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April 2012

Sent: 24th April 2012

From The Chairman

The hatred of smokers continues apace. It is bad enough when fake charities like Action on Smoking and Health (ASH) and the Department of Health start it off, but Health Secretary Andrew Lansley touring the BBC, Sky and ITV, TV and radio stations really makes the point that the government is after us.

I am not down hearted, indeed I relish the challenges ahead. I believe we have now won the argument that it is first the smokers, followed by the drinkers and the overweight who are feeling the wrath of the Conservative Party.

On Friday the 6th of April I did six interviews for radio, including a half debate and phone in with Deborah Arnott of ASH on Radio 5 Live. I also did BBC Radio WM and BBC Radio London. I was also quoted on the BBC website and my point about smokers being discriminated against was put directly to Andrew Lansley. Freedom2Choose is now national.

It may be complete coincidence but I usually get the daily ConservativeHome email. Since the interviews, I have received none.

Those who follow the international 'war on smokers' will be aware of the twitter and blog debates between Professor Simon Chapman and Professor Carl V Philips it will have been noted that on his ep-ology blog site, Professor Philips featured me in this story: ... an-is.html

It was certainly noted by Professor Chapman as I have now been blocked by him on twitter: whether his reaction is an attempt to deny free speech, an act of childish pique, or merely that he cannot present a balanced argument to counter my points I do not know but I am certain you will form your own opinion.

Dave Atherton
The Display Ban

‘Childish games of hide-and-seek the cigarettes will do nothing to reduce smoking’ was the headline in the Daily Mail, where Doctor Robert Lefever wrote about the display ban which came in on 6 April: ‘This latest control-freakery performance will not significantly reduce cigarette consumption. It is childish and inept. Already the high tax on cigarettes has created a strong black market.’ ... oking.html

Cigarettes and tobacco products disappeared behind closed doors in most supermarkets on 6th April. Smaller shops have until 2015 to pay for hiding their tobacco products. The issue got a lot of mainstream media coverage, but not all of it was sympathetic, and many commenters were against the display ban altogether.

The Telegraph was nicely sarcastic ... smoke.html and even dared to call both pro and anti display ban spokespeople ‘experts’. ... kdown.html

The Guardian reported the matter dutifully, but included anti display ban statements. ... permarkets

Even the BBC included anti display ban comments in its main story, including one from F2C’s Chairman Dave Atherton.

The Daily Express had an article headline: ‘New Smoking Law is a Farce’.

The City A.M. site wrote about the huge costs to retailers: £16million so far. ... -packaging

And up and down the country, smaller retailers continue to express their fears. ... -30711267/

Is the Chancellor being ill advised?

Every year we await the usual round of tax increases , we know they will come but not how much we will have to pay. It is guaranteed that Petrol, Alcohol, and tobacco will see major increases, that the lobby groups like ASH who are paid for with tax payers money will again demand higher taxation on tobacco citing health as the core reason. Even if we set aside the fact that government pay ASH to lobby government there are major issues involved in taxation.

Any product that is overtaxed immediately draws the attention of those who smuggle goods, Smugglers know and understand that it is human nature for people to seek the cheapest alternatives whether it be tobacco , alcohol, or perfume.

ASH do not recognise human nature or they would not advise the government that high taxation stops smokers smoking, as a direct result of their advice 50% of all rolling tobacco smoked in the UK is either smuggled or counterfeit to the extent that £12 Billions in revenue for cigarettes and £4.5 Billions of revenue is lost to the exchequer every year and it is growing as more people seek cheaper alternatives to paying UK tax on tobacco. ... z1rg0hDVqT
Freedom2Choose Front Page News Round-up

This month we have a small selection of articles from the F2C's front page.

The first deals with the budget and, in a departure from our usual fare comments,on minimum pricing.

Our second offering tells of the HOOP campaign, Hands off our packs is a campaign set up by FOREST to challenge the government on plain packaging. Included in the article is a link to the petition as well as the campaign itself. ... /logo4.png

Our third piece is about what may prove to be a major challange to the anti-smoking lobby. HoReCa and acronym for Hotels, Restaurants and Cafe's. The aim is for governments to be held accountable for the losses to business due to smoking legislation.

finally we have a piece that reflects upon the serious revenue loss the government is experiencing as a result of its anti-smoking policies, The figures are astronomical even for a five year period and do not include costs incurred by the UKBA and HMRC while going about their duties.
A Pro-Choicer In Every Constituency?

Junican from The Bolton Smokers Club has started a campaign to recruit pro-choicers from every Parliamentary Constituency. F2C wholeheartedly supports him in this, and we are happy to reproduce the letter he wrote to us. If you are interested please contact him via Bolton Smokers Club site: details below.

'Dear F2C Members

I strongly believe that it would be in our interests to form a group of constituents in such a way that we have at least one 'representative' in every constituency in the land. The more the better, of course, but at least one per constituency. We could call the group 'The Smokers Constituency Group' (if it needs a name at all).

It is not the intention that there should be onerous 'duties'. Not at all. Given that there might be some important point about legislation or whatever, which your MP should be aware of, my intention would be simply to circulate an email making a suggestion that members of the group might like to write the their MP and let them know. I might even suggest a 'form of words', but each person is entirely free to do and say what they wish.

All I need is your nickname (username, avatar, or whatever it is called) and your constituency in the UK. I shall keep a completely separate list of email addresses associated with the nicknames. There is nothing to be afraid of as regards this list since the email address of everyone who comments on any post I publish is supplied to me. It is not unusual. All blogs are the same in that respect. The list will, of course, be entirely private and jealously guarded.

The way to add your name to the list is extremely simple - whatever the subject of any post I publish, just leave a comment saying, "XXX constituency: FreddieB (or whatever)".

Over time, the list will grow, which will be the start of a substantial, national, constituency-linked organisation.

James Watson (Junican) : The Bolton Smokers Club'
News from Forces International

Some of us no doubt look at the statements made by ASH, the Department of Health and other organisations regarding smoking and lung cancer and wonder just where do they get their facts from? Just how accurate are they?

This new book , The Plain Truth About Tobacco is a must read for any serious student of epidemiology, how figures are used to convey a specific point of view which may not necessarily be accurate and is written in a way that is easily understood by the layman. The explanations are relevant to the methodology used in every health issue today not only smoking but drinking and obesity all get the same treatment from organisations like ASH and the Health Departments worldwide. The main bulk of the book is how epidemiology has been used in a smokers v never-smokers context and more specifically the controversial studies into ETS.
The French Resistance

Liberty, fraternity and equality for smokers seems to be the 'plat du jour' in France, as smoking inside bars and cafes appears to be on the increase despite the smoking ban.

c/o John H Baker 22 Glastonbury House, Priestfields, Middlesbrough, Cleveland TS3 0LF
Tel/Fax 0845 643 9469

Freedom2choose (Scotland):
c/o Michael Davidson, 15, Linksview House,
Leith, EH6 6DP

Tel 0845 643 9552

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