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How stupid is Plain Packs Protect?

What do the following have in common?

  • Deborah Arnott, Chief Executive, ASH
  • Professor Simon Chapman, Sydney University
  • Stephen Williams MP, Chairman, APPG on Smoking and Health
  • Fiona Andrews, Director, Smokefree South West
  • Dr Gabriel Scally, Regional Director of Public Health
  • Betty McBride, British Heart Foundation
  • Andrew Lansley MP, Secretary of State for Health

They are all listed as Supporters of Plain Packs by Plain Packs Protect, the publicly-funded campaign that wants all tobacco products encased in "standard" (ie grotesque) packaging.

A letter has been sent to the Department of Health requesting a response to the following questions:

1. Is it appropriate for the Secretary of State for Health to be listed as a supporter of plain packs (by a campaign that receives public money) in the middle of a public consultation on the issue and before the DoH has published its report on the consultation?

2. What action will the DoH (or the Secretary of State) take on this matter?

Like Chris Snowdon (and others) I am quite sure that Lansley is (or was) ignorant of the fact that he is being represented in this way by Plain Packs Protect. Nevertheless, it is easy to see how statements he has made would lead people to the conclusion that he is a supporter of plain packs.

Then again, how stupid (or arrogant) of Plain Packs Protect to list the Secretary of State for Health as a supporter before the consultation has closed. They really aren't very bright, are they? Another own goal, I think, for this increasingly error-prone operation.

See also: Open mind, Mr Lansley? (Dick Puddlecote), Is there a scandal brewing or just a big fat lie? (Liberal Vision)

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Reader Comments (17)

Looks like Plain Packs Protect (Smokefree South West) have now removed Lansley from the supporters page -- that just makes them all look worse, like they are hiding something.

Friday, July 13, 2012 at 11:11 | Unregistered CommenterJay

If it turns out that Plain Packs Protect have just made stuff up (again), isn't that "securing signatures under false pretenses".

Friday, July 13, 2012 at 11:22 | Unregistered CommenterAngela Harbutt

Apologies for the double comment post. They have also added this statement to the supporters page: "These comments have been taken from the public domain and do not necessarily represent an endorsement of the Plain Packs Protect campaign. "

Yeah, right.

Friday, July 13, 2012 at 11:28 | Unregistered CommenterJay

"isn't that "securing signatures under false pretenses"

Angela - the whole anti-smoking movement have managed to secure not a just a few signatures under false pretenses, but they have secured new laws under false pretenses - they have changed people's lives under false pretenses - and they have carved themselves out a very comfortable living - all under false pretenses!

Friday, July 13, 2012 at 13:46 | Unregistered CommenterPeter Thurgood

Making stuff up - like the 23 x smokier in a car than a bar invention - is what they do. That's how we got a public ban and how they singled out tobacco consumers as targets for hate. They made up health scares that didn't exist or magnified the miniscule.

I'm amazed that the Govt and the Health Secretary just buy their garbage without fact checking it first.

The obvious problem is that only the Tobacco Control Industry is allowed to make policy on tobacco control so there is no balancing group to scrutinise their claims and, frankly, stop them from lying.

If Lansley and this Govt continue their blind support for these liars then they will end up with egg on their face and back in opposition. The Tories have enough problems without turning off the 15 million smoker voters in this country too.

They should remember what they haven't done for us next time they expect us to vote for them.

Friday, July 13, 2012 at 13:56 | Unregistered CommenterPat Nurse

The big problem Pat is that the electorate soon forget - just look what is happening now - Labour, the party who brought in the smoking ban and also bankrupted the country, are way ahead of the Conservatives in the polls.

There might well be 15 million smoker voters in this country, but I am sorry to say that the majority of them are either stupid or just too damn lazy to use their votes to do anything.

Now Milliband has also said that Labour will not allow a referendum on Europe either if they are elected again. Good news as far as I am concerned as I think it will put them back to where they belong - oblivion!

Friday, July 13, 2012 at 15:24 | Unregistered CommenterPeter Thurgood


Domain name:
Registrant: Smoke Free South West
Registrant type:UK Government Body

Friday, July 13, 2012 at 15:55 | Unregistered CommenterDavid

Having today walked past a 16th Century market place Inn, now closed and for sale or let, which until the smoking ban showed every sign of prosperity as a friendly, cosy, popular pub and hotel; and seeing how unloved and potentially dilapidated it now looks, I believe that not only smoking but part of our history and way of life was dealt a near mortal blow on July 1, 2007. I pray it recovers.

