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Imperial Tobacco praised for tobacco consultation response

Thu 9th June, 2011

A submission by Imperial Tobacco to a Welsh Assembly Government consultation has been welcomed and given a 'Plain English Award' by Forest.

"The Good, the Bad and the Ugly," wrote Forest director Simon Clark on his Taking Liberties blog, "is Imperial Tobacco's response to the Draft Tobacco Control Plan for Wales and I've singled it out because, unusually for such documents, it's written in plain English and it makes a point of standing up for the sorely neglected consumer."

Other bloggers also praised the document. Describing it as as a "bit of a surprise", libertarian blogger Dick Puddlecote wrote that it is a "fully-referenced piece stubbornly rejecting the collective back-slapping of Welsh legislators in the tobacco control debate".

"In seven glorious pages," he added, "Imperial Tobacco eloquently conveyed the message, 'Sorry, but you've lost the plot, and we ain't buying your crap no more'. What's more, they did so by quoting back to the assembly their own - and Westminster's - (expensively-drafted) documents."

The Freedom-2-Choose Scotland blog noted that:

"The document consistently commends the aim of reducing youth smoking, but maintains that the strategy is wrong. It is wrong in describing smoking as a cause of health inequalities, and rebukes the tobacco control policy for simplistically trying to force a change in behaviour rather than trying to understand the reasons for such behaviour.

"Addressing also civil liberties, property rights and the self-defeating method of denormalisation as a means of persuading adults to give up smoking, this consultation response makes good reading."

Rich White, author of Smoke Screens: The Truth About Tobacco, wrote: 

"For a long time the anti-smoking side has been very vocal, very visible and very forceful in getting things done to try to eradicate smoking. Lately, though, the tobacco industry has started to wake up and start something of a retaliation.

"Imperial Tobacco has released a paper that demands transparency regarding tobacco control - which is only fair, considering the MSA ruled transparency for the tobacco industry.

"Perhaps this is the start of the turning point. It should be interesting watching how this all progresses."

Sources: Taking Liberties (6 June 2011)
Dick Puddlecote, Freedom-2-Choose Scotland (8 June 2011),
Smoke Screens (9 June 2011)

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