Action and Smoking on Health (ASH) is one of the most powerful charities in the land, lobbying MPs and powerful Medical groups to adopt their position. However, ASH is heavily funded by the pharmaceutical industry (who manufacture nicotene replacement products), and State funding. Whether this funding be direct or channelled via the NHS or other charities such as Cancer Research UK and the BHF, the end result is that most of its multi-million pound budget comes from the taxpayer. In reality, last year, this charity only received £11000 in voluntary donations from the public and its Scottish branch only had 0.2% of its funding come from voluntary donation.
Given the disproportionate level of power this organisation wields and given our straitened economic times, all State funding to this organisation should be withdrawn. It should either represent its true popularity with the public by attempting to survive on public donations or it should be wholly funded by the pharmaceutical industry so that everyone is clear on its background and agenda. When the Leader of this organisation brags in a national newspaper about performing "a confidence trick" on Parliament with regard to the Smoking Ban, the legitimacy of taxpayers' money being used to fund them needs to be addressed.
Why is this idea important?
Millions of pounds saved.
Less Nanny State interference in people's lives (and consequent economic and social damage) from an organisation that is not representative of the general public and which has proven links to the pharmaceutical industry.
Less power for a biased organisation that cares little about the health aspects of smoking, (unsurprisingly) promoting largely ineffective NRT products rather than more proven methods such as cognitive and behavioural therapies (ASH had to apologise to the Allen Carr "EasyWay to Stop Smoking" organisation after making inaccurate claims about the efficacy of the latter group's method).
Less funding for biased and impartial "junk science" with the resulting increase in public trust in the scientific method and medical research.