Smoking News from around the World from Freedom to Choose

By | May 10, 2011

Smoking Update

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May NewsletterPosted: 09 May 2011 04:00 PM PDT

F2C Newsletter May



CHAIRMAN’S MESSAGE 

As most of you know, the smoking ban was to have been reviewed in June 2010. 

It was hoped that a proper Parliamentary review would confirm what is obvious to anyone with a functioning brain: that the ban has exacted a terrible toll on the life of our pubs, clubs, restaurants and Bingo halls in return for little demonstrable proof that the nation’s health has improved. 

Instead, we were given the disappointingly flimsy Academic Review (analysed in last month’s newsletter). Its author is confirmed anti-tobacco campaigner Linda Bauld who – no surprise here – finds that the ban has had a positive effect on business! 

Our response to the Academic Review can be found here.

!t is tragic that we are all – smokers, pub-goers and the hospitality industry as a whole – being treated with such contempt whilst this futile exercise  continues to bankrupt our country!

***

On a happier note – recent spamming problems on the forum meant a need to suspend registrations for a while – but we are once again open for business!  So, I will finish by thanking our new IT team who have been working hard to resolve this issue.  Well done teamsters!

Phil Johnson.
Chairman, F2C


AUSTRALIA – WORLD CHAMPION BANNERS!
Australia takes first place on the podium this month, as the leanest, meanest anti-smoking country in the world, despite Scotland giving it a good run for its money (see Scottish Report, below).

Government plans, for cigarettes to be sold in olive green packs all adorned with grisly pictures, drew praise from the WHO for setting “a new gold standard for the regulation of tobacco products”.  The measure will be phased in during the first six months of 2012, although a legal challenge from the major tobacco companies looks likely and may cause some delay as with the Scottish display ban.

On a local level, residents of an apartment  block in the Ashfield suburb of Sydney have  banned smoking entirely from their building.  
  
But one tobacco company has at last retaliated.  Philip Morris has launched a campaign site called I deserve to be heard for the hard-pressed smokers of Autstralia.

PAUL HOOPER – INTERNATIONAL MAN OF MYSTERY
Poland became the latest country to impose a blanket ban on public smoking in November last year and, according to this report, it was a roaring success. 

It comes as a something of a surprise, therefore, to learn that Paul Hooper, strategy manager for the Warwickshire Drug and Alcohol Action Team, has been asked to help ‘people in Poland to introduce a smoking ban’.

A FOI request establishes that Mr. Hooper’s jaunt is costing the Warwickshire taxpayer nothing, but not what he actually hopes to achieve, given that the Polish ban is already so popular.

MIXED MESSAGES
With no apparent sense of irony, WHO representatives have warned anti-smoking bodies to avoid close ties with the pharmaceutical industry  – at a conference funded by Pfizer (Nicorette) and GlaxoSmithKline (Niquitin).

Pfizer also make Champix, a stop-smoking drug that made headlines last month withanother tragic story of murder and suicide.  This NICE-approved prescription drug works by acting on ‘nicotine receptors’ in the brain to reduce both the cravings and the satisfaction of smoking. 

Despite a growing body of evidence that Champix is implicit in around 1,200 violent episodes in the USA (where it is known as Chantix), it is increasingly being used in Britain as a first-line stop-smoking intervention (see comments here).  It is important that anyone experiencing adverse reactions to Champix should fill out a yellow card.

(more on Champix below…)

SCOTTISH REPORT
As Scotland’s newsagents prepare to register as tobacco retailers in compliance with theTobacco and Primary Medical Services Act 2010, a gang of smugglers hits the streets in the West of Scotland once again with smuggled tobacco.  Both the VAT increase and more tax increases announced in the Budget have provided a ready market for traders, whose product is allegedly high in lead content.

A Scottish widow from Renfrewshire is to sue Pfizer, the makers of smoking cessation drug Champix, following her husband’s suicide a year ago.

SMUGGLING
The subject of contraband tobacco continues to receive wide coverage at local presslevel

In parts of Ireland, 7 out of every 10 ‘rollies’ are illegal.  Even so, the national average for all smuggled cigarettes is on the wane, thought to be because of the Government’s decision not to increase excise duty on tobacco in two consecutive budgets.

No such common sense on this side of the water, where recent tax increases have hit the poorest hardest. In readiness for the inevitable flood of contraband and counterfeit tobacco into the country, HMRC has prepared a package of measures that include:

  • 20% bigger budget for policing ‘tobacco fraud’.
  • More international networking, to intercept tobacco illegally destined for the UK
  • New technologies
  • Heavier penalties
  • An extra £917,000,000 for HMRC
  • Reduced minimum indicative levels (MIL).  These are the levels at which the amount of tobacco being brought into the country from the EU is suspected of being for sale, and not for personal use. 
 
