH Scotland, presented details of research which led it to conclude that ventilation could not be accepted as a solution to the risks associated with exposure to ETS.”
ASH Scotland received a considerable funding boost in the lead-up to the smoking ban (?1m in 2005/2006 as opposed to ?779K in 2004: FOI request result). Are we supposed to believe that this conflict of interest was immaterial? On this basis they decided that because specific ventilation systems are not fool-proof, no other air cleaning system can possibly work!
Petition 01451 calls for a review of the smoking ban in the light of EN 13779, which shows how an indoor air quality standard can accommodate smoking, and in view of advances in air cleaning technology which has to deal with toxins that are far more dangerous than secondary smoke.
The Scottish Government really does not want to consider the Freedom2Choose Scotlandpetition! Note the mention of the Framework Convention on Tobacco Control and note also that every single reference to arguments in favour of our petition is sourced by tobacco interests – that even those the petitions clerk suggests consulting over the petition are tobacco interests. (Article 5.3 of the FCTC advises against allowing tobacco industry interests to contribute to health policy. This will allow the Scottish Government to reject the evidence of these contributors solely because they are assumed to wish to ‘undermine or subvert tobacco control’.) They are setting up straw man arguments by only taking evidence from opponents they distrust as a matter of principle.
This tactic has been noted before, during evidence sessions in 2009, before the Health & Sport Committee on the tobacco display ban. When retailers’ and tobacco vending representatives were asked how much tobacco manufacturers gave them in funding, Katherine Graham of the Tobacco Retailers’ Alliance, asked reasonably:
“There is an organisation called the NFRN—the National Federation of Retail Newsagents—that has a Scottish branch. The committee presumably had the opportunity to call the federation here today, but it did not. The NFRN is funded entirely by its members, rather than by the tobacco industry in any way. It could have been a voice for independent retailers, without any link to the industry, at today’s meeting.”
In other words, if tobacco funding is such an issue why is it that the Scottish Parliament seeks tobacco-funded organisations to speak to it against the government’s chosen policies on tobacco, when alternatives are available? The answer might be that tobacco funding offers an easy stick with which to beat their opponents, and effectively exclude them from participating according to demands of the Framework Convention on Tobacco Control. On this occasion Katherine Graham was rebuked swiftly:
“The Convener: We will not be chastised about who we call before the committee, if you do not mind. We have all the written evidence and it is for the committee to decide which witnesses to call—we have called a very representative sample here today.”
Her point remains valid – and when our petition comes up for further consideration we hope that the Scottish Parliament Health and Sport Committee chooses wisely who will speak in favour of Petition 01451.
There must be dialogue with people who can speak with authority on modern air quality standards and air cleaning technology, both in relation to the hospitality trade and the wider economy. Air cleaning technology will just get better and better, and common sense will prevail eventually.


Illegal cigarette sales increased by almost half in last year
By DAVID MADDOX
17 November 2012
THE number of potentially dangerous illegal cigarettes ?being sold in Scotland has increased by almost half in the last year, according to a new report.
The report shows that 10 out of every 100 packets of cigarettes or loose tobacco sold in 2012 are illegal products designed to avoid paying tax, a rise from 7 in 10 in 2011.
Produced by industry investigators, the report urges Chancellor George Osborne not to raise tobacco duties to help plug the gap in the public finances as the move would encourage even greater levels of tobacco smuggling across UK borders. It estimates that the problem of tax avoidance involving illicit tobacco products will already cost the Exchequer ?5 billion in the next two years.
The report also outlines the danger of illegal tobacco products – which can carry harmful toxins – to young smokers. A survey of under-16s in Angus earlier this year by the Scottish Tobacco Control Alliance revealed that at least half knew where to buy cheap tobacco.
Ian Howell, UK tax and brand manager for the tobacco manufacturer JTI, said that many of the products are so-called “whites” , which can ?carry high levels of lead.
Howell said: “While there is no such thing as a cigarette that is good for you, the ones made outside the strict regulations on the tobacco industry can be very dangerous.”
Many of the illegally sold tobacco products are now being shipped in by criminal gangs as loose tobacco, he added. It is then separately packaged with fake tax and health labels added.
Currently, up to 90 per cent of legally sold tobacco products is duty paid to the ?Exchequer. Tobacco manufacturers claims there is a direct link between tobacco duty and the rise in illegal sales.

