Given that the biggest financial beneficiaries of the Tobacco Control Industry are the pharmaceutical companies, shouldn't we have transparency as to who they are giving their money to?
Researchers and charities in other countries have already been warned by the WHO not to accept funds from Big Pharma!
In Ireland, the Government has sub-contracted all smoking cessation measures to the Irish Cancer Society. They are grant-aided to provide the Quitlines, send out the literature and provide counselling to smokers who contact the Quitline. Judging by the variety and amount of advertising at smokers on Radio & TV they must be receiving millions of our money. In this way, they have the opportunity to direct smokers’ money away from tobacco companies and re-direct it to pharmaceutical companies instead. The Irish tobacco market stands at about two billion euros a year, so the stakes are high.
The Irish Cancer Society, then, is coaxing you to take your daily intake of nicotine, but they just want you to change your supplier. They have lobbied the Irish Government relentlessly for more legislation that points smokers to this racket. The big question is where does the lobbying money come from? We know for sure that this 'charity' gets an annual amount of taxpayers’ money, has high cost, full-time staff, and some of the medical profession’s leading lights draw generous expenses for their activities with the ICS alongside their careers running elsewhere.
But because they are a registered charity we are not permitted to know where their money comes from, nor what it is spent on. They turned over €17m last year and have fixed assets of €6m too. However, I would suggest that if the hard-nosed executives in the pharmaceutical industry are in receipt of a potential two billion euro market from them, then they are no doubt willing to pay a high price for it.
Indeed, the pharmaceutical industry has made a big contribution to bans and restrictions around the world by lobbying politicians, and it appears that the big pay-back for all this activity is the referral of smokers to their products.
Easily worth all of the investments in junk science, foreign junkets for the white coats and local political lobbying and whatever their allies in the ICS ask for.