  Old MIL New MIL
Rolling tobacco 3kg 1kg
Manufactured cigarettes 3,200 800
*See here for all your cross-channel shopping* requirements
From our Dutch Correspondent

Hello I am Anna born in 1956 so I am almost 55, living in the Netherlands.

I was raised in time when smoking was like eating. Everyone I knew smoked and you could smoke everywhere – I mean literally!  My teachers smoked in the classroom, even in kindergarten; my GP smoked; my dentist smoked in the hospital.  Everywhere you where allowed to smoke. 

Looking back we should have been on guard since the mid-70s.  For me, I always felt it was going the wrong way but when I wanted to talk about it people laughed and said, “Get a life! These are Americans. It will never be here this way.”  This is the one time I am not happy I was right . 

The thing that struck me the most was the junk science that gave way to bans 

But there was a point in time – 2008 – when all smokers felt the hammer of the antis. It was when the smoking ban was implemented in the catering business. If I am honest it was much to my surprise that the small pubs defied en masse.  They knowingly and willingly took the risk of fines.  In a few months this group was growing and fines were paid by the customers. Some cases were won in court, stating : “When you have no employees you are hurting no one.”  Finally the case against bans was lost in the supreme court.  It didn’t change one bit in the pubs, which stayed the safe haven for smokers. 

Finally we had elections and the new government gave way to a new law stating that a pub without employees and not bigger than 70 square metres was allowed to let people smoke. The current state is that much bigger businesses with employees also allow smoking. Everyone is making the rules that suit the customers the best. 

The antis are now on collision course They have black lists on the internet where people can anonymously complain about caterers who allow smoking. Anti-smoke became anti-smoker and you see that the anti-smokers are so over the top now that even non-smokers are tired of the same tune. 

Yes, there is a shift in Holland and we owe so much to the pub owners. I think that if we in Holland could make a difference – we should be an example to other countries. 

They cannot impose a smoking ban when people fight it 
side by side! 
PUB NEWS
Punch Taverns makes the news for the third consecutive month, and for all the wrong reasons. Punch’s woes are blamed on aggressive expansion while times were good and interest rates low, but the most striking feature of the pubco’s financial downturn its timing. 

Punch shares were valued at almost 1378.77p at their highest, on the eve of the English smoking ban. They are now worth c74.9p, a fall of 93.2%.

Latest British Beer and Pub Association (BBPA) figures reveal a further downturn in the sale of both on and off-sales beer, with a fall of 3.8% in the first quarter of 2011.

Marston’s landlord, Andy Doughty, is passing brewery price cuts on to his customers in an effort to boost custom. However, even at 50 – 60p off a pint, his wet-led pub is struggling.  In an impressive display of double-think, Andy says:

There’s a misconception people have got more money than they have.
They are going out to food pubs but not wet pubs.
Random News
Update to last month’s report about Richmond College, which has now been furnished with a designated smoking area:  The area, “is very small, has no weather protection, is unlikely to attract many students as they would appear like pariahs, corralled in this yellow pen to be gawped at and made figures of fun,” and is, quite understandably, useless at keeping smokers from spilling out into the surrounding neighbourhood. 

 Japan Tobacco International has launched a new mini-cigar, Calisto. Smaller cigars now account for 60% of the cigar market, a growth that is attributed to smoking bans.
Belgium has been without a federal government for almost a year, but this is no protection for the people against intrusive laws. Exemptions to a blanket smoking ban were to continue until “sometime between January next year and 2014, but the Flemish Anti-Cancer League asked the court to bring that date forward.”The court has obliged, prompting a demonstration in Brussels of hundreds of café and casino owners .
 Tobacco manufacturer Philip Morris has defeated a legal challenge made by a group of Missouri hospitals  suing for the costs of ‘smoking-related’ diseases.   The court agreed with the defence that ordinary cigarettes are not defective or negligently-designed.
Eli Slaughter of San Diego State University’s Graduate School of Public Health and his band of researchers have discovered that cigarette ends are bad for fish. So, remember folks  – never mistake the fishtank for the ashtray or your fish will die!
Kate Moss’s love of smoking (reported last month) is shared by husband Jamie Hince, front man of The Kills.  Neither of them are keen to work or socialise in ‘smokefree’ venues. Kate, in particular, demands, ‘couches, cushions, tables, heaters and candles to make it comfy for her to have a cigarette.’You and us both, Kate!
Prince Harry triggers a national outburst of tongue-clicking as he resolutely fails to give up smoking.  This makes him, in our opinion, the most newsworthy member of the royal family this month!
And finally…a clinic in Indonesia uses the smoke from ‘divine cigarettes’ to cure its patients.  Clinic founder Dr. Gretha Zahar claims the smoke mops up free-radicals produced by mercury and, in addition to curing a range of ailments, has anti-ageing properties. 
 
 
 
   
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