Action on Smoking and Health

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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 & Health
ASH logo.jpg
Abbreviation ASH
Motto Global action for everyone's health
Founder Professor John Banzhaf
Headquarters Washington, DC, USA
  • 701 - 4th St, NW, DC
Dr. Alfred Munzer (Chair), Mr. Doug Blanke, Dr. Chuck Crawford, Ms. Patricia Lambert, Ms. M.R. (Marion) Wells
Key people
Laurent Huber (Executive Director)
Mission To be a prime mover in domestic and global tobacco control through advocacy, communication, the force of law and our essential partnership with the Framework Convention Alliance for Tobacco Control.

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
ASH - action on smoking and health
Abbreviation ASH
Formation 20 January 1971 (1971-01-20)
Founder Royal College of Physicians
Type Pressure group / Charity
Registration no. 262067[4]
Headquarters 67-68 Hatton Garden
  • London, UK
Area served
Key people

Action on Smoking and Health (ASH) is a registered charity established in 1971, that aims to eliminate the harm caused by tobacco. It works to raise awareness of the health risks of tobacco, and also campaigns for policy measures. It provides the secretariat of the All-Party Parliamentary Group on smoking and health.[5]


ASH was established in 1971 by the Royal College of Physicians following the refusal of the UK Government to act on the College's demand for laws to reduce tobacco use. Former health minister, John Dunwoody, became its first director.[6] Its present-day board of trustees reflects its continued support from the medical establishment as it is composed largely of doctors and scientists.[7]

ASH was awarded a WHO World No Tobacco Day award in May 2011[8] and the 2012 Luther L Terry Award for "Outstanding Organization" by the American Cancer Society in December 2011.[9]

Its current Chief Executive, appointed in 2003, is Deborah Arnott. She was appointed Honorary Associate Professor in the 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.[10]


ASH is a charity[4] 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 (BHF) and Cancer Research UK (CRUK). It has also received funding from the Department of Health under its Section 64 grant programme, which is earmarked for specific projects to further the department’s public health objectives, and cannot be used to lobby the government.[3]


ASH uses funding from the BHF and CRUK to influence policy on a variety of issues including taxation and smuggling, health inequalities, harm reduction, and smoking and young people. It also works to raise awareness of the methods used by the tobacco industry to influence public health policies.[11][12] ASH coordinates the Smokefree Action Coalition (SFAC), the umbrella group for organisations working to reduce the harm caused by tobacco, which was set up to campaign for comprehensive smoke-free legislation.[13]

In February 2006, ASH won its campaign for legislation which created comprehensive smoke-free indoor workplace regulation, introduced in England on 1 July 2007.[14][15] 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,[16] and Northern Ireland and Wales followed in April 2007. Campaigning after this point focussed on the need for a new government strategy on tobacco control.

In 2008, ten years after the publication of "Smoking Kills", a white paper on tobacco[17] and the first comprehensive strategy to tackle the issue, ASH published "Beyond Smoking Kills" which provided a review of progress on the control of tobacco.[18] The report called for a number of measures including a tobacco display ban,[19][20] prohibition of the sale of tobacco from vending machines and standardised tobacco packaging.[21]

The Health Act 2009 provides for removal of vending machines for tobacco products (implemented in October 2011[22]) 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.[23] It also committed to a public consultation on standardised packaging in early 2012. ASH, and the SFAC, actively campaigned for the introduction of standardised packaging, which was included in the Children and Families Act 2014[24] and was passed into law in March 2015.[25] The charity described it as the "most important public health reform of this Parliament."[26]

In 2015, ASH published "Smoking Still Kills" which called for a new government tobacco control strategy, and made a number of recommendations including an annual levy on tobacco companies to fund measures to help smokers quit and prevent youth uptake.[27] At the launch of the report, Parliamentary Under Secretary of State for Public Health Jane Ellison committed to a new tobacco control strategy.[28] Christopher Snowdon, a research fellow at the Institute of Economic Affairs, which had received funding from tobacco firms,[29] noted the influence of the charity saying that the "manifesto of this tiny pressure group is, in effect, the manifesto of whichever party is in power."[30]

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 Scotland[edit]

Action on Smoking and Health (Scotland)
Ash Scotland Logo.png
Abbreviation ASH Scotland
Formation 1973 (1973)
Founder Royal College of Physicians of Edinburgh
Type Pressure group / Charity
Headquarters 8 Frederick Street, Edinburgh
Chief Executive
Mary Cuthbert
Sheila Duffy

ASH Scotland is an independent Scottish charity which aims to take action to reduce the harm caused by tobacco. First founded under the auspices of the Royal College of Physicians of Edinburgh in 1973, ASH Scotland became a wholly separate charity in 1993.[31]

The organisation seeks to improve health and quality of life by limiting the number of young people taking up smoking, reducing the number of adult smokers, protecting people from second-hand smoke and tackling the inequality resulting from tobacco use. This involves campaigning for change in the law, providing information to politicians, healthcare professionals and the public, and running programmes designed to help people be tobacco-free.

