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Freedom To Choose Newsletters

December 2011

Sent: 16th December 2011




Christmas Issue

Chairman's Message

The Christmas season is upon us and may I wish everyone a prosperous and happy Christmas. Not that the anti-smoking forces will be seen to be  helping us.  2012  will be a year when smoking and the tobacco industry will be coming under more pressure: outside smoking bans, car smoking bans and plain packaging of cigarette packets with gruesome medical pornography.

It is not all doom and gloom.  Freedom2Choose has matured into a nationally recognised body and we have assembled an impressive team with unique skills and abilities.  The media see us as a natural debater and spokesperson for the smoker.   We also have access to Freedom Of Information (FOI) for outside smoking bans and should anyone want to put in a Freedom Of Information (FOI) request for their locality they are welcome to come and pick our brains.

What I am looking forward to most, apart from my family, is my port and stilton - followed by a roll-up... bliss!

Dave Atherton


A Reminder... all forum members that the forum is now back on-line and functioning as normal.  Our grateful thanks to Tony, who who dealt with the recent 'outage' quickly and with calm professionalism.

The new URL is:

And you can still find us via the F2C Home Page which is running a new 'Vews from the Forums' feature.

If you haven't yet joined, forum registration is free and easy!

The Selflessness of Children

Good old mummy


The BMA’s call to ban smoking in all cars sparked the loudest media backlash since…well, the BMA's last call to ban smoking in cars.  Almost forty articles covering the news landed in the f2c forums:  for the truly masochistic, most are listed below.   The majority view was, if anything, even more outraged than it was back in June - a rare setback in the normal pattern of anti-smoking campaigns, which goes:

1 Pick a ‘scare’
2 Advertise ‘scare’ widely (ie. ‘educate the public’).
3 Test public opinion on ‘scare’
4 Repeat 2 and 3 until  
5 85% people say Government must BAN ‘scare’.

One imagines an almost linear progression in public acceptance of the chosen ‘scare’ as re-education hammers home the central message.  But when it comes to smoking in one’s car, the graph looks more like a warning for bends ahead and, for this, the BMA has only itself to blame.  Being caught out  peddling misinformation and hyperbole can hardly have done the doctors' union any favours, and it will be interesting to see how deep and how long the BMA’s credibility will have been damaged by its inablitlity to get even the most basic of its facts right.
Breaking and Reports Opinion

The BMA's demands were released to coincide with Labour MP Alex Cunningham's Ten Minute Rule Bill.  In the event, the Bill got nowhere. However, the All Party Parliamentary Group on Smoking and Health has recommended public consultation and yet more campaigning, and with Cunningham's Bill due for another airing in January, this is not the last we will be hearing of car smoking bans in England - or anywhere else in the British Isles, for that matter.

A Winter's Tale

For Grown-ups!

Millicent Binks
Millicent Binks.  We do hope that's not a pub she's smoking in.

Reduced Ignition Propensity Cigarettes

While media attention was all on the BMA’s car smoking ban, the Reduced Ignition Propensity cigarette slipped quietly into our lives.  From the 17th November, these ‘fire-safe’ smokes became mandatory across the European Union.

The hilariously named RIP cigarette is designed to go out if not drawn on regularly.  Two bands of thicker paper encircle the cigarette to act as ‘speed bumps’, cutting oxygen to the burning tip.  It is estimated that this modification will save over 1,000 smokers from setting fire to themselves every year, which explains the involvement of the London Fire Brigade in the RIP Coalition, formed in 20007 to lobby for this new EU law. The puzzle is ASH’s presence in the campaign.

speed bumps

Europe joins a growing league of nations that has adopted the fire safe cigarette following its launch seven years ago in New York.  Hugely interesting is the almost complete absence of complaints from anywhere outside the United States where, anecdotally, smokers are experiencing a wide range of health reactions, including headaches, nausea, chest and stomach pains and/or excess coughing, soon after changing to fire-safe. A second widespread complaint is that of ‘cherry drop’, which appears to make the fire-safe model even more of a fire-hazard than the old standard one.  All tobacco manufacturers are using the speed-bump method, with a free hand to adapt the technologies needed. 

All anyone in England seems to have noticed is that cigarettes have a tendency to go out these days, like roll-ups. However, European smokers might like to know that the focus of testing has been entirely on fire-resistance, with virtually none on potential health risks.  Nothing has changed since 2007, when public health activist Hemant Goswami said:
Such concepts have been only tested from the fire-safety point of view and no independent study has still been undertaken by the scientific or public health community to assess the effect of the engineered modifications in RIP cigarettes.


Outdoor Bans and Freedom of Information

Coventry and Wirrel are reported to be exploring how the localism bill can help them to introduce new and entirely unnecessary smoking bans.

Freedom of Information requests have been sent to both councils, asking to know under whose authority these extensions to the 2006 Health Act are being implemented.  If your local council has any such plans, we have a reliable FoI template that you may find helpful.

Contact f2cnewsletter [at] for details.  



