In which I am called a punt

I received a tip-off last night.  [Thanks, DP!]

There is a link to this humble abode of mine from no less a crowd than ASH Scotland.

Of course I am extremely flattered that I am being held up as the representative of pro-smoking/anti-regulation networks.  They got one little bit wrong though – I am not pro smoking, I am pro-choice/anti-regulation – but then anyone who isn’t anti-smoker has to be pro-smoking in their books?

The FOREST survey is being promoted on their website and social media, and punted around other pro-smoking/anti-regulation networks. A message urging participation is being sent to “friends of FOREST”.

Well, I suppose if you’re going to the trouble of holding a survey then it seems eminently sensible to advertise the fact?  I’m not sure quite what they mean by “punting” though.  All I did was repeat FOREST’s message verbatim, with no suggestion that I was trying to bias it in any way.  All I said was that I thought it was fair and people should take the survey.

This isn’t good enough for ASH however.  They have already dismissed the survey on the grounds [apparently] that it will be returned by smokers only and is therefore unfair and unbalanced.  They would far rather the survey was conducted exclusively amongst smokers who are desperately trying to quit?

The people reached by these requests will not represent the general population of “smokers”, but instead the small sub-set of smokers who engage with FOREST and/or other anti-regulation interests and who feel motivated to complete a survey distributed by those interests. To put it another way, a survey sent around to ASH Scotland supporters would likely indicate considerable scepticism about FOREST’s claim to speak on behalf of smokers, but we could not simply use this to claim that the whole population thinks this way. A survey of your friends only tells you about your friends.

I am very confused here.  They want to poll “smokers” but not the smokers who are anti-regulation?  They seem to fail to grasp a couple of salient points here.  I do not, and never have restricted my readership in any way [except for trolls] so I’m sure I have non-smokers and even want-to-quit smokers reading here and all are welcome.  The other point is that those of us who enjoy smoking and have no intentions of quitting are more than likely to be pretty pissed off with regulations and the likes of ASH.

We are inundated with strikes here in Ireland at the moment.  These strikes are being voted in by union members.  However ASH Scotland would, it would seem, want either the entire population to vote on behalf of the workers or that the vote should only be held amongst those who don’t want to strike?  The vote is invalid because it was held by the unions?

The stated aim “To find out what smokers really think” seems to have missed this crucial point. Surely FOREST is not intending to use the results of this survey to make claims about smokers as a whole? To allay our concerns, will they state clearly that their survey cannot be taken as representative of the views of all smokers and will not be presented as such?

The survey is an attempt to canvas the opinions of smokers who enjoy smoking and the reasons why they enjoy it.  It does also include those who have tried [or are trying] to quit which is fair enough.  But apparently there are two types of satisfied smokers – those who are “friends of FOREST” and those who aren’t?  I don’t claim to representative of all smokers and nor does any other smoker but taken as a large group I would imagine we are pretty representative?  The only reason I can think of why ASH are already dismissing this survey is that they didn’t get to set the questions and couldn’t cherry-pick the respondents.

It is precisely as I would have predicted.  They are dismissing the survey before the results are even collated, presumably because it is funded by Big Tobacco [I’m surprised ASH Scotland didn’t mention that]?

I wonder how they would react if the survey ultimately said that everyone wanted to quit and the only feasible way was using Big Pharma products and could we please have more smoking cessation “charities”?

I wonder.

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In which I am called a punt — 19 Comments

  1. ‘The only reason I can think of why ASH are already dismissing this survey is that they didn’t get to set the questions and couldn’t cherry-pick the respondents.’

    I think you are spot-on there Grandad.

    On another note which is a bit off topic. Wicklow Brave is running in the Melbourne Cup tomorrow and will be carrying some of my “hard earned”.

