Action on Smoking and Health

From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia
Jump to: navigation, search

Action on Smoking and Health (ASH) is the name of a number of autonomous pressure groups/charities throughout the world which seek to publicise the risks associated with tobacco smoking and campaign for greater restrictions on cigarette and tobacco sales.[1][2]

ASH (United States)[edit]

Action on Smoking and Health (ASH) was formed in 1967 by John F. Banzhaf III, and a distinguished body of physicians, attorneys and other prominent citizens who saw the need for an organization to represent nonsmokers’ rights. Over the years, ASH has taken the lead on a variety of initiatives to counter the deaths and economic burden imposed by the tobacco industry.

ASH has a long history of advocacy, education and legal initiatives in the fight against tobacco. ASH has fought for health in courts, before legislative bodies and regulatory agencies, as well as international agencies such as the United Nations and the World Health Organization. ASH’s work and the work of its allies has spanned more than 40 years. Since the release of the original Surgeon General Report on smoking in January 1964, the global initiative for the prevention of tobacco-related damages has made enormous progress—and ASH has played a major role in achieving this progress.

ASH’s actions have led to significant progress, including:[3]

  • A ban on cigarette commercials over the airwaves in 1972;
  • A decision by Congress to ban smoking on airline flights in 1990;
  • The implementation of smoke-free legislation in a number of jurisdictions in the United States and other countries;
  • A 2001 executive order by President Bill Clinton prohibiting the government from promoting the sale or export of tobacco products;
  • Adoption and implementation of the WHO Framework Convention on Tobacco Control (FCTC), the first international treaty that deals exclusively with tobacco issues.

ASH (United Kingdom)[edit]

Action on Smoking and Health
Action on Smoking and Health (logo).jpg
Abbreviation ASH
Formation 1971
Type Pressure groups / Charities
Headquarters 144-145 Shoreditch High Street
  • London, UK
Deborah Arnott
Prof. John Moxham
Duke of Gloucester


ASH was established in 1971 by the Royal College of Physicians following the UK Government refusing to act on the College's demand for laws to reduce tobacco use. Former health minister, John Dunwoody, became its first director. Its present-day board of trustees reflects its continued support from the medical establishment as it is composed largely of doctors.[citation needed]

ASH was awarded a WHO World No Tobacco Day award in May 2011[4] and the 2012 Luther L Terry Award for "Outstanding Organization" by the American Cancer Society in December 2011.[5]

Its current Chief Executive, appointed in 2003, is Deborah Arnott. She was appointed Honorary Associate Professor Division of Epidemiology and Public Health University of Nottingham in 2011 and won the 2007 Alwyn Smith Prize awarded annually by the UK Faculty of Public Health to the person judged to have made the most outstanding contribution to the health of the public. She is the sister of Jake Arnott.

ASH provides the secretariat of the All Party Parliamentary Group on Smoking and Health.[citation needed]


ASH is a charity,[6] describing itself as a "campaigning public health charity that works to eliminate the harm caused by tobacco".

Its funding for its core campaigning programme comes from the British Heart Foundation and Cancer Research UK. It has also received funding from the Department of Health under its Section 64 grant programme, which is earmarked for specific projects to further DH's public health objectives, and is unavailable for more general campaigning purposes.[3]


ASH tries to influence policy on a variety of issues including taxation and smuggling, health inequalities, harm reduction, and smoking and young people. It also works on denouncing the activities of the tobacco industry to undermine public health policies.[citation needed] The organisation has published several reports on the subject.

In February 2006, ASH won its campaign for legislation which created comprehensive smoke-free workplace regulation, introduced in England on 1 July 2007.[7][8] The smoke-free regulations included all pubs, bars and private members' clubs, as well as cafés, restaurants, and enclosed workplaces. A similar smoke-free law had already come into force in Scotland in March 2006,[9] and Northern Ireland and Wales followed in April 2007.

The Health Act 2009 provides for removal of vending machines for tobacco products (implemented in October 2011) and for the prohibition of the display of tobacco products at the point of sale in England, Wales and Northern Ireland. In March 2011, the Government committed to implement the point of sale legislation in England in large shops from April 2012 and in smaller shops from April 2015. It also committed to a public consultation on plain packaging in early 2012. These are all measures that ASH is supporting and encouraging.

ASH coordinates the Smokefree Action Coalition, the umbrella group for organisations working to reduce the harm caused by tobacco.

ASH is also a member of the World Health Organisation's Framework Convention Alliance on Tobacco Control.


ASH covers the whole of the UK and encourages supporters to get involved in the organisation's work, or just lend financial support. ASH Northern Ireland, ASH Scotland and ASH Wales are separate organisations.

ASH Wales[edit]

Action on Smoking and Health Wales
Abbreviation ASH Wales
Formation 1976
Type Pressure groups / Charities
Headquarters 8 Museum Place
  • Cardiff
Chief Executive
Baroness Finlay of Llandaff
Prof. Steve Tomlinson
Tanya Buchanan

ASH Wales was established in 1976 as a branch of ASH UK. In 2007 ASH Wales became an independent company limited by guarantee and a charity registered in Wales.

ASH Wales is a public-health charity engaged in a variety of projects including campaigning for tobacco-control public-health policy, research, training, educational workshops, advocacy, and support.

The organisation is the only one in Wales with the sole task of tackling the ill health caused by tobacco use.[citation needed] The organisation’s main aim is to achieve a reduction in, and eventual elimination of, the health problems associated with tobacco use.

ASH Scotland[edit]

ASH Scotland is the leading charity campaigning for effective tobacco control legislation in Scotland. ASH Scotland was set up in 1973 under the auspices of the Royal College of Physicians of Edinburgh. It became a separate national organisation in 1993.

See also[edit]


External links[edit]