Controlling air quality is the route to reforming smoking bans
October 10, 2012
by Belinda Cunnison
A DAY DOES NOT PASS when we are not asked to believe that a substance that most people were breathing since the beginning of time – smoke from ordinary plant materials – cannot be dealt with using modern air cleaning technology. For all the literature produced about it, there have been no medical caseswhere causation of medical conditions has been categorically proven to be due to low levels of exposure to tobacco smoke – a fact that has made many people question the need for any smoking ban, never mind one as comprehensive as the one found in Scotland.
Recently I proposed, on behalf of Freedom to Choose (Scotland)1, Scottish Parliament petition 01451 (Review of smoking ban) in order to challenge the assumptions of the health lobby, whose underlying motivation is to discourage smoking, that smoke is a toxin that no air cleaning technology can now or will ever be able to deal with safely, that there is no safe level of tobacco smoke, and, most definitely, that ventilation doesn’t work.
Declaring that never will technology be able to clear the emissions from smoking seems to be the product of a mindset that does not want to enable smokers to be catered for either in the workplace or in recreational venues. The position of Freedom to Choose (Scotland) is that society’s interests should be met rather than resisted. A blanket prohibition on smoking makes it harder for people to get together socially, and this affects people more in districts where concentrations of smokers are higher, aggravating inequalities in many ways.
It is generally true that in workplaces there is a principle that exposure to toxins is best avoided if at all possible, however it has also always been recognised that different workplaces involve different sorts of exposures to different levels of risks from different sources that are difficult to avoid without fundamentally challenging the nature of that workplace.
Asking schoolteachers and children to put up with classrooms that had tanning lamps installed and running in the ceilings would be unacceptable, yet we allow restaurants to install patio dining and drinking facilities where their workers are “forced” to expose themselves on a daily basis to the risk of malignant melanoma from solar radiation. Just as with any Class A carcinogen, there is, theoretically, no safe level of exposure to sunlight, yet we do not ban patio dining: we accept that workers can reduce the risk through partial protection provided by clothing, awnings, and sunscreen use.
We tolerate workers being exposed to levels of carbon monoxide and diesel exhaust products in indoor garages that would never be acceptable in a day-care centre: we do not simply ban indoor garages, however we accept thepartial protection afforded by modern ventilation and air filtration technology.
Freedom to Choose (Scotland) is urging that the same sort of thought be applied to allowing pubs freedom of choice in deciding their own smoking policies based upon the wishes of their owners, workers, and clientele.
The ambient air, into which tobacco smoke is released, is not clean in the first place, making it well nigh impossible to isolate secondary smoke as the cause of sickness because pollutants contained in smoke are not limited to smoke. So not only is smoke not avoidable, but removing it still leaves air containing viruses, bacteria, spores, pollen, and plain old smells.
If the advocates of smoking bans are interested in clean air, their method of extracting one specific source of so-called ‘toxins’ (tobacco smoke) and leaving us with record-breaking pollutant levels in the general atmosphere lacks all logic. Their purpose is clearly and simply to discourage tobacco use by pinning all kinds of respiratory, heart and lung conditions on to smoking (or secondary smoke), in spite of the exposures to other toxins or adverse environmental conditions in the workplace, on the battlefield, or even in the home.
There are specific, measurable standards of occupational exposure to airborne contaminants, and permissible exposures vary between different jurisdictions. In saying that there is ‘no safe level’, the enemies of tobacco smoke declare that there is no point in measuring tobacco smoke which, because it is so lethal, one cannot be exposed to at all. In fact it is a mix of particles and gases, each constituent of which can be said to have a permissible safe level expressed in parts per million or billion. If people are smoking in a given air space and these permissible levels are not exceeded (for whatever reason: the room is large with a high ceiling, the window is open) there cannot be said to be a danger. When the level of smoking approaches impermissible levels, air-cleaning equipment can be used. Permissible standards are the guide regardless of whether or not a facility allows smoking.
Equipment that cleans air employs various technologies: extraction and filtration, ionising technology, and others: sometimes combined within a single unit. Any equipment that cleans air has to be maintained and serviced to ensure efficient running.
Any venue that wishes to permit smoking needs to ensure that its air-flow can cope with it. The industry should carry an audit of recommended equipment for all sizes of venue and price ranges but with specific air quality requirements in mind. Establishments that wish to allow smoking can then obtain the equipment, and once in place, patrons can be invited to smoke.
The result should be that ambient air, even with the addition of smoking, treated with air cleaning equipment, gives a cleaner result than ambient air in a non-smoking establishment where no treatment of air has taken place.
Of course upholding such standards would be an ongoing concern of the industry, with the assistance of environmental officers. But using local environmental officers to uphold and maintain air quality standards rather than simply hand out tickets to smokers is a far better use of local resources. This is about priorities.
Freedom to Choose (Scotland) believes that smoking bans damage people, increasing their isolation; and damage businesses, when they are helpless to alleviate a problem because of overzealous regulation. Taken to extremes, both isolation and business failure are measurably detrimental to health. With the rapidly increasing air pollution rates and increasing numbers of lung cancers found in non-smokers (Glasgow is one of the most polluted cities in the UK), sending people outside on to the street to smoke is worse than fiddling while Rome burns.
The power of the health lobby is a significant obstacle. We should be able to allow the hospitality industry (together with the appropriate government agency) to set standards for air quality, to give the air-cleaning industry the specifications it needs for improving ambient air, and in doing so create spaces with improved air quality where smoking can take place with the minimum of inconvenience to anyone else.
1 Freedom to Choose (Scotland) includes both smokers and non-smokers and receives no support from any industry.

New air cleaning technology could allow indoor smoking, says campaign group

By Freedom to Choose (Scotland) — PR Log – Global Press Release Distribution
Oct 04, 2012

Improvements in air cleaning technology and the recent publication of indoor air quality standards by the European Commission could enable the hospitality industry and other workplaces to allow smoking indoors.

