So what does ASH do that justifies its continued existence? I'm damned if I know.
Forest may not, ahem, be the most successful pressure group in the world but at least we have a unique selling point and don't cost the taxpayer a penny.
The same can hardly be said of ASH who, let us not forget, spend most of their time pushing on an open door.
"You want to stop people smoking? Come in, m'dear. How can I help?"
It's hardly challenging work, is it?This is true.
It's also true that ASH, and Deborah Arnott in particular, aren't even very good at disseminating truthful information.
Debs's limp denial of the Adam Smith Institute's suggestion of plain packaging leading to the same treatment in other areas has shown her up time and again to be a bit stupid, so it has. It's time she admitted it.
Being the calm and respectful soul that she is, I take no enjoyment out of this (well, maybe a tiny bit), but from the New Zealand Herald comes the most brutal destruction yet of her refusal to accept plain packaging as a precedent for the same treatment for other consumer products.
The shift to plain packaging for cigarettes should further reduce the already low smoking rate of 15 per cent of the adult population.
Acceptance of the move suggests the time may be right for an equally simple preventive measure to improve the health of hundreds of thousands of people: plain packaging for soft drinks, accompanied by a ban on advertising them.
Meanwhile, designers have put the soft drinks in bottles adorned with attention-grabbing, headache-inducing graphics - lightning bolts, explosions, rocket ships.
Imagine if those were all replaced with generic labels that simply bore the name of the drink.
The usual argument against such a move is that it interferes with certain freedoms and that people have the right to make their own choices.What a silly ideas that is, eh? Freedom of choice? Pah!
Now, in case anyone hasn't seen Arnott's laughable denial of the bleeding obvious, here it is ... again.
[...] the “domino theory” i.e. that once a measure has been applied to tobacco it will be applied to other products is patently false.Yes it is still there! The page hasn't been pulled out of embarrassment as it should have been by now. Nor has it been edited despite being comprehensively shown to be the ramblings of an incompetent - or politically mendacious - mind.
So it's time to ask a question of ASH, and Arnott in particular. Why, for the love of God, is this demonstrable horse shit still on your taxpayer-funded website without qualification?
To borrow a couple of ASH phrases, "the debate is over" as far as a slippery slope is concerned. It is quite clear that plain packaging is being considered for a whole host of consumer products even before being forced on tobacco in this country. And "the time has come" for Debs to admit that her assertions are entirely wrong and have been misleading. Not issuing a prominent retraction would suggest she's quite happy being dishonest, and I'm sure ASH don't want anyone to think of their (pfft) fine upstanding organisation in such a way.
We look forward to this little glitch being sorted out soon. Because no-one likes to be seen as deliberately fraudulent debaters ... now do you Debs?