Friday, July 13, 2012 at 16:31 | Unregistered CommenterNorman

Peter - I have said before - it makes no difference whether we get Labour back or the Tories. Both are one and the same pretty much. Even the Tories won't allow a referendum on the EU and anyone that thinks they will is frankly, err, stupid or just plain blinded by hatred of Labour.

Friday, July 13, 2012 at 17:19 | Unregistered CommenterPat Nurse

@ Angela

"securing signatures under false pretenses". Yes of course it is - but the images themselves are fraudulent.

There are no instances in real life whereby medical conditions of the kind depicted actually exist. These are nothing more than photo-shopped images purporting to show what smoking does. If this is what smoking does, then there would be documented cases, but there aren’t any, or they would use the real image and not some representation.

How may people have any of you ever seen walking around with a grotesque mouth full of bad teeth and diseased gums, because they smoke? I’ve smoked a pipe for over 42 years, and I have no cists on my mouth and I have white teeth that have never been stained in all of those years.

This in essence is fraudulent behaviour and should be challenged.

Friday, July 13, 2012 at 18:08 | Unregistered CommenterDennis

They may have removed the Lansley quote but they are still describing the CEO of CRUK as Labour, Durham as I pointed out over at Chris Snowdon's place yesterday. In addition I note that Gabriel Scally is listed a s a Regional Director of Public Health, a position that he resigned from in March this year. Scally attempted to make political capital out of his resignation that he claimed was “a direct result of his alarm at the coalition government’s health policies” Things may have changed very recently but as far as I know, he is a director of nothing and can best be described as a left wing political activist with special interests in public health, cycling and twitter. Nothing wrong with that of course but surely Plain Packs should be accurate about their supporter's job titles. According to Scally himself he is now a visiting Professor at the University of Western England

Friday, July 13, 2012 at 19:35 | Unregistered CommenterIvan D

Peter - many voters have turned off politics not because they are either stupid or too damn lazy, but because they see no point in it.

Politics has turned ugly. Only career politicians get anywhere; chasing funding, propaganda, ignoring evidence, ignoring science, ignoring their electorate, ignoring their country, etc.

Both major parties have lost the trust of the electorate as a result, but unfortunately it has also turned a huge percentage of the country off politics in the process.

By the way - the Tories will never receive my vote again as a result of this (even in tactical voting). It's either UKIP or a spoilt vote with a reason for the spoil.

Saturday, July 14, 2012 at 0:35 | Unregistered CommenterHelen

"By the way - the Tories will never receive my vote again as a result of this"

When I snap my fingers Helen, you will wake up!

But before you do, want you to cast your mind back five years...that's right..five years to when Labour was in power...remember what they did? That's right, they brought in the smoking-ban...the same smoking ban which we still have today...the very same smoking-ban that so many people now seem to be blaming the Conservatives for

Now what were you saying about never giving your vote to the Tories again?

I think perhaps you might have muddled the two parties up here......but never mind...Now I am going to snap my fingers...ready? One - Two - Three...SNAP!

Saturday, July 14, 2012 at 14:55 | Unregistered CommenterPeter Thurgood

We don't blame the Conservatives for bringing in the ban but for not amending it and for pushing for more restrictions and bans including cars and homes. They are doing as much as Labour would do if they were still in power.

What, exactly, has the Conservative Govt done for smokers since 2010? And please don't blame the LibDems when the drivers of the latest nonsense are both Tories.

Sunday, July 15, 2012 at 0:35 | Unregistered CommenterPat Nurse

On the Plain Packs site it says...
Myth #4
Tobacco is going to be put out of sight, so we don't need plain packs.
Tobacco packaging will only be hidden in shops. Once outside, it will be on display and continue to work as the industry's 'silent salesman' advertising brands and promoting smoking to children.

The WHO FCTC compliance report asks this question:
Have you adopted and implemented, where appropriate, legislative, executive, administrative or other measures or have you implemented, where appropriate, programmes on any of the following: * requiring that packaging, individual cigarettes or other tobacco products do not carry advertising or promotion?

In the UK's FCTC compliance reports for 2010 and 2012 the UK answered Yes.

So it seems HMG disagrees with the PP campain
or perhaps HMG's measures failed
or is it how you interpret 'or'?

Wednesday, July 18, 2012 at 19:26 | Unregistered Commenterwest2

apparently smoking causes impotence; so if my grandfather hadn't smoked so many Capstans he would have had many more than 12 children then!!

Thursday, July 26, 2012 at 17:31 | Unregistered CommenterJohn

Does anybody know ANY country in the world that has been able to ban smoking through a democratic vote or referendum?

Monday, November 5, 2012 at 0:19 | Unregistered CommenterStruth

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