Sunday 19 January 2014

Helping CRUK With Their Accuracy

This article in the Nottingham Post reminded me that it is now universally accepted that illicit tobacco is on the increase.
INTRODUCING plain packaging on cigarette boxes would make it easier for counterfeit cigarettes to flood the market, it is claimed. 
Official figures show that the illicit trade in tobacco is increasing again, and Her Majesty's Revenue and Customs estimate that 500 million more cigarettes were smuggled into the UK in 2012-13 than in 2011-12. The potential cost to the Government is estimated at almost £3 billion, which is £500 million more than last year.
Indeed, this is true, as detailed by HMRC in this document.

Yet this article from October 2012 - a month firmly within the timeframe studied by HMRC's report - still remains unaltered on Cancer Research UK's website.
Robin Hewings, Cancer Research UK's tobacco policy manager, commented: "The tobacco industry claims that cigarette smuggling is 'booming', 'set to grow' and that the UK is becoming the European 'hotspot'
"Today's figures show the opposite. This is yet another instance of the tobacco industry making claims that turn out not to be true."
As I pointed out at the time, Robin was using two year old figures to come up with his erroneous assertions whereas the sources he linked to were referring to what was actually happening at the time.

Far from "making claims that turn out not to be true", the tobacco industry was 100% correct while Robin Hewings was the one "making claims that turn out not to be true". Embarrassing, huh?

I'm sure Cancer Research UK value their integrity and would not wish falsehoods to still be carried on their website, so I have generously emailed Robin to help save his blushes.
Dear Mr Hewings 
I am writing to alert you to an error on the CRUK website which I'm sure you will wish to correct. 
In this article from October 2012, you were quoted saying that tobacco industry claims of a rise in illicit tobacco trade were false. As I'm sure you are now aware, HMRC's Measuring Tax Gaps reports have since confirmed that industry predictions were indeed correct and that you were demonstrably not; and that it was right to conclude that cigarette smuggling was "set to grow", which you denied. 
I feel sure you will agree that it is not in the best interests of CRUK to leave such an inaccurate article online in its present form, especially since it ironically illustrates that it was you who were "making claims that turn out not to be true" rather than the tobacco industry you accused of doing so. 
I thought I would get in touch to point out this blooper so you can amend the article, or add a retraction, before anyone notices that your assertions were either ill-informed or deliberately misleading. 
I note, also, that the press release in question was issued in collaboration with the Press Association. I expect, then, that you'll be keen to contact them too in order that they can correct the error their end to save potential embarrassment. 
No need to thank me, just call it my good deed for the day. 
Yours sincerely
Richard Puddlecote
I suppose I should similarly help this guy, who trusted CRUK and therefore made himself look a bit foolish ...

... but I don't think my internet reaches Australia.

Oh well.


Still waiting said...

The government also promotes illegal tobacco smuggling by persecuting Britons who have purchased their tobacco LEGALLY in the EU
The Customs in their vigilence are driving more and more Britons into the hands of smuggling gangsters and now with easy access for Romanians and Bulgarians the floodgates are really open.
If we are honest,anyone buying tobacco from a UK shop really should book an appointment with a shrink
Naturally,we cant expect much common sense from the Government as their
fear of the Pharma/Lobbies surmounts all reasonable debate.
Westminster representing the will of the people is but a distant illusion,by voting for MPs you are just justifying their arrogance.

truckerlyn said...

CRUK by name and CROOK by nature! That's my experience.

JonathanBagley said...

CRUK is fast becoming a joke. I cancelled my small monthly donation three or four years ago.

Junican said...

"If we are honest,anyone buying tobacco from a UK shop really should book an appointment with a shrink"

The sale of full priced cigs in the UK depends upon demand in-elasticity at the lower end of the consumption scale. For example, a person smoking, say, ten cigs per day (at a cost of, say, £3.50) would not regard that cost as particularly onerous (in view of the fact that a pint of lager in the pub costs around £3). A month.s supply would cost £90 and three months supply, ££270 pounds. For these people, is it worth the cost and trouble to make a trip to Belgium to buy in bulk to gain a marginal cost advantage?
What would actually the best way for these people would be to buy whole leaf and home-grown, but that requires the use of initiative which seems to be in short supply.