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April 9th, 2013:

Margaret Thatcher and Philip Morris

In 1992 Margaret Thatcher signed on as an international consultant to the Philip Morris tobacco company at a pay rate of US $500,000 annually, with half to be paid directly to Mrs. Thatcher and half to be paid to the Margaret Thatcher Foundation.[1].

According to the 19 July 1992 U.S. Sunday Times article, Ms. Thatcher’s “advice will be sought on controversial issues including the penetration of tobacco markets in Eastern Europe and the Third World. She will alsos be asked to help resist attempts to ban tobacco advertising in the European Community and to fight cigarette taxes and state-run tobacco monopolies.” Thatcher was a non-smoker who spoke out against tobacco several times while Prime Minister. [2]

The Independent (of London) reported that Philip Morris paid for a 70th birthday bash for Ms. Thatcher on 23 October 1995 in Washington, D.C. 800 guests attended and the estimated cost of the party was $1 million.[3]

All Party Parliamentary Group on Smoking and Health

Download PDF : APPGillicit2013

Cancer News — MPs dismiss tobacco industry claims about cigarette packs

Customs Officers examine the huge haul of illegal tobacco and cigarette-making materials seized from a container

There is “no good reason” to believe that introducing plain, standardised cigarette packs will lead to a rise in smuggled tobacco, an influential cross-party group of MPs and peers has said.

Tobacco firms claim that standardised packs will be easier for counterfeiters to copy, leading to an increase in smuggling and, ultimately, job losses in the industry.

Such arguments were dismissed as “tobacco industry propaganda” by Liberal Democrat MP Stephen Williams, chairman of the All Party Parliamentary Group on Smoking and Health.

“The tobacco industry knows that standard packs will cut the number of children pulled into this lethal addiction – that’s why they are running an expensive and mendacious campaign to try to scare the Government off,” Mr Williams added.

Existing packaging is already “cheaply and readily” copied, while enforcement agencies do not rely on pack design to test whether packs are illegal, the parliamentary group said.

UK border agency officials use a number of security features to detect illicit tobacco, all of which could also be present on standardised packs.

Sarah Woolnough, Cancer Research UK’s executive director of policy and information, said: “This report is further evidence that the tobacco industry should not be listened to when developing health policies aimed at reducing the devastating impact of smoking.

“The most effective way to tackle counterfeit and smuggled tobacco is through coordinated enforcement action with border agencies and trading standards.

“Improvements in controlling the distribution and sale of tobacco are also key. We’ve already achieved success in reducing illicit tobacco in the UK from coordinated action and that must be built upon.”

The Government launched a consultation on plans to introduce mandatory standardised packaging for tobacco products last April.

The consultation closed in August and the information is still being considered by health officials.

As many as 567 children in the UK take up the habit each day, which means more than 75,000 have started smoking since the consultation began, data released last week revealed.

In December, Australia became the first country in the world to introduce standardised packaging, with all tobacco products sold in a single colour, with only the brand name and graphic warnings visible.

The group called on the health secretary to follow Australia’s lead and introduce plain packs in the next parliamentary session.

The level of tobacco smuggling and illegal trade is falling in the UK and uniform packs will have no effect on that downward trajectory, the group said.

But they said the move would discourage many children from starting to smoke, saving the health service vast sums of money.

Mr Williams, MP for Bristol West, said: “The UK has a good record in recent years in tackling the illicit tobacco trade, although it remains a serious challenge.

“Contrary to tobacco industry propaganda there is no good reason to think that standardised packs will increase illicit trade.”

Copyright Press Association 2013

JTI reveals its serious concern that plain packaging will actually work

Download PDF : JTI reveals its serious concern that plain packaging will actually work

Doctors call for Earl Howe to be removed from role in Friends of the Royal College of Physicians

BMJ 2013; 346 doi: (Published 9 April 2013)

Cite this as: BMJ 2013;346:f2239

  1. Gareth Iacobucci

Author Affiliations

Six fellows of the Royal College of Physicians (RCP) have called for health minister Earl Howe to be removed from his position as chair of the Friends of the Royal College, owing to his prominent role in helping to push through the government’s health reforms.

In a letter to RCP president Richard Thompson, the senior clinicians said that Howe was “not a fit person to fulfil this important role,” because he had helped introduce controversial legislation opening up the NHS to the marketplace—a policy that they said was “almost universally opposed by members of our college.”

The doctors said that Howe’s opposition to tobacco display legislation also made him unfit for the role, and urged Thompson to ask him to leave the position.

The letter reads: “Given both his role in the introduction of this legislation, almost universally opposed by members of our college, and his opposition to public health legislation that it is central to the college’s goals, we are astonished to discover that Earl Howe is chairman of the Friends of the Royal College.

“His actions, in relation to both the NHS and the tobacco industry, clearly suggest that he is not a fit person to fulfil this important role and we respectfully request that he should be asked by the college to relinquish the position.”

The RCP said that the position of chair was always listed in the annual report and accounts for transparency. It confirmed that it had received the letter and would be responding to it fully next week.

A spokeswoman explained: “The Friends of the RCP is an informal advisory group, including past presidents and officers, and figures from finance, industry, and other charities, which plays no role in the governance or management of the RCP but offers advice in areas such as effective fund raising. It meets very infrequently, often annually. The role is not political, and Lord Howe has been a Friend for ten years, based on his contributions to charity.”


Cite this as: BMJ 2013;346:f2239