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Job for the boy at Public Health England

According to a report in yesterday's Independent:

E-cigarettes are considerably more effective than over-the-counter treatments such as nicotine gum and patches at helping people to quit smoking, a new study has revealed.

See E-cigarettes could be prescribed on the NHS as study finds they 'help smokers quit'.

But that wasn't what caught my attention. I was far more interested in the identity of the head of Public Health England’s tobacco control programme who was quoted in the report.

Martin Dockrell ... said that e-cigarettes represented a public health “opportunity” but said they were not completely free of risk.

“PHE believe e-cigarettes need to be regulated to ensure they deliver nicotine effectively, minimise the potential for harm, and are marketed only to adults as a replacement for smoking,” he said.

Martin Dockrell? Wasn't he director of research and policy at ASH?

Indeed he was. Dockrell moved to ASH (from Asthma UK) as head of policy in 2006. His title later changed to policy and campaigns manager and, most recently, director of policy and research.

I wasn't aware he had left but the loss of her deputy possibly explains Deborah Arnott's foul mood the other month. It must be tough fighting big bad tobacco without your terrier like sidekick on hand.

Anyway, it's an interesting appointment. Was it advertised? How many candidates were interviewed?

Now, I've no idea what Dockrell's politics are but three years ago he wrote this article for the left wing blog Left Foot Forward: Is Big Tobacco blowing smoke in Cameron’s eyes?.

(In response I wrote What do ASH and Left Foot Forward have in common?)

In April 2012 he posted How plain packaging on cigarettes will work and last year added a further piece to the same forum: This surrender to the tobacco industry will result in more young people and children smoking.

Were these articles helpful to Martin's appointment at PHE? I don't know, but it's fun to speculate.

Anyway, here's an article by Chris Snowdon that responds to comments made by Dockrell in 2009. Published by Spiked the subtitle was, 'Anti-smoking activists are now comparing their critics to Holocaust deniers. It is a vile attempt to shut down debate': Smoking out ‘deniers’ and ‘dissidents’.

I don't think Dick Puddlecote was a fan either.

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Reader Comments (2)

I spotted Martin Dockrell was on a PHE document a while back and did wonder what was going on. So that is that mystery explained.

Maybe ASH should offer Rollo the job seeing as he spent more time researching and engaging the 'deniers' over the same period than Dockrell ever did - and Rollo did it for free.

Thursday, May 22, 2014 at 11:42 | Unregistered CommenterFredrik Eich

Did Rollo do it for free? I rather suspect he was/is employed by one of the anti-tobacco lobby groups in some capacity - propaganda minister, perhaps? :)

Thursday, May 22, 2014 at 18:00 | Unregistered Commenternisakiman

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