Petition 1451, Review the smoking ban

With another cold winter in the offing and more news in the headlines of Scottish pubs closing, Freedom to Choose (Scotland) has launched a petition calling for a review of the Scottish smoking ban.[1]

The petition struck a chord with frustrated pub goers, publicans, and with the media. Unlike earlier petitions, Freedom to Choose (Scotland)’s Petition 01451 is formally based on a European air quality standard, document EN 13779.[2] Published since the implementation of the smoking ban in Scotland, this document treats tobacco smoke as just one of a number of airborne toxins that air cleaning technology removes from indoor air spaces on a regular basis. Media coverage spurred online interest over the weekend of 21 September, and petition signatures shot from a few dozen up into the low hundreds as internet debates raged back and forth over the harms of the ban versus the harms of exposure to low levels of environmental tobacco smoke.

Smoking ban legislation has generally rested upon claims that “there is no safe level of secondary smoke”, and “ventilation doesn’t work”. The degree to which secondary smoke is hazardous to one’s health is keenly disputed and is obviously related to such factors as degree of concentration and duration of exposure. Modern air filtration technology can remove it, just as it can remove other toxins. The technology for such air handling has improved significantly in recent years, with some affordable devices “claiming a single pass kill rate of 99.999% of bio hazards while removing particles down to the level of 1 micron or below, equivalent to a single particle of cigarette smoke”.[3]

Freedom to Choose (Scotland) asks, “Does the ‘health lobby’ understand the mechanics of air cleaning engineering better than those who work in the field?” and criticizes the health lobbies’ claim that technology capable of removing anthrax, swine flu, C Diff, and MRSA is helpless in the face of something as ordinary as wisps of smoke from a few burning leaves. Freedom to Choose (Scotland) also claims that the smoking ban has prevented the hospitality industry from catering effectively to up to one quarter of the adult population in Scotland while contributing to the closure of nearly one-fifth of Scottish pubs.[4]

The impact on pubs in Scotland and the rest of the UK has been replicated in other areas that have sought strict enforcement of imposed smoking bans, most recently in Bulgaria where a 50% decline in business since the ban was introduced in June cannot be put down to a long-term trend.[5] The smoking ban, as it stands, has also caused extreme hardship in some non-hospitality areas such as hospitals, where smoking patients stand outside in the winter, attached to IV drips while wearing nothing but wispy hospital gowns.

Freedom to Choose (Scotland) now urges the Scottish Parliament to allow the Scottish hospitality industry to flourish and allow venues the option of offering smoking accommodations by setting air quality standards that can be met through the use of modern air cleaning technology. Spokeswoman Belinda Cunnison says the organization hopes for a return to rationality, and a departure from special interest pressure politics in arriving at an acceptable and constructive compromise that will benefit the health, happiness and livelihoods of all Scots – smokers and non-smokers alike.

Category Health, Engineering
Tags Pubs, Scotland, air cleaning technology

To contact author via email see full Press Release at link below
Phone
0845 643 9552
Address
F2C
15 Linksview House, Tolbooth Wynd
Edinburgh
Scotland
EH6 6DP
United Kingdom
Read
http://prlog.org/11990729


Ban’s left our pubs gasping for breath
06 June 2011
By Paul Waterson
It is time for Scotland to think European on the smoking ban, says Paul Waterson
Five years ago our pubs were generally full of life, had a great atmosphere and were just about holding their own against vicious price competition from the supermarkets.
Although many had non-smoking areas and some had great ventilation, some thought that they were also full of smoke.
Scroll forward to today and we’ve very successfully got rid of the smoke, but at the price of losing many of our most loyal and valuable customers – and the pubs that went with them. In those five short years north Edinburgh and Leith has lost 34 pubs on its own and around 800 pubs have closed throughout Scotland. That’s about one in eight and four times the pre-ban rate.
We know that some of our bar staff’s eyes don’t sting, and their clothes don’t smell the way they used to, but it is difficult to see how else we have benefited. We may get an occasional new face in the pub – but they are few and far between and cannot replace, emotionally or financially, the regular with his own place at the bar and a pint and a cigarette in his hand.
When smoking was banned indoors, we were told that this was a sign of a brave new Scotland that was leading Europe. Most other countries didn’t agree. In the EU, only the UK and Ireland, among the cold rainy countries of the north, have such severe bans. In the south, countries such as Greece, Spain and Cyprus have followed suit – but what’s the problem with smoking outside in lands of almost permanent sunshine and balmy evenings (even if the bans are enforced)? Most countries, however, chose a middle path between a total ban and allowing smoking everywhere.
These countries seem to have balanced any potential improvement in public health against the very real threat to those wonderful social and community centres, therapy providers, and entertainment hubs we call pubs.
They have considered how to prevent staff from being exposed to smoke and come up with the wonderful idea of smoking rooms – which are quite separate from the rest of the bar. They have even thought about bars that are owner-operated and so have no members of staff who could be ‘involuntarily’ exposed to tobacco smoke – and have exempted them.
Some countries, such as France, have allowed new smoking spaces to be built in the grounds, or even housed in tents. In other words, they have been flexible – and they have saved hundreds and thousands of pubs, bars and cafes from going bust.
We hear that loosening the ban in any way would be to throw away the huge public heath gains.
Does this make sense? According to the latest Scottish Household Survey published by the Scottish Government, the proportion of smokers went down from 28.1 per cent in 2003 to 25.4 per cent in 2006 to 24.3 per cent in 2009 – in other words in the three years before the ban smoking went down by 2.7 per cent; in the three years after the ban by just 2.1 per cent. 12 per cent of pubs that have shut in the five years since the ban – licensees have been more affected than smokers.
No-one is suggesting that we go back to the old days. We know those have gone and many of our jobs have gone with them, but we can stop further destruction of one of our great institutions – the local pub – by looking to Europe and following their lead. No-one has to use smoking rooms unless they wish to. Even the vehemently anti-smoking US Surgeon General wrote “specially designed smoking areas inside a building can effectively isolate second-hand smoke”, and a visit to Europe can quickly show that they work very well in keeping smoke and non-smokers apart. Equally, an exemption for small bars is hardly going to change the world.
Many pubs are happy with the ban, and wouldn’t want to turn the clock back, and there would still be a huge choice of places for non-smokers to visit – but for some small pubs such an exemption would be a lifeline and an opportunity to survive in an otherwise very hostile environment.
The smoking ban was a bold experiment a few years ago. Had we all known then what we know now – that it would be the licensees doing the quitting, not the smokers – would it have been pushed through in the same way? Quite possibly; but common sense suggests that easing the ban a little will do nothing to harm the “health benefits” and may stop many more hard-working licensees from losing their livelihoods.
– Paul Waterson is chief executive of the Scottish Licensed Trade Association

