Freedom To Choose
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Freedom To Choose Newsletters

January 2013

Sent: 29th January 2013


In this month's issue
  • Message from the Chairman
  • Main News
  • News in Brief
  • An apology
  • The Last Word

Message from the Chairman

Welcome to 2013.

I think one of the silver linings towards the end of 2012 was that  "tobacco control" began to be seen more widely as the template for alcohol and obesity, and we have gained significant sympathy from increasing numbers of the public.
In one year's time, or in five, ten or twenty years when the nannies have finally been put back in their box, people like us will be seen in the vanguard of fighting the illiberal and bully state.
Just as the Winter Solstice is the darkest day, so I hope 2012 was the nadir of smoker oppression.
It may still be colder in January and the beginning of 2013 but the bright sunlit uplands of Spring will soon be upon us.

Rest assured, I will be fighting no matter what time the sun sets or rises, and look forward to working together with you.

Dave Atherton
Chairman Freedom To Choose


Fifteen-fold rise in tobacco control spending since 1999 fails to reduce smoking rate in Scotland

Since devolution in 1999, spending on tobacco control in Scotland has risen from nearly £1.45 million to nearly £22 million. Against this the decline in smoking, which was at its height in the 1970s and 1980s, has slowed considerably. This excellent analysis by F2C (Scotland) was picked up by newspapers and bloggers.
Go to their press release here.

Severe doubts over childhood asthma smoking ban claims

Chris Snowden takes a close look at the claim that hospital admissions for childhood asthma declined sharply after the introduction of the smoking ban. This story was covered by several others, and we are convinced it is junk science. Chris does a nice study with graphs.
Go to the story here.

Plain packaging consultation: so that's why the deadline was extended

A Freedom of Information request has revealed that on July 5, 2012, three working days before the closing date, the Department of Health and Ageing in Australia sent an email to their counterparts in London requesting an extension to the UK Government's consultation on standardised packaging of tobacco.
Ignoring the fact that they had three months' notice of the closing date, the Aussies wanted their submission to be signed off by their Minister of Health... but she was on a "short absence". A few hours after the request was sent the Department of Health issued a statement extending the deadline for submissions by four weeks.
Simon Clark reveals the full story here.


Smokers used as cash cows by local councils. Litter fines are being used as a cash cow by councils employing "private police forces", a BBC investigation suggests. The number of litter fines issued by English councils has rocketed from 727 in 1997 to 63,883 last year.  Last year in Hillingdon and Enfield, 97% and 94% of fines respectively were for dropping cigarette butts.

Thousands of tobacco retailers protest on the streets of Brussels. As the headline says, thay are 'fuming' at EU restrictions. This wasn't widely reported in the press.

Australian government lose case against tobacco stickers firm. These are stickers which can be used to cover the plain packaging.

Why do healthy people have strokes? A rather balanced report from the BBC's News health and science reporter.



The F2C editorial team apologises. No blog round up this month. No pictures in this edition of the newsletter. We have been busy dealing with the rest of our lives: family, work, and keeping warm. After all, we are people first and foremost who just happen to smoke.


"If I see one more politician who voted for the smoking ban crying crocodile tears about the state of the pub industry, I may throw up."

- Chris Snowdon


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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