They have done this with smoking ban 'evidence', heart attack 'miracles', and are currently following the same methodology in trying to bully Westminster into adopting pointless plain packaging.
Back in 2009 they were doing exactly that with the tobacco display ban, when the London Evening Standard published this.
The vote is due next Wednesday, and retailers are extremely upset. They say the move will damage their businesses — especially as it could cost £1500 to install a special gantry to store the products.
The Ministry of Health asked anti-smoking organisation ASH (which is hardly a disinterested party) to check on the cost, and it claimed the figure for the gantries was just £120. This figure was sent by health minister Lord Darzi to every member of the House of Lords.
When the supplier, 4 Solutions of Canada, heard about this, it pointed out the individual cost would be approximately £450 — and this did not include any of the installation costs, which would be around £1000. They also pointed out that the costs of the gantries for all the outlets in Britain could be over £30 million.
Neither ASH nor the Ministry of Health has corrected the information they have given to the members of the House of Lords in advance of the vote.I wrote about it at the time here, and Snowdon wrote up the whole farce in detail. It was also questioned in the House of Lords but the lie was allowed to stand.
Time has moved on and in April all corner shops will have to cover up their displays. A perfect time, then, to look at what small retailers are now - in real life and not ASH's fairy story - getting ready to shell out.
There are a number of solutions available, which will enable you to comply with the legal requirements relatively inexpensively. These include self-installed plastic ‘curtains’ which, for a small gantry, can cost as little as £50 plus delivery, or retrofitted sliding doors costing about £350 plus delivery – however, these require professional installation, which will add another £200 approximately to the cost.
Both of these options will enable you to fully comply with the law and you may decide that is all you want to do. However, the gantry area is probably the most valuable selling space in your shop and simply covering it up will kill it stone dead as a selling space.So, unless you're talking about a very basic self-installed plastic sheet, which will adversely affect the business in the long run, the cost is already nearly five times what ASH claimed.
However, Lord Darzi - delivering the happy news to Westminster on behalf of ASH and the tobacco control industry - cannot possibly have been talking about those.
"Removing displays need not be costly—in Canada, even professional covers cost as little as £120 for an area measuring 1 metre by 1.3 metres"And professional is the operative word. Because professional covers will, indeed, cost the £1,500 which retailers - quite truthfully - said they would when politicians ignored them in favour of state-funded lobbyists.