ASH Scotland opens page on research into third-hand smoke
February 27, 2011
Second-hand and Third-hand smoke 2010
Third-hand smoke was discovered in a telephone poll and has already become a tool for further denormalising smokers. Just one of the titles featured on this page of ‘research’, ‘when smokers move out and non-smokers move in’ (Matt, Quintana et al., Tobacco Control, 2010), is enough to make the skin crawl, especially to any smoker seeking to rent living space, and especially on the other side of the Atlantic.
I am reminded of the famous raid on Tommy Sheridan’s home, when the police accused his wife of the theft of whisky miniatures. The police saw the miniatures during their lengthy raid on the Sheridans’ property and thought they would charge her with stealing them. She was suspended by her employer British Airways before BA checked its own records and discovered that the miniatures had not been stolen. But by that time Gail Sheridan’s name had been dragged into the mud. No issue, no evidence, no crime, but ill will and gullibility lead to a sordid outcome.
The genesis of the third-hand smoke phenomenon is described by Chris Snowdon here: an intriguing story of researchers manipulating the evidence:
Having come up empty-handed using a real-life smoking environment, the researchers had resorted to using nicotine vapour on cellulose substrates in an experiment that could not be replicated outside of a laboratory. Even then, they had not found NNN in any of the experiments and the only TSNA to appear in any quantity was NNA. This posed a problem because NNA doesn’t actually cause cancer, as the authors admit: “NNA carcinogenicity has not been reported.”
In a nutshell, people are making a fuss about something because there is a market for fuss, and a market means money. There’s money in

March 2, 2011
Tendring District Council, working in conjunction with Essex Police, have erected roadblocks across the north of the country in order to pull over drivers to crack down on those smoking in company cars.? According to the newspaper article, “Council wardens and uniformed Police officers will check inside vehicles for ‘ashtrays’ and the ‘smell of smoke'”.? Those “criminals” found to have smoked in their vehicles will face a fixed-penalty fine of ?50 or could be taken to court and handed a ?200 fine.??


Scottish Government guidelines for smoke-free mental health services
20 February 2011
Here at last are the guidelines directed to health trusts, designed to show them how to implement a completely non-smoking regime in institutions and facilities dedicated to psychiatric care.

Forest welcomes tobacco display ban delay
NEWS RELEASE January 25, 2011
Forest has welcomed the announcement by the Scottish Government that the introduction of the tobacco display ban in Scotland is being delayed from 1 October 2011 until further notice due to a legal appeal by Imperial Tobacco.
Simon Clark, director of Forest, said:
“We welcome the announcement and hope that this marks the beginning of the end for the tobacco display ban in Scotland.
“Banning the display of tobacco in shops is an illiberal measure that will do little to reduce youth smoking rates.
“It’s an act of commercial censorship that is designed to denormalise tobacco and stigmatise adults who choose to consume a perfectly legal product.
“Tobacco control policies should be evidence based. There is no evidence that a display ban will achieve anything apart from costing small retailers money that they cannot afford and inconveniencing hundreds of thousands of law-abiding consumers.”