Cigarette sales fall as smokers cut back ...according to Luke Clancy of the Research Institute for a Tobacco Free Society, Ireland.  He then went on to say there is, “no evidence that sales were down due to an increase in smuggling.”

Applying the standard equation 10% tax rise = 4% fewer smokers, health researchers were expecting to find large numbers of East Europeans giving up the habit as the massive hikes needed to bring national levies in line with EU tax law were imposed.  Instead, smoking figures have remained steady and even managed to rise in several countries.

A Tobacco Manufacturers Association spokesman said, “We very much hope that, in his Autumn Statement, the Chancellor will take the opportunity to combat tobacco smuggling in a meaningful way and resist the temptation to raise duty."

Perhaps the Chancellor was listening.  In any case, no sin-tax increases were announced in his Autumn Statement.

Meanwhile, the BBC is keeping us up to date on all UKBA’s latest triumphs.    

Spending our Money - More Junk Science

The State University of New York has made the breakthrough discovery that grown up people often turn to booze and fags to cope with stress. Men, especially, self-medicate this way to deal with financial worry.  

The University of Missouri is examining student patterns of smoking as part of a new initiative to stop them doing it.  This initiative employs the novel approach of poking around in the heads of smokers until they say ‘I give in!’  it is known as ‘motivational interviewing’, and should not be confused with the tired, old approach that relied mainly on nagging.

Suggesting practical ways to apply the lessons learned from its study, UM Lead Reasercher, Nickole Crope spoke of, “Targeting smoking prevention efforts immediately after students arrive on campus and throughout the semester in student email messages just prior to the weekend."

A study of twins’ smoking patterns suggests that our genes play a greater role in the habit than previously thought.  Somehow, this leads the University of Boulder Colerado researchers to conclude that the current tax-and-anathematise approach has run its course, leaving a hard-core minority of genuine, genetically-determined addicts just begging for more counselling and nicotine-replacement therapy.

Plain Packaging not All Plain Sailing
As expected, Philip Morris is to sue the Australian government under the terms of the Australia – Hong-Kong Bilateral Trade Treaty, which PM says has been broken by Australia’s introduction of drab-and-ghastly packaging for cigarettes.  BAT and Imperial will almost certainly follow PM’s lead. 

Meanwhile, a queue of disgruntled tobacco-producing nations is lining up along with their international trade lawyers. One such legal challenge could come from Cuba, state-owner of Habanos cigars.  The Cuban government is citing violation of World Trade Organisation rules.

UPDATE: Legal wrangling over trading rights has put a temporary brake on similar plain-packaging laws in Britain. The government message seems to be, ‘Let’s see what happens to the Aussies, first' - as predicted two weeks earlier by Mark Littlewood.


In a case that could go all the way to the US Supreme Court, the Obama administration is seeking to overturn last month’s district court decision, which placed a temporary injunction on plans for gory warnings on cigarette packs.

The district court ruled that the law was, “unconstitutional because it compels speech in violation of the First Amendment.”

Dirty Habits

On the same day that UK trade magazine the Grocer announces that, British American Tobacco tops new EA energy efficiency table, the Guardian  is reporting on the scandal that is industrial air pollution. 

In a bold new arrangement of the formula, the European Environment Agency  says:

Air pollutants …are now a bigger killer than passive smoking, road traffic accidents and obesity together.

And finally...
A Pick of the Best, Worst and Silliest Bits of 2011


Publication of the Government’s Public Health White Paper: Healthy Lives, Healthy People - the cause of much ensuing confusion.

The lifting of Evin Law, which had forced the airbrushing of cigars, cigarettes and pipes from all public images, much to disgust of the patriotic French.

CAGE’s discovery of the document Smoke-Free Outdoor Public Spaces: A Community Advocacy Toolkit – the Canadian Physcian’s ‘How To’ manual for forcing smoking bans on your community. 

Publication of the Smoking Ban Review, researched, written and published by Public Health.  Naturally, we replied.

WHO representatives warn anti-smoking bodies to avoid close ties with the pharmaceutical industry  - at a conference funded by Pfizer (Nicorette) and GlaxoSmithKline (Niquitin).

Writing in the Independent, Andrew Buncombe speculates that Osama Bin Laden may have had a ‘no smoking’ rule at his Pakistani hide-out.

Bin Laden

The daftest quote of the year: "It would be safer to have your exhaust pipe on the inside of your car than smoke cigarettes…"
Dr. Douglas Noble, BMA

Stand-off at Stony Stratford – When the press and the people said ‘enough is enough!”

The launch of Anthony Warrall Thompson’s e-petition.  If you haven't already, PLEASE DO GO AND SIGN IT!

As our own ‘austerity measures’ begin to bite, an early casualty is the charity National No Smoking Day which is to lose half its government funding.

The bar and café owners of Belgium unite to go on the attack!

Media response to the BMA'a car smoking-ban suggests - for the second time this year - that normal people have had enough of health lobby demands.

From everyone at Freedom2Choose

Merry Christmas

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

Freedom2choose (Scotland):
c/o The Dalmeny Bar, 297 Leith Walk,
Edinburgh EH6 8SA

Tel 0845 643 9552

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