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Sunday
Apr092017

Another one bites the dust

Can't believe I missed this.

Healthier Futures, formerly Tobacco Free Futures and before that Smokefree North West, has bitten the dust.

In the words of Monty Python it has kicked the bucket, it has ceased to be.

"Rejoice!" as someone once said.

In my defence there has been nothing about the closure of Healthier Futures in the national or local media (or nothing I'm aware of), unlike the demise of Smokefree South West which was a top story on the local BBC and ITV news.

Both broadcasters even reported Forest's reaction which was sympathetic, as you can imagine:

"Taxpayers already pay for NHS smoking cessation services and national anti-smoking campaigns.

"When budgets are so tight, and other services are being cut, it's difficult to justify the use of public money to support yet another tobacco control group.

"The health risks of smoking are very well known and widely publicised by other bodies including Public Health England which has a regional office in Bristol.

"In terms of public health, the impact of Smokefree South West closing will be negligible."

In contrast the only reference I've seen about the closure of Healthier Futures appeared in the British Medical Journal in a feature headlined 'Is the government still serious about reducing smoking?'.

Journalist Sophie Arie didn't even mention the name of the organisation. Instead she wrote:

An effective collaboration of 12 local authorities in north east England is threatened because its almost £1.2m contract is up for renewal on 31 March. A similar collaboration in the north west will end on 31 March, as did its equivalent in the south west last year because of lack of funding.

According to the Healthier Futures website (which is now little more than a holding page), Fresh NE (formerly Smokefree North East), whose future is also said to be "threatened", will "now hold the IP and associated assets" of the defunct organisation.

Sounds like a poisoned chalice to me!

Btw, I've just re-read what I wrote after Tobacco Free Futures rebranded as Healthier Futures last year:

According to chief executive Andrew Crossfield, it marks the "start of the next chapter in our story". She added:

"In addition to tackling tobacco – which is still a vital part of our work – we are excited to now be taking on responsibility to tackle a range of health issues. Our new mission is to help people live longer, healthier, happier lives."

Readers will recall that a last minute re-launch couldn't save Smokefree South West.

In February, just three months after it became Public Health Action (adding alcohol to its portfolio), SFSW aka PHA was forced to announce its imminent closure.

Does the same fate await Smokefree North West aka Tobacco Free Futures aka Healthier Futures?

And what about Smokefree North East aka Fresh?

See Tobacco Free Futures to rebrand as Healthier Futures.

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Reader Comments (4)

The govt is certainly still committed to smoker persecution as my latest get lost letter, received last week via my MP, from the latest health minister indicates.

The govt is still not listening to concerns of ordinary consumers and it still values the scam studies done by the metropolitan elitists in ASH, backed up by their pet medics.

When the govt stops funding that fake charity and it's stooges then we can rejoice. Until then, it's still all smoke and mirrors.

The govt has public health offices in every council. These will ultimately take over smoker persecution and fat shaming and sugar scaremongering from the likes of the wannabes in the north east who can see that fewer smokers means they diversify or go bust. Govt is just streamlining but nothing will change for us.

Sunday, April 9, 2017 at 19:00 | Unregistered CommenterPat Nurse

Now that's an excellent reason to light up a big fat cigar! :)

Sunday, April 9, 2017 at 19:48 | Unregistered CommenterVlad

Although I agree with Pat, I nevertheless think there is a small reason to rejoice, albeit in a muted way. It is, after all, one less peddler of hate and social discord. That's something to celebrate.

In fact, I think I'll have a shot of Tequila to mark their passing! The less of them there are, the less they can disseminate their lies.

Sunday, April 9, 2017 at 20:50 | Unregistered Commenternisakiman

What excellent news. Well done for spotting it, Simon. Of course, I agree with Pat that there are bigger fish for the Government to fry before we can be certain that they have finally rumbled the true bullying nature of these obsessive prodnoses, but – hey – from little acorns and all that. And the fact that this hasn’t been reported in the news I also think is a good sign. Tobacco Control and all its little local henchmen just aren’t Big News any more. The daft idea of hiding cigarettes behind cupboard doors got almost no coverage, and even plain packs got little more than cursory comment in the news. People are, quite simply, bored with hearing endless stories about smoking and smokers, and the media know it. Even my never-smoking OH has started to say: “Wait for it – it’ll all be blamed on smoking again,” every time there’s some new Terrible Health Hazard flagged up. Tobacco Control really has stretched everyone’s credibility to the utmost through sheer overkill, and every new, increasingly bizarre “new initiative” that they come up with these days does little more than highlight their desperation to recapture the Glory Days when politicians and the media hung on their every word and rushed to be the first to do whatever they demanded. They’d have done much better to have moved onto other areas once the ban was implemented because that was their trump card and they’d played it, and what they were left with was a busted flush. No doubt some of the cleverer members have done just that, but many just couldn’t see that the game was over. Maybe now that the money tap is being slowly turned off, they’ll have to. Good riddance to bad rubbish!

Monday, April 10, 2017 at 3:58 | Unregistered CommenterMisty

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