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”?