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Watt’s the story?

I won’t be going to the E-Cigarette Summit on Thursday.

There is however one speaker I shall be sorry to miss: Judith Watt.

The E-Cigarette Summit website describes her as an ‘international tobacco control consultant’:

In her three decades in tobacco control, Judith Watt has been an advocate, strategist and mentor at UK, Australian and global levels. Her career has included communications planning, policy development and advocacy, and pioneering work in supporting advocates in low- and middle-income countries.

Judith’s initial experience came in running national campaigns in the UK and Australia in the 1980s and 1990s, where she lay the groundwork for initiatives that are still widely seen as models internationally, including the “Every cigarette is doing you damage” TV campaign that has been adapted for use in over 40 countries.

I remember her as the head of a long-forgotten campaign called Smoke Free London which was described as an “an alliance of NHS health authorities and other agencies”.

Before that she was the first full-time coordinator of No Smoking Day in the UK.

For a period Judith rivalled Clive Bates (who was director of ASH from 1998-2003) as the go to spokesman for the anti-smoking brigade. Soundbites attributed to her included:

“If you smoke and you're with children, they're smoking too."

“It would be extremely good for London as a tourist destination to be a smoke free city.”

She was a tough opponent with an occasionally sharp tongue but she was never unpleasant and I rather liked her.

On one occasion we were invited to Television Centre in west London to discuss some issue live in the studio. The item got pushed back so we had time to chat while we waited.

I thought we were getting on rather well. As soon as we were on air however we had a pretty fierce argument. I can’t recall what was said, or even what we were talking about, but I do remember that I enjoyed it!

Afterwards we returned to central London together. We were still on speaking terms (neither of us took our disagreement personally) but that was the last time I saw her.

Well before the introduction of the smoking ban Judith returned to Australia with the result that her role in setting the ball rolling has been largely forgotten or ignored by those who chose to take credit for the subsequent legislation.

She’s not been idle however and for some years she’s had a senior role with the Framework Convention Alliance, a body made up of nearly 500 organisations from over 100 countries that works on the development, ratification and implementation of the WHO Framework Convention on Tobacco Control (FCTC).

Given the WHO’s ambiguous attitude to risk reduction products I'll be interested to hear what she has to say on the subject.

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Reader Comments (2)

Crikey, how much more do vaping orgs want to jump into bed with the enemies of smokers. I hope they get shafted eventually like they have shafted us. I can think of no group that deserves it more. Serves them right.

You might call Watt a pleasant person but frankly anyone who uses other people's children to bully them with exaggerated propaganda, while trying to socially exclude them from their own capital city is a very selfish and unpleasant person, especially as she has worked tirelessly since to exclude, marginalise and discriminate againt us from everything in life as part of the naztie FCTC.

I am sure tyrants are very pleasant to those close to them but we all know deep down exactly what sort of people they are.

Monday, November 12, 2018 at 11:18 | Unregistered Commenterpat nurse

The FCTC and their allies manipulate science to persecute smokers. They will do the same to vapers once they are successful with thinner moves to 'divide and conquer'. The FCTC and its Framework Convention Alliance are tyrannical in nature and must be exposed for their lies.

Monday, November 12, 2018 at 18:57 | Unregistered CommenterVinny Gracchus

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