    • I have a tale about the Melbourne Cup which delights me to tell. I lived in Melbourne from ’71 to ’79, and although I’m not a regular gambler, I always used to have a flutter on the Melbourne Cup. I know nothing about horse racing, so I would just pick a horse at random. Maybe because of the name. Anyway, one year, I picked an outsider called ‘Think Big’. If I remember right, the odds were 33:1. Anyway, I put 10 bucks on it to win, and fuck me, the bugger came in first! Ha! Drinks all round! Anyway, over the next year, ‘Think Big’ faded into obscurity, not really performing at all. However, it was in the Melbourne Cup again the following year, this time at reduced odds of (I think) 16:1, So I thought “Sod it, I’ll back it again”, and this time I put on $50 to win. Well, bugger me if that nag didn’t win again! Double Hah! And doubles all round! There is a God!

      Sadly, that’s the only good luck story (well almost) I’ve ever had in my gambling career, which is why I don’t very often gamble.

      • Reminds me of an old Andy Capp cartoon.

        First picture – Andy at the races, laughing with his mates at Florrie… “She picks ’em by the colour of their eyes”.

        Next picture – Andy and mates crying as Florrie walks back with a wodge of cash in her hand.

  2. I am a non-smoker. I am also anti-regulation and pro-choice. ASH are nothing more than a nasty little fake charity stealing our money in order to lobby for more restrictions on people’s freedom to choose.

    • I have, and have had, a number of non-smoking friends who are of the same opinion as you. They view the likes of ASH in the same light as the ‘Animal Rights’ and ‘Greenpeace’ organisations – singe-issue groups made up of fanatical nutters.

  3. Governments Need To Improve Smoking Cessation Services, Smokers Say, UK
    17 March 2011

    “Over 78 million smokers in Europe want to quit, but half (50%) of those surveyed who have tried to quit rate smoking cessation services as inadequate, poor or unacceptable, according to new research released today.1”

    “1. This research was conducted by InSites Consulting in February 2011 and funded by Pfizer Ltd. Consumer research was conducted using an on-line quantitative survey in 20,010 smokers and 22,683 non-smokers across 20 European countries.”

    So even though more non-smokers than smokers were asked, somehow we are supposed to believe that it represents the views of 78 million smokers ?



  4. Well they did include that bit about “anti-regulation networks”, that I feel is fairly accurate description.

    What they have omitted to mention is the said survey is open to anyone.

    Way back when I first saw it, I felt that people’s like Richard The Double Thingy and others like him would use their acknowledged skills at being able to access sites several hundred times, apparently from different computers, to influence the final result. In truth I’d be disappointed if our troll groupies haven’t.

    Looking at it in a cynical and somewhat jaundiced way – which is my style – my thoughts about the ASH post is it’s a call to their supporters to get stuck in.

    The only survey worth spit is that conducted by Frank Davis:

    Whatever the outcome of the Forest thing, Frank’s still stands as the benchmark, with the old SAD Ireland one a close second.

  5. It’s somewhat amusing that an organisation which exists solely to persecute smokers purports that all of their surveys represent the views of all of those whom they despise with perfect honesty and accuracy, whilst stating (presumably with a straight face) that an organisation which exists solely to defend the rights of smokers is somehow unable to do so!

    Only recently I read somewhere on t’Internet (can’t remember where now, sorry – don’t think it was about smoking, but it’s applicable) a quote along the lines of: “The closer a movement comes to achieving its ends, the further it strays from reality.  Once bedded-in, no organisation seeks to disband itself,” which I think describes ASH and other anti-smoking fanatic-groups perfectly.  The “cause” must continue to exist, no matter how tortured the logic must become in order to ensure that continuation.

    • What they seem to fail to understand is that if you want the opinion of smokers, then the only people you poll are smokers.  The very first question should be a trap – Do you smoke?  If the answer is No then the rest of the survey should be blocked.  That way if the ASH trolls decided to distort the figures they would all have to claim they are smokers.  Mind you, I wouldn’t out it past the lying cunts.

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