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An email sent from Sheila Duffy, Chief Executive, ASH Scotland

To James Middleton, Clear The Air

I wanted to drop you an email to let you know how the Holyrood conference went and to thank you for your help with our background investigations.

It was a very polarised debate. Around 70 or 80 delegates, including a lot of Trading Standards Officers, a number of pharma reps, about 10 delegates from the retail trade and representative bodies, and big guns from Big Tobacco (TMA, Imperial, JTI, vending machine orgs Sinclair Collis & NACMO as well as FOREST and F2C Scotland).

We had a good showing in the morning and were backed by Scottish Youth Parliament representative in advocating the measures. Patrick Basham (the academic that was recommended by FOREST) played a canny game portraying tobacco use as a natural 4 stage process linked to growing wealth and social perceptions of risk-taking (aspire to smoke, get wealth and take it up, trade up to premium brands, perceive longer term health risks, reduced levels of smoking ending up at around 20-25%) and claiming tobacco control measures are brought in by govts after the natural decline occurs – that they are just putting a ribbon on something taking place anyway and that there’s no evidence to support their effectiveness of tobacco control measures. Scottish Conservatives argued there’s no evidence base for effectiveness of point of sale, so we shouldn’t do it – and if it is done retailers ought to be compensated. EamonnRossi from the Office of Tobacco Control in Ireland was ambushed by a flown-in contingent of Irish retailers (‘Retailers against Smuggling’) protesting against the cost of registration (50 euros) and saying the display ban had led to increased smuggling, but he fielded it well. Our Health Minister was strong on the measures in the bill including ending point of sale and banning self service vending machines, and as you will have seen our Parliament voted through the first stage general approval of the principles in the bill.

Kind regards


Sheila Duffy
Chief Executive
ASH Scotland
8 Frederick Street
Edinburgh, EH2 2HB

Tel: 0131 220 9487
Fax: 0131 225 4759

ASH Scotland is a registered Scottish charity (SC 010412) and a company limited by guarantee (Scottish company no 141711).

As a charity, we need your donations to continue working towardsa tobacco-free Scotland.  You can donate to us securely online at

Email your enquiries on tobacco and smoking to the ASH Scotland Information Service:
Visit Tobacco Information Scotland: your national gateway to tobacco control information:

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