After some confusion, the Charity Commission has published Action on Smoking and Health (England)'s accounts. If you're a British taxpayer, you donate to ASH, so you might like to know what you get for your money...
The Department of Health has reduced its funding somewhat, while ASH International (John Banzhaf's outfit; part-funded by Pfizer) and its supporting charities (mainly the British Heart Foundation and Cancer Research UK) have kept the money pouring in.
Supporting charities: £436,295Department of Health: £142,000ASH International: £104,119-----£682,414 (plus others = total income of £743,000)
All of the Department of Health's cash (£142,000) was spent on a shadowy project called 'Capitalising on Smokefree', which Taking Liberties and Alex Massie mentioned back in 2008. ASH have never published anything about this, and the suspicion is that it was a front for generating yes-votes for the government's public consultation on tobacco control. A question was asked in the House, to which the then Health Minister Dawn Primarolo (remember her?) replied:
ASH has received this grant specifically to carry out a defined project entitled "Capitalising on Smokefree: the way forward". None of this funding is to be used for lobbying purposes.
But according to the accounts:
This project provides an information base and communications to support further progress on tobacco control policy and smoking cessation following on from the smokefree policies introduced in the Health Act 2007.The Department of Health made a section 64 Scheme grant of £142,000 to this project.
"Communications to support further progress on tobacco control policy" sounds an awful like lobbying to me. What do readers think?
Dr. Anna Gilmore has quit her position as an ASH trustee, apparently to find a heart miracle where we already know there isn't one.
Revealed that the annual cost of smoking to the NHS in England has soared from £1.7 billion a year in 1998 to £2.7 billion in 2008.
A pretty amazing statistic in a country where smoking prevalence has dropped significantly, but then they had to keep pace with their rivals in the temperance movement who are getting all the press right now:
It is estimated that the cost of alcohol related harm to the NHS in England is £2.7 billion in 2006/07 prices.
Following the successful implementation of the overwhelmingly popular and effective smokefree law in July 2007...
... ASH has been at the forefront of a new campaign for a national tobacco control plan.
Do you remember the Smokefree Action Coalition? The one that only wanted a smoking ban and then would go away because there wasn't a slippery slope and they just wanted to protect workers from secondhand smoke?
The first step was the re-launch of the Smokefree Action Coalition. Consisting of more than 30 organisations committed to tobacco control, the Coalition was formed originally to campaign for legislation to make enclosed public places and workplaces smokefree.
And that's all they wanted, remember?
With that goal accomplished, members agreed agreed to change the objective of the Coalition to securing a comprehensive tobacco control strategy.
Reducing children's exposure to tobacco smoke needs to be a central element of the three-year review of the smokefree legislation, due in 2010.
Smoking bans in the home, here we come!
To maintain good relations with the three current key funders
Like ASH International, as funded by Pfizer, the makers of Nicorette and Chantix?
The Chancellor responded to ASH's call for an extension of the reduced rate of VAT on nicotine replacement therapy, which will now apply indefintely.
That's the one.
Prepare for the next Government
Good to see a bit of realism creeping in there. Whether the next government also capitulates to its every whim while funding it to
lobby "support further progress on tobacco control policy" remains to be seen.