Forest, Sheraton House, Castle Park, Cambridge CB3 0AX
Telephone: 01223 370156 Email: contact@forestonline.org

ASH Scotland looks for support from Scottish Government, as smoking rate remains static
2010-09-17?
By Freedom2Choose Scotland
In a press release from ASH Scotland(1) on 15 September 2010 Sheila Duffy, chief executive of ASH Scotland, urged Scottish Ministers to “explore new ways” of reducing the damage done by tobacco and warned that smoking was still “comparatively high” in Scotland, with more than a million adults lighting up.
The admission that there are still over a million adults smoking is surprising considering that in 2005/2006 the figure quoted was 1,048,000.(2)
Freedom to Choose (Scotland) Chairman Eddie Douthwaite said, “It is clear that the smoking ban in Scotland (now over four years old), the increase of the smoking age to 18, and relentless government anti-smoking propaganda have had very little effect on reducing the number of smokers.”
“This is not surprising when the failure rate of NRT products is 98.4 percent (3), the reported serious effects of varenicline resulting in lawsuits in the USA(4), and smokers are rebelling against the Scottish Government’s “Denormalisation” programme(5).
“The amount of Scottish Government funding of Tobacco Control over the last four years (at least ?53.2 m (6) ) would seem to have brought little success. This funding (which includes money allocated to local authorities, not ASH Scotland funding) cannot be sustained in the current economic climate.
“This call by ASH Scotland would seem to be more of a plea for continued funding by the Scottish Government in light of forecast cuts in government expenditure.”
The main purpose of the smoking ban was held to be protecting the health of non-smokers and it was expected that the ban “in Glasgow alone, would save 1,000 lives each year”(7). But there is no sign of any such drop in the death rate. Reports that heart attacks in Scotland dropped 17 per cent(8) following the smoking ban have been somewhat muted since a University of Bath study found a drop heart attacks in England to be only 2.4 per cent (9). Neither figure was supported by routine statistics.
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The result of the Westminster General Election is a government asking us what we want repealed. We are also faced with extensive public spending cuts.
See link here in which Sheila Duffy discloses the amount to the Health & Sport Committee in May last year. .
Action on Smoking and Health is a publicly funded lobby group created by government to campaign on smoking and health issues. With the rest of the anti-smoking lobby it has gained enormous influence, in Scotland handling over ?900K of public money and further money (?11 million) allocated via health boards. The attached document from ASH details Westminster spending on smoking cessation (Scottish public health area allocations at .
These levels of spending are not sustainable at a time when frontline services are being cut back. .
Please see the?attached letter (STUB OUT NHS WASTE) which puts this problem in its proper context.
Please circulate this letter to your friends esp to any working in the health service who might be affected by cuts;? send this letter or (better) write your own to your local paper, or to your Member of Parliament, Scottish Parliament/Welsh Assembly as appropriate with any information you have about your local situation.
June 14-15 sees the 2010 UK Smoking Cessation Conference. Shortly before this event we will produce a press release.
We have just released the following notice on the Freedom to Choose public discussion forums and on Facebook. Please support this event as much as you can by spreading information, and come if you are able.


Smoking
26 October 2009
BY MICHAEL J. MCFADDEN
Increasing heart disease has steadily paralleled the rise of motor vehicle use. I would like to recommend a regulation requiring speed governors on private vehicles operating within Scottish borders, limiting them to a top speed of 10kph. Aside from the obvious reduction in accident deaths such a limitation would encourage many Scots who currently drive, to walk or use healthy bicycles instead.
The increased exercise would greatly reduce deaths from heart disease while serving as a healthy example to our children who would see driving “denormalised” and spurn future licenses. I grant that “there is no data” that such a regulation would cut heart deaths in half, but “this is cutting edge legislation and will create new evidence.” Hey, these were the arguments used to promote tobacco sales display legislation, according to such personages as Dr Gruer, Director of NHS Scotland, and Shona Robison, the Minister of Public Health & Sport, at Holyrood’s Smoking Conference on September 23, so why not apply it to cars as well? If it makes sense for one, then it should make sense for the other, right?
Why am I writing to you from Philadelphia? Simple: the antismoking movement is worldwide and coordinated through multi-million-pound international conferences where thousands of paid professionals and activists plan out these campaigns years in advance. Your “Tobacco and Primary Medical Services (Scotland) Bill” is more easily passed there than here at the moment, but it will eventually be used to pressure legislation in the States as well. I saw the Scottish pubs in the early stages of being destroyed during an otherwise wonderful visit in early 2006 and I hear daily tales of continued destruction to that backbone of Scottish cultural life in almost daily emails from friends there. This “Bill” is simply one more step in a carefully orchestrated plan to socially engineer smokers out of existence through what they like to call “DeNormalization” – the final solution to “The Smoking Problem.” I don’t believe the Scottish people would approve if they became aware of the full scope and conscious planning of such actions or if they truly understood the extent of the lies upon which imposed smoking bans and their extensions are based.
That is why I am writing from Philadelphia. Despite loud claims to the contrary, there’s no real evidence that display bans have anything at all to do with “children smoking.” They’re simply another small step promoting prejudice, discrimination, and denormalisation of those adults who have decided they enjoy a certain somewhat unhealthy pleasure in life.
?


