Clive Bates was the former head of Action on Smoking and Health (ASH) . I am not entirely sure when he started, but I think 1997 and left in 2003. In Chris Snowdon’s masterpiece Velvet Glove, Iron Fist, A History of Anti-Smoking, here is a chance to buy it if you have not shamefully yet. http://www.amazon.co.uk/Velvet-Glove-Iron-Fist-Anti-Smoking/dp/0956226507
Clive’s gentle persuasion is credited with getting smoking rates down to 21% of the population. He still is involved in a private capacity in wanting to reduce smoking rates and is an advocate of snus and e-cigarettes. Clive has been kind enough to post a couple of comments which I think deserve a broader audience.
“I’m in favour of e-cigarettes for the same reasons as I’m in favour of snus. Nicotine is a widely used drug and there is no reason to restrict its availability to only the most dangerous delivery systems. Plenty of reasons to allow smokers to adopt this alternative.”
“I stand by all of this. I was Director of ASH and we took the view then as now that smoking represents the single most serious public health problem and the biggest driver of health inequalities. Unlike the approach taken with drugs (criminalisation), we believe that a public health approach is justified – especially in the light of the addictiveness of smoking. Pharma approaches to help smokers over nicotine addiction are part of the response (if they work), but I’m as sceptical as anyone about the efficacy of pharma products. Smokeless tobacco is potentially more important given what we know from Sweden. I’ve no objection to ‘pharming’ and don’t remember voicing any.”
“It’s not a secret – we were trying to get smoke-free public places almost from the dawn of time. Huge volumes of misinformation were produced on all aspects of smoking and passive smoking by the tobacco industry and its bought up and slavish hacks. No surprise surely…”
“Pharma approaches to help smokers over nicotine addiction are part of the response (if they work), but I’m as sceptical as anyone about the efficacy of pharma products.”
Thanks Clive for your frank comments.