Nick Hopkinson's latest signature gathering exercise (see previous post) caught the attention of the Guardian, if no-one else.
Will it prompt the PM to urge the Secretary of State for Health to publish the Government's new Tobacco Control Plan "without further delay"?
Governments have their own timetable and unless this becomes a hot political potato in the near future (unlikely given the current Brexit-focussed climate) I can't see a letter in the BMJ having much impact.
But who knows? We remain on amber if not red alert. What I do know is that another Hopkinson campaign has disappeared leaving little or no trace of its existence.
Last year the Observer reported:
More than 1,000 healthcare experts, including 57 professors, have signed an open letter calling on some of London’s most respected cultural institutions to abandon their financial links with big tobacco.
The British Museum, the Royal Academy of Arts, the South Bank Centre and the London Philharmonic Orchestra, have long-standing lucrative corporate membership and sponsorship deals with two leading cigarette manufacturers, which are banned from advertising in the UK.
The links have dismayed many in the medical community. “As a doctor specialising in the care of people with emphysema, I see the harm smoking causes every day,” said Dr Nick Hopkinson, reader in respiratory medicine and honorary consultant physician at the National Heart and Lung Institute, who is leading a campaign against the tie-ups.
“Tobacco companies, which rely on getting people addicted to products, which maim and kill, must not be allowed to use arts sponsorship as a way to present [themselves] as respectable.”
Nine months later, using the Just Giving platform, a total of nine 'supporters' have donated just £730 to the Royal Brompton and Harefield Hospitals Charity in support of the campaign.
Worse, the Smoke Free Arts website has had some sort of meltdown and is currently inactive.
If however you want to see an example of the type of "sponsorship" Hopkinson objects to, I recommend you click here.
It's a video highlighting "a collaboration between Leonard Cheshire Disability, the London Philharmonic Orchestra, the Royal Academy of Arts and Crisis, supported by JTI."
Judge for yourself whether initiatives like this should be put at risk through lack of funding because anti-smoking campaigners like Nick Hopkinson want cultural institutions (including the London Philharmonic Orchestra and the Royal Academy of Arts) to refuse "morally unacceptable" sponsorship from Big Tobacco.
That Smoke Free Arts campaign doesn't seem so virtuous or clever now, does it?
Thankfully, to quote Monty Python, it appears to be resting, expired or shagged out following a prolonged squawk.