CELTEXMUSIC and FREEDOM TO CHOOSE (SCOTLAND) PRESENT FUNDRAISING EVENT
STRETCH DAWRSON AND THE MENDING HEARTS, 2 pm, Sunday 30 May, CISWO Club, North Street, Glenrothes, Fife, Scotland
Please consider attending this event, and invite friends, especially Fifers who enjoy good music!
‘Celtexmusic’ in association with ‘Freedom2Choose’ (Scotland) proudly present Scotland’s premier Western Swing Band ‘Stretch Dawrson & The Mending Hearts, just back from their successful tour entertaining audiences in the USA. Their latest CD ‘Celtex Swing’ will be on sale at the event.
Grab your cowboy hats, boots, and dance, dance, dance. Scotland’s premier Western Swing Band, just back from their latest tour of the USA. No 8 in the Western Swing Charts
FREEDOM TO CHOOSE (SCOTLAND) AND CELTEXMUSIC UNITED AGAINST THE BLANKET SMOKING BANS
Smoking bans are the creation of governments and vested interests that wish to denormalise smoking. That is to say, they wish to marginalise smokers from respectable and responsible positions in society, and isolate them from social interaction with non-smokers, careless of the lost social cohesion that results. These authorities have created a climate of fear surrounding second-hand smoke, which is one of the weakest toxins known to humankind.
INTOLERANCE IS A LEADING CAUSE OF INEQUALITIES

Heart Attack Mortality – another riddle
February 09, 2010
A report on Sunday states, ‘Last night, sources close to the government admitted there had been no significant decline in smoker numbers.’ The number of people smoking in Scotland has barely dipped from 2006 levels.
Smoking ban supporters will declare that stopping people smoking was never the point. The point was to protect hospitality workers from the effects of secondary smoke. But it is hard to see exposure levels declining much when people are smoking as much as they were before.
The report also reads ‘A separate Scottish government report shows that since the smoking ban there has a 19 per drop in heart attacks among smokers.’
.Actually this is not quite true. It refers to Jill Pell’s much discussed study of 2007 claiming that heart attack admissions had dropped 17 per cent. The 17 per cent was an average of 21 per cent non-smokers, 19 per cent former smokers and 14 per cent active smokers. But the question remains: How does a 14 per cent heart attack among active smokers come about when smoking has dropped by only 1 per cent? Are the drops claimed in the other groups plausible?
The 17 per cent claim went round the world and was replicated everywhere. Freedom to Choose (Scotland) challenged its use last year in the Scottish Government consultation document Achieving smoke-free mental health services in Scotland, but the government stood by its claim, even claiming that routine data covering the whole of Scotland (revealing a gentle decline over many years that was unaffected by the smoking ban) were somehow irrelevant.
It will be interesting to see if the heart attack miracle can be sustained, in the light of this new information that only 1 per cent has quit. Time will tell.


Scottish Display Ban Becomes Law
29th January 2010
The Scottish display ban was voted into law on Wednesday 27 January, with just 15 dissenters. Late amendments to shelve the display ban element in the law and to allow radio-controlled vending machines in licensed premises were voted down. A full report of proceedings is here.
The main story (link below) focuses on the Tory amendments and Mary Scanlon MSP’s claim (using statements quoted from the parliamentary record) that the law is not supported yet by an evidence base. Health Minister Shona Robison’s reply is less than convincing:
The Conservatives believe that it is simply not true to say that removing the final marketing tool of the tobacco industry will reduce the attractiveness of tobacco to children and young people. I believe that they are wrong on that. Very few countries have yet introduced a tobacco display ban, and those that have have done so only recently. As with the ban on smoking in public places, we are pioneers. From the work of Cancer Research UK and others, we know that the display of tobacco in the most prominent place in 11,000 shops in Scotland is having an impact on our most vulnerable. It is making a product that kills half of its long-term users more attractive to children and young people. Therefore, I contend that the evidence for banning displays exists. For me, the most compelling point is the need to remove the last advertising loophole. I reassure the chamber that the Government is committed to evaluating the impact of all the provisions in part 1. (col. 23103) [my emphasis]
The fact that displays enhance the visibility of products does not lead naturally to the conclusion that removing the displays will remove demand for the product, especially from young people who already acquire tobacco illegally because they are not of age, in addition to other illegal substances.
The Scottish government’s desire to keep pace with anti-smoking legislation is critical. ‘Moreover, if the bill is passed it will reinforce the Parliament’s position as a world leader in tobacco control and in public health more generally—that is important’ (col. 23148).
Dr Richard Simpson MSP also mentions ‘denormalisation’, another consistent theme of government policy on smoking. His contribution to the debate has also been colourful, featuring a debate with the Health Minister on 17 January (link now expired) on vending machines, raising false hopes that the issue might prove to divide the Scottish Parliament along party lines. In spite of advocating the use of radio controlled vending machines in this debate, he remained quiet on this issue during debate in the Chamber on Wednesday and voted finally against the amendment. Rhoda Grant MSP, the Labour member of the Health & Sport Committee who brought the amendment to allow radio controlled vanding machines, was also persuaded by the Health Minister’s arguments and voted against her own amendment.
It is remarkable that such decisive victories can be won by a minority government in cases where supporting evidence is so slender.? The wish to be pioneers in the anti-smoking legislative juggernaut and to render smoking increasingly unacceptable clearly out-trumps common sense solutions and any semblance of moderation. Showing that the devolved parliament has teeth might also play a part.
Is the official view of tobacco that it kills, or that it is a contributory factor in ‘smoking-related diseases’? Tobacco both ’causes almost one in four’ deaths in Scotland (col. 23149) and ‘kills one in two of its long-term users’. Very few estimates put Scottish smoking rates at 50 per cent in any age group and the average rate across age and income groups seems to be a little over a quarter of the adult population: the Scottish government has set a target of 25 per cent for young adults this year .? If tobacco kills one quarter of Scots, that suggests that it kills almost all of its users, long-term or otherwise, and certainly more than one in two. This is an inconsistent picture of the damage caused by smoking that badly needs to be cleared up.
The lack of an evidence base behind the significant measures of this bill – removing displays and banning vending machines (even though an alternative exists that would make underage purchasing very difficult) remains a problem, and retailers claim that the requirements of the legislation are still unclear.
Freedom to Choose profoundly regrets the passing of this regressive legislation.


