Friday, August 14, 2009

Anti-smokers deceive Britain's House of Lords

The United Kingdom recently implemented a ban on tobacco displays in retail outlets across the country . According to the anit-smoker crowd, bans on tobacco displays reduce smoking prevalence among children. There's nothing new about this strategy, similar bans have been put in place in Scotland and Canada. In fact, the Canadian ban was used to justify implementation of the ban in Scotland earlier this year.

Unfortunately, the Canadian information they relied on was not exactly . . . er, accurate. OK, OK. Screw it, the bastards lied.

Some MSPs (Members of the Scottish Parliament) had claimed that teenage smoking prevalence rates fell after the display of tobacco products was made illegal in Canada. But, as I pointed out in an April 16, 2009 post, Canada’s most populous province (Ontario) only approved their ban on power walls in May, 2008, not 2002 as claimed by anti-smoker elements. In fact, bans on retail tobacco displays were implemented in only three provinces and one territory between 2002 and 2007. And, the three provinces were among the least populated in the country.

More recently (July, 2009), Sheila Duffy of ASH (Scotland), claimed in an letter to the editor of the Grocer that: “In Canada, where the Tobacco Reporting Regulations require full disclosure of tobacco industry marketing spend, publicly available figures show tobacco companies’ payments to retailers have increased steadily over recent years, despite a majority of provinces implementing display ban legislation.”

Ms. Duffy was trying to convince the politicians (and the public) that removing the displays would cost small retailers nothing; that the tobacco industry would take care of them just as they had in Canada.

But, the tobacco companies had been paying Canadian retailers for in-store displays; to guarantee their products were featured prominently in retail outlets. Those payments ceased when the displays were banned. And, the tobacco companies weren't interested in paying to convert the advertising displays to plain white walls where they were prohibited from showing even a company logo.

The claim that tobacco company payments had continued “despite a majority of provinces implementing display ban legislation” was simply untrue.

So the anti-smoker crowd resorted to their standard tactic when disseminating disinformation. They simply kept repeating the lie.

An “anonymous” letter writer in the same publication (The Grocer) stated clearly and unequivocally: “The Canadian Government requires the tobacco industry to report its advertising and marketing payments to retailers, so we know for sure that over the past decade or so, total payments to retailers have almost doubled in spite of tobacco display bans having been introduced across most of the country. Canadian retailers now receive more money from the tobacco industry than they did before the display bans came into effect. Why should things be any different here?”

But, Canadian retailers did not receive more money after the bans; payments to retailers ceased when the ban was imposed. The claim was, once again, an out and out lie.

But, apparently, there is evidence of an even greater deception by the anti-smoker crowd. New evidence suggests the British House of Lords was deliberately provided with inaccurate information during consideration of a Bill to ban in-store tobacco displays.

One of the concerns being addressed by the House of Lords was the cost of retrofitting the tobacco displays in convenience stores and other retail tobacco outlets to comply with the proposed new law. UK shop-keepers had anticipated that the cost to build and install new display cabinets would be £1,000 and likely more; a hefty sum of money for a small business.

The anti-smoking lobby had to convince the House of Lords that the cost would be considerably less and would impose no undue financial burden on small retail establishments. So they manipulated data provided by a Canadian supplier to establish a ridiculously low price of £120 to £200 per unit. And, then they passed this misinformation on to the peers in the House of Lords before they voted on the pending legislation.

What is most disconcerting about this rather shameless propaganda effort is the agencies involved. These included the UK Department of Health, CRUK (Cancer Research United Kingdom) and ASH (UK).

Author Christoper Snowdon, after obtaining a number of e-mails exchanged by these agencies through the Freedom of Information Act, has unraveled the litany of lies and deception in an article called “the Dark Market”. It's an excellent piece which exposes how the anti-smoker element manipulate data and obscure the truth to achieve political goals.

After reading Snowdon's article, it should be easy to understand why I take anything and everything the anti-smoker cult (including government agencies) have to say with a grain of salt.

Anti-smoker bullshit and bafflegab at its finest.
Whoops: It seem I screwed up. I've been informed that neither Scotland nor the UK have actually approved legislation to ban in-store tobacco displays. My apologies to readers who were misled by my confusion. The Rambler

1 comment:

111thStreet said...


Neither Scotland, nor the 'UK' have 'recently implemented a ban on tobacco displays in retail outlets across the country'.

The measures are still being debated in their respective parliaments. The lords vote you describe was part of that, not the end of the process.

So, wrong and wrong again. You got Canada right though - well done!