Conservative tobacco policy shift is great first step says ASH

Tuesday 10 August 1999

ASH/ Press releases/


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Press releaseTuesday 10th August 1999
Embargo: immediate
Action on Smoking and Health

Conservative tobacco policy shift is great first stepsays ASH

ASH applauded the new Conservative policy ontobacco. Clive Bates, Director of ASH said: “It’s great to see them abandoning opposition to tobacco advertising bans.The voluntary approach of the last Government failed completely and all the evidencesuggests that a ban needs to be total if it is going to work at all.”

“By stressing the need to crack down oncriminal activity as the prime response to smuggling and refusing to call for tax freezesor reductions, they have rejected the central demand of the tobacco industry.

ASH pointed out that the new policy isimportant for what it does not say.

“For example, we need clarity on thetax policy — it is still not clear whether they support continued tobacco tax rises, butat least they aren’t saying that they support a tobacco tax freeze. That is an importantchange.”

“The tobacco companies no longer haveany reliable friends left in high places.”

“The Conservatives are signalling afundamental rethink of their approach to tobacco and health. You could call it a U-turnbut political parties are supposed to use time in Opposition to develop new approacheswhen they’ve been badly beaten at an election.”

But ASH’s enthusiasm was qualified:

“There are whole areas of tobaccopolicy that are not addressed in the new document — including support for people thatwant to quit, regulation of tobacco additives and toxins, taxation, smoking at work and inpublic places.”

“This is a good first step,suggesting a sea change has started, but there is a long way to go before they have afully formed and credible policy”.

“We think they ought to come clean onfunding from the tobacco companies. It is important to know who might be pulling thestrings. If they are still taking the tobacco shilling, they should tell us.”


Contact Clive Bates, Director (020) 7739 5902

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