Mary Scanlon Proposes Removal of First Three Sections of Tobacco Bill
January 25
The amendments are listed here. The three relevant sections of the Bill include the section that prohibits tobacco display, which is the key element of the Bill. Mary Scanlon is a Conservative MSP who has consistently argued against the Bill and against claims in the Bill that suggest the evidence supporting it is watertight.
Also lodged by Rhoda Grant (Labour, supported by Mary Scanlon, Con) is a motion that will permit radio-controlled vending machines for tobacco. This provision includes a clause enabling it to be removed by Ministers, in the event that radio controlled machines fail to curb the problem (the perceived problem?) of underage sales. Her Labour colleague in the Health & Sport Committee Dr Richard Simpson has also spoken in favour of trialling vending machines
Retailing organsations have not given up their fight to save tobacco displays, amid continuing arguments about the cost to retailers of meeting the new requirements..They will use the remaining months until 2013 to continue to put their case. Both Westminster and Holyrood face elections in this period – interesting times lie ahead.


Smoking
26 October 2009
Increasing heart disease has steadily paralleled the rise of motor vehicle use. I would like to recommend a regulation requiring speed governors on private vehicles operating within Scottish borders, limiting them to a top speed of 10kph. Aside from the obvious reduction in accident deaths such a limitation would encourage many Scots who currently drive, to walk or use healthy bicycles instead.
The increased exercise would greatly reduce deaths from heart disease while serving as a healthy example to our children who would see driving “denormalised” and spurn future licenses. I grant that “there is no data” that such a regulation would cut heart deaths in half, but “this is cutting edge legislation and will create new evidence.” Hey, these were the arguments used to promote tobacco sales display legislation, according to such personages as Dr Gruer, Director of NHS Scotland, and Shona Robison, the Minister of Public Health & Sport, at Holyrood’s Smoking Conference on September 23, so why not apply it to cars as well? If it makes sense for one, then it should make sense for the other, right?
Why am I writing to you from Philadelphia? Simple: the antismoking movement is worldwide and coordinated through multi-million-pound international conferences where thousands of paid professionals and activists plan out these campaigns years in advance.
Your “Tobacco and Primary Medical Services (Scotland) Bill” is more easily passed there than here at the moment, but it will eventually be used to pressure legislation in the States as well. I saw the Scottish pubs in the early stages of being destroyed during an otherwise wonderful visit in early 2006 and I hear daily tales of continued destruction to that backbone of Scottish cultural life in almost daily emails from friends there. This “Bill” is simply one more step in a carefully orchestrated plan to socially engineer smokers out of existence through what they like to call “DeNormalization” – the final solution to “The Smoking Problem.” I don’t believe the Scottish people would approve if they became aware of the full scope and conscious planning of such actions or if they truly understood the extent of the lies upon which imposed smoking bans and their extensions are based.
That is why I am writing from Philadelphia. Despite loud claims to the contrary, there’s no real evidence that display bans have anything at all to do with “children smoking.” They’re simply another small step promoting prejudice, discrimination, and denormalisation of those adults who have decided they enjoy a certain somewhat unhealthy pleasure in life.
MICHAEL J. MCFADDEN