Following ASH Scotland campaigns, Scotland was the first part of the UK to introduce smoke-free public places legislation and the first part of the UK (and the third country globally) to declare a tobacco-free date (2034) as part of the Scottish Government's tobacco control strategy 'Creating a tobacco-free generation'.[32]

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.

See also[edit]


  1. ^ ASH - Action on Smoking and Health
  2. ^ ASH - Action on Smoking and Health
  3. ^ a b "2011 Accounts" (PDF). ASH/Kingston Smith. 
  4. ^ a b Action on Smoking and Health, Registered Charity no. 262067 at the Charity Commission
  5. ^ "All Party Parliamentary Group on Smoking and Health". Retrieved 23 June 2015. 
  6. ^ Roth, Andrew (1 February 2006). "John Dunwoody". The Guardian. Retrieved 23 June 2015. 
  7. ^ "ASH Board of Trustees". Retrieved 23 June 2015. 
  8. ^ "World No Tobacco Day Awards 2011". World Health Organization. 
  9. ^ "Congratulations to Luther Terry Award winners". Framework Convention Alliance. 
  10. ^ "Faculty prizes". Faculty of Public Health. Retrieved 24 June 2015. 
  11. ^ "Tobacco front groups & third party lobbying tactics" (PDF). January 2014. Retrieved 24 June 2015. 
  12. ^ Hammond, Ross; Rowell, Andy (May 2001). "Trust us: We're the tobacco industry" (PDF). Campaign for Tobacco-Free Kids, Action on Smoking and Health. Retrieved 24 June 2015. 
  13. ^ "About Smokefree Action". Smokefree Action Coalition. Retrieved 24 June 2015. 
  14. ^ "England smoke ban to start 1 July". BBC. 2006-12-01. 
  15. ^ "England to go smokefree on 1 July 2007: truly a time for celebration". ASH. Retrieved 2006-12-01. 
  16. ^ "Scotland smoking ban to go ahead". BBC. 2006-12-01. 
  17. ^ Smoking Kills: A White Paper on Tobacco. (PDF). London: Stationery Office. 1998. ISBN 9780101417723. Retrieved 24 June 2015. 
  18. ^ "Beyond Smoking Kills". Retrieved 23 June 2015. 
  19. ^ Boseley, Sarah (10 June 2015). "Public health group calls for levy on tobacco firms to help fight smoking". The Guardian. Retrieved 24 June 2015. 
  20. ^ "Tobacco display ban extended to all shops". BBC News Online. 6 April 2015. Retrieved 24 June 2015. 
  21. ^ Beyond Smoking Kills: Protecting children, reducing inequalities (PDF). Action on Smoking and Health. October 2008. ISBN 978-1-872428-79-6. Retrieved 24 June 2015. 
  22. ^ "Cigarette vending machines banned in England". BBC News Online. 1 October 2011. Retrieved 24 June 2015. 
  23. ^ "Healthy Lives, Healthy People: A Tobacco Control Plan for England" (PDF). HM Government. 9 March 2011. Retrieved 24 June 2015. 
  24. ^ Perraudin, Frances (11 March 2015). "MPs pass legislation to introduce standardised cigarette packaging". The Guardian. Retrieved 24 June 2015. 
  25. ^ "Standardised tobacco packaging" (PDF). March 2015. Retrieved 24 June 2015. 
  26. ^ Triggle, Nick (11 March 2015). "MPs back standardised cigarette packaging". BBC News Online. Retrieved 24 June 2015. 
  27. ^ Smoking Still Kills: Protecting children, reducing inequalities (PDF). Action on Smoking and Health. June 2015. ISBN 978-1-872428-95-6. Retrieved 24 June 2015. 
  28. ^ "Smoking Still Kills: Government announced key recommendation: a new tobacco control strategy" (Press release). Action on Smoking and Health. 10 June 2015. Retrieved 24 June 2015. 
  29. ^ Doward, Jamie (1 June 2013). "Health groups dismayed by news 'big tobacco' funded rightwing thinktanks". The Guardian. Retrieved 24 June 2015. 
  30. ^ Snowdon, Christopher (1 June 2015). "The anti-smoking pressure group whose wackiest ideas always become law". The Spectator. Retrieved 24 June 2015. 
  31. ^ "Our history". ASH Scotland. ASH Scotland. Retrieved 15 October 2015. 
  32. ^ "Creating a Tobacco-free Generation" (PDF). Scottish Government. Scottish Government. Retrieved 15 October 2015. 

External links[edit]