I think I’ve said this before. This Government could save itself billions if it simply stopped persecuting smokers. They would not have to support Action on Smoking and Health or any of the other money-sucking “charities” and quangos that get our taxes. Or pay out BILLIONS for NHS Smoking Cessation Services or NRT for people who can switch to vaping far more successfully than by using the patches, gums and inhalers you pay the Drug Companies for.
Australia pulled funding from the Australian Ash – oh! poor things. But instead of relieving the burden on smokers, it seems to have got worse. Australia is no longer a free society – it’s gone insane on many levels.
But here in the UK, the Government spends millions on trying to make smoking extinct. Of course for a quarter of the population it’s a normal thing they do everyday.
So George Osborne, if you want to save money, simply remove the funding from the Tobacco Control Industry.
Smokers would still support the NHS through the profit you make on tobacco taxation. That is, with the bit you get. With the price of tobacco nowadays, I would think you are losing a great deal to contraband – and that serves you right!
Maybe the penny might be dropping since you froze the tax on tobacco in your budget.
But you could do much better.
I’m delighted £200m has already been removed from this year’s council public health budgets. Let’s cut those budgets even further and make councils think twice before spending finite funds on unnecessary anti-smoking initiatives such as signs designed to stop adults smoking in outdoor public places.
Some matters should be beyond the remit of local councils. Smoking outside is one of them. It’s also none of their business if adults choose to smoke at all.
I’ll be watching the Chancellor’s statement with interest. Fingers crossed.
PS. See also Council spending on Public Health is being largely wasted(ConservativeHome).
My old friend Harry Phibbs writes:
£160 million is spent by councils on smoking cessation. For Leeds City Council the programme included someone dressing up as a kangaroo and going round a shopping centre telling people smoking was bad for them.
Some of the money meant for smoking cessation has been diverted into political lobbying (in contravention of the rules that Council funds should not be spent in that way).
For example Public Health Action/Smoke Free South West has been paid over a million pounds this year (from Bath and North East Somerset, Bristol, Cornwall, Gloucestershire, Plymouth, Somerset, South Gloucestershire, Swindon, Torbay and Wiltshire councils). The organisation is quite open about its lobbying activities – for instance in support of plain packaging. Similar concerns arise with FRESH North East and Tobacco Free Futures.
My own council [Hammersmith and Fulham] is spending £924,000 on anti-smoking campaigning and activity of various sorts. I suspect those who quit would have quit anyway.
Well said, Harry. If one London council is spending almost a million pounds on anti-smoking initiatives, how much money is being spent nationwide? I think we should be told.