No ‘same again’. . it’s water for you!
28 August 2009
By Adam Morris
BAR staff in Edinburgh have been banned from asking customers if they would like the “same again” – and told to offer a glass of water instead.
The move, which was today branded “ludicrous”, has been introduced as part of the Licensing (Scotland) Act which comes into force next week, aimed at tackling binge drinking.
While the city council insists it has still not decided how to interpret many aspects of the new legislation, mandatory training courses for bar staff in the city are already under way.
Staff who have been on the courses say that as well as being told not to offer customers the “same again” so as not to encourage drinking, they have been advised to always offer a glass of water.
A prize of “cash behind the bar” can no longer be given as a reward for winning a pub quiz, while special offers such as “buy two glasses of wine and get the rest of the bottle free” have also been outlawed.
And offering free drinks to customers who have perhaps waited too long for a meal or suffered some other inconvenience has also been prohibited.
One source, who had been on the training course, which all bar staff will be required to undertake, said: “Some of the things we have to do are completely ridiculous, like not asking folk if they’d like the same again, and instead offering them water.
“There are a lot of changes to make, so no more up-selling of stuff, like offering to make spirits a double for a pound extra.”
Some publicans say they have even been told to keep a note of how much each individual customer had consumed.
Pedro Tomas, the manager of Mr Modos on Lothian Road, said: “I don’t know how you are supposed to run a pub quiz without there being a prize.
“When bar staff ask customers if they would like another drink, it is just an act of courtesy.”
All bar staff will need to prove they have completed a Scottish Government approved training course.
Although ignoring even minor parts of the legislation would constitute a breach, industry insiders said it was probably too early to say how stiff punishments would be.
Labour councillor Ian Murray, who also runs Aspin Bar on South Bridge, said: “On the whole I welcome this legislation, because we and many others run a very tight ship, and it’s those who don’t who’ve got us to this position.
“But training courses telling staff not to offer say, someone who’s had half a lager and lime, another one is ludicrous.”
Another pub manager, who wished to remain anonymous, told the Evening News: “It is hard enough right now to try to run a bar, the smoking ban hit everyone really hard. And now this.
“We have had all of our freedom taken away to try to run a bar, and provide a social and fun place.”
It was revealed last week the city council was going to take a tougher stance on its interpretation of the legislation than any other local authority in Scotland, although officials have stated they are yet to meet formally to rubber stamp their policy.
The city’s licensing leader Cllr Marjorie Thomas said: “The board has not made any decisions regarding the interpretation of these conditions, relating to either type of premises in the city.
“We will be taking advice from both our license standard officers and the police.”
A Scottish Government spokesman said it was up to local licensing boards to interpret the rules.
ALL CHANGE
Some of the new rules affecting city pubs:
• No asking the customers if they’d like the “same again”. Instead, if returning to the bar, offer a glass of water.
• No more “cash behind the bar” prizes for pub quiz winners.
• Prices of alcohol cannot change for any less than a 72-hour period – meaning no more “happy hours”.
• No more two-for-ones, or similar deals.
• The end of “up-selling” – i.e buy two glasses of wine and get the rest of the bottle free.
• Stricter conditions surrounding entertainment such as karaoke and live music.
Your Say: Do the new licensing guidelines go too far?
Ian Barclay, 37, shop manager, Polwarth: “If someone is old enough to be in a pub then they are old enough to know what they want and how much.”
Jane Hughes, 31, music tutor, Polbeth: “So many pubs ignore recommendations about selling cheap drink. If a pub plays by the rules, it should have no concern about these.”
Scott Clark, 41, IT manager, Parkhead: “This is an insult to bar workers and their managers. It isn’t in their interests to sell drink cheaply, or to have heavily intoxicated people in their pubs.”


Press Release – Fierce Lobbying Continues in War over Tobacco Display and Vending Machines.

June 8, 2009

A committee of the Scottish Parliament has been hearing evidence in Stage 1 of the Tobacco and Primary Medical Services Bill,1? which proposes to ban the use of tobacco vending machines and the display of tobacco products. The British Medical Association has declared to the media that many of its opponents in the debate are tainted by tobacco funding and that the primary concern of these organisations is financial,2 and has urged the Scottish Government ‘not to be swayed’ by their evidence.

Freedom To Choose (Scotland) has already published evidence that Tobacco Control activities throughout the world are heavily backed by pharmaceutical interests who have an enormous stake in the war against the tobacco industry.3

The Health & Sport Committee has received written responses from various organisations, including those with vested interests on both sides of the debate. It has also received well-argued responses from independent, self-funded organisations including civil liberty organisations and a retailers’ alliance.

“Ignoring the well-known vested interests of Tobacco Control organisations, the BMA in Scotland is bending over backwards to describe voices opposed to the introduction of display bans as tobacco industry stooges,” claims Eddie Douthwaite, chairman of Freedom To Choose (Scotland). “This is misleading. Most of the independent organisations opposed to this Bill were not invited to provide their evidence.”

Of those organisations opposing the Bill, the majority invited at Stage 1 of the Bill were those known to be funded by the tobacco industry (including those named by the BMA). These parties were asked to declare the extent of their tobacco funding by Ian McKee MSP.4

“The Committee has chosen to listen to stakeholders from both sides of the argument and has overlooked the centre view of non-aligned organisations putting forward the views of the public and the consumer,” continues Eddie Douthwaite.

“The fact that this tactic was used appears more than coincidental to many. Why were more independent organisations not called to give oral evidence at this stage? How can they make themselves heard with this pick and choose system of law-making to suit the agenda of the day? This is not democracy in practice.”

Health Minister Shona Robison has already declared, even before completion of Stage 1 of the Bill, that the Scottish Government is committed to banning the use of vending machines,5 in spite of evidence that there are several different ways to ensure age-restricted sales from vending machines.

The Health Minister will present evidence at the final oral evidence session, to take place on Wednesday, 10 June.

Spokesman: Eddie Douthwaite – 0131 331 3607


Read More:? Scotland Observations Page 1

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