Forest Unfiltered






40 Years of Hurt

Prejudice and Prohibition

Road To Ruin?

Search This Site
The Pleasure of Smoking

Forest Polling Report

Outdoor Smoking Bans

Plain Packaging

Share This Page
Powered by Squarespace
« ASH - less popular than The Donkey Sanctuary, more famous than the Canal and River Trust | Main | "Vivat Forest!" »

ASH's call for further anti-smoking measures falls flat

A YouGov poll of over 10,000 adults in England, commissioned by ASH, has proved a bit of a damp squib, news wise.

Headlined ‘12 years on from England going smokefree, support for the Government to do more to tackle smoking is continuing to grow’, the press release - embargoed until midnight last night - has been largely ignored by the media.

So far I have seen only two reports, one in the Hartlepool Mail, the other in the Yorkshire Post (which included a response from Forest).

Furthermore I was due to go head-to-head with ASH CEO Deborah Arnott on BBC Radio Sussex at 9.10 this morning but the interview was cancelled in favour of an item about switching energy and mobile phone providers.

Last week another ASH press release (Over half a million social housing tenants in poverty due to the cost of smoking) met a similar fate.

I’ll come back to that issue in a separate post but it's clear that journalists and broadcasters are not particularly interested in ASH’s latest anti-smoking rants.

It would be foolish nevertheless to dismiss them or rest on our laurels because you can be sure that the YouGov poll will be winging its way to health secretary Matt Hancock and ASH’s friends in the Department of Health with an accompanying letter urging the government to go harder, faster.

According to the YouGov survey ‘more than three quarters support activities to limit smoking or think government should do more, with the proportion thinking government should do more growing significantly over time.’

Ending smoking by 2035 is achievable, say ASH, if the Government introduce tough new tobacco regulations, all of which are supported by the public, including:

Requiring businesses to have a licence to sell tobacco which they can lose if they sell to underage smokers (83% of adults support, only 4% oppose)

Making tobacco manufacturers pay a levy or licence fee to Government to help smokers quit and prevent young people from taking up smoking, (72% of adults in England support, only 7% oppose)

Requiring tobacco manufacturers to include Government mandated information about quitting inside cigarette packs (64% of adults in England support, only 9% oppose)

Prohibiting smoking in all private vehicles, not just those carrying children under 18 (64% support 16% oppose)

Increasing the age of sale from 18 to 21 (58% of adults in England support, only 17% oppose)

If the poll is correct it’s a classic example of the tyranny of the majority.

However I’d like to see what the questions were because our polling, conducted by Populus, has consistently found little enthusiasm for further tobacco control measures - certainly nothing on the scale of these results.

It’s worth noting, btw, that there is no mention of smoking in outdoor areas (parks, beaches etc) or smoking on film and TV.

I wonder if ASH posed questions about those issues and didn’t get the results they were hoping for.

For the record, here is Forest’s full response to ASH’s call for further anti-smoking measures.

It’s not online but the Yorkshire Post quoted me as follows:

Smokers' group Forest said the demands represent "another aggressive and illiberal attack on legitimate consumers".

Director Simon Clark said smoking rates had fallen sharply as people voluntarily switched to e-cigarettes.

He added: "It's not the government's job to end smoking. The government's role is to educate people about the relative risks of a wide range of consumer products. Beyond that it's a question of choice."

Update: I have emailed YouGov requesting the full data tables. In accordance with the Market Research Society (MRS) code of conduct the company is obliged to publish any data that relates to any report that has been published and which now sits in the public domain.

PrintView Printer Friendly Version

EmailEmail Article to Friend

Reader Comments (3)

Very few people trust polls. They tend to show whatever the organisation or group paying for the results wants them to say.

Monday, July 1, 2019 at 11:29 | Unregistered CommenterPat Nurse

Perhaps the Government feel they have lost enough votes recently.

Monday, July 1, 2019 at 20:39 | Unregistered CommenterRose2

According to a piece in this morning's daily rag (otherwise known as the Mail 09/07/19) Matt Hancock is about to follow the Ash template to the letter!


Tuesday, July 9, 2019 at 9:45 | Unregistered CommenterFrank J

PostPost a New Comment

Enter your information below to add a new comment.
Author Email (optional):
Author URL (optional):
Some HTML allowed: <a href="" title=""> <abbr title=""> <acronym title=""> <b> <blockquote cite=""> <code> <em> <i> <strike> <strong>