Simon Clark of FOREST sets out very clearly here how immense sums of money are given by the government to ASH and other anti-smoking organisations who overwhelmingly use it to lobby the government to further tighten restrictions on smoking.
Two examples: commencing June 2008 the UK Centre for Tobacco Control Studies will receive £3,694,498 over five years. It was also awarded a £1.2 million grant to develop and pilot several projects to implement smoking cessation services. Smoke Free North West meanwhile secured almost £1.9 million from the PCTs in 2008 to “complement core national funding”.The comments thread to that posting is well worth reading!
ASH UK, for example, received a direct grant of £142,000 from the Department of Health in 2009 (£191,000 in 2008 and £210,400 in 2007) plus £110,000 from the Welsh Assembly Government in 2007. In 2008-09 ASH Scotland received £921,837 from the Scottish Government followed, in December 2009, by a £500,000 grant from the Big Lottery to fund a major three-year research project into smoke-free homes in Scotland. ASH Wales meanwhile received £115,800 from the Welsh Assembly Government in 2008-09 and £113,000 in 2007-08.
Surely the government should not be funding what are basically pressure groups full stop, and in this time of economic stringency this is money that should be at the top of the list for cutting. Any smoking cessation activities carried out by these groups should be brought under the wing of the NHS, and their campaigning should only continue to the extent that it could be financed by genuine donations from the public. Which I suspect would be very small indeed.
Of course, the same also should apply to Don Shenker and his miserable crew of sarsaparilla-sipping anti-drink zealots at Alcohol Concern.