County council clamps down on smokers but retains £20 million tobacco investment

Watford Observer: County council clamps down on smokers but retains £20 million tobacco investment County council clamps down on smokers but retains £20 million tobacco investment

The county council is drawing up ambitious plans to cut the number of smokers in Hertfordshire, while having millions still invested in a tobacco company.

The authority looking to persuade thousands of Hertfordshire’s 170,000 smokers to quit by 2016 to help reduce the £300million the habit costs the county in related healthcare costs. 

Hertfordshire’s Tobacco Control Strategic Plan said smoking related diseases kill more people than obesity, drugs, alcohol, preventable diabetes, preventable accidents, and suicide combined.

The strategy aims to reduce the number of smokers in Hertfordshire from around 19.4 per cent of the population to 18.5 per cent.

Figures showed that Three Rivers had the highest proportion of smokers, 22.3 per cent, in south west Hertfordshire, with Hertsmere the second, at 19.4 per cent, and then Dacorum with 18.7 per cent.

Watford had the lowest proportion with only 16.6 per cent of its residents hooked in nicotine.

Health officials are also looking to drive down the numbers of youths who take up smoking and woman who puff through pregnancy.

The council is planning for form an alliance of public bodies called Smokefree Hertfordshire to coordinate a renewed drive to help smokers quit and prevent new ones starting.  

However the strategy comes as ruling Hertfordshire councillors decided to keep the authority’s pension investments in British American Tobacco.

The council invested around £20 million in the company before taking on public health functions last year.

After reviewing its tobacco holdings last year, Derrick Ashley, a Conservative cabinet member for the council and chairman of the pension committee, said: "The expert financial advice we have followed made it clear that if we placed restrictions on our investment managers it would risk the pension fund’s returns being adversely affected.

"This is not a risk that the committee is at liberty to take, regardless of its members’ views on tobacco."

Comments (5)

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12:53pm Fri 2 May 14

latexjeans29 says...

I am a smoker Herts County Council and I ain't giving up. Now or ever, it kills me so be it, I work, pay NI, VAT, Income TAX, please spend this money on more important things.
I am a smoker Herts County Council and I ain't giving up. Now or ever, it kills me so be it, I work, pay NI, VAT, Income TAX, please spend this money on more important things. latexjeans29
  • Score: -6

1:06pm Fri 2 May 14

LSC says...

latexjeans29 wrote:
I am a smoker Herts County Council and I ain't giving up. Now or ever, it kills me so be it, I work, pay NI, VAT, Income TAX, please spend this money on more important things.
And a HUGE amount of Duty on the tobacco itself.
Also note; like petrol, the price is bumped up by adding the Duty first, then the VAT on that price, rather than the VAT being on the price of the actual goods being purchased which is how it is supposed to work.
[quote][p][bold]latexjeans29[/bold] wrote: I am a smoker Herts County Council and I ain't giving up. Now or ever, it kills me so be it, I work, pay NI, VAT, Income TAX, please spend this money on more important things.[/p][/quote]And a HUGE amount of Duty on the tobacco itself. Also note; like petrol, the price is bumped up by adding the Duty first, then the VAT on that price, rather than the VAT being on the price of the actual goods being purchased which is how it is supposed to work. LSC
  • Score: 1

1:17pm Fri 2 May 14

garston tony says...

Ok this is the third time at least this story has been put on the WO, its not news more 'olds'.

Whilst the situation on the face of it is absurd I dont actually see any problem (and by the way I am anti smoking myself), its not like the council decided one day to be anti smoking its something that they have been told to do.

I could actually argue that keeping the investment in tobacco contributes to the stop smoking campaign. If the council stops the investment the pension pot faces an immediate deficit as a result, one which would probably have to be made up via tax money meaning that there is less to spend elsewhere for instance on the anti smoking campaign.

Keep the investment however, no resulting shortfall and therefore more money to spend on reducing the number of people smoking. Win win really.

If the campaigns in the county and nationwide are successful the value of tobacco shares will reduce anyway making them less of an attractive investment but then the pension scheme will have a number of years to find alternative investments to make up the reduction in return rather than having to do it overnight.

As far as i'm bothered the only thing the council needs to do is ensure the pension people dont influence the health people and vice versa. Smoking is thankfully on the decline and I hope that any Herts campaign helps that decline to continue
Ok this is the third time at least this story has been put on the WO, its not news more 'olds'. Whilst the situation on the face of it is absurd I dont actually see any problem (and by the way I am anti smoking myself), its not like the council decided one day to be anti smoking its something that they have been told to do. I could actually argue that keeping the investment in tobacco contributes to the stop smoking campaign. If the council stops the investment the pension pot faces an immediate deficit as a result, one which would probably have to be made up via tax money meaning that there is less to spend elsewhere for instance on the anti smoking campaign. Keep the investment however, no resulting shortfall and therefore more money to spend on reducing the number of people smoking. Win win really. If the campaigns in the county and nationwide are successful the value of tobacco shares will reduce anyway making them less of an attractive investment but then the pension scheme will have a number of years to find alternative investments to make up the reduction in return rather than having to do it overnight. As far as i'm bothered the only thing the council needs to do is ensure the pension people dont influence the health people and vice versa. Smoking is thankfully on the decline and I hope that any Herts campaign helps that decline to continue garston tony
  • Score: 4

1:21pm Fri 2 May 14

garston tony says...

LSC wrote:
latexjeans29 wrote: I am a smoker Herts County Council and I ain't giving up. Now or ever, it kills me so be it, I work, pay NI, VAT, Income TAX, please spend this money on more important things.
And a HUGE amount of Duty on the tobacco itself. Also note; like petrol, the price is bumped up by adding the Duty first, then the VAT on that price, rather than the VAT being on the price of the actual goods being purchased which is how it is supposed to work.
Isnt it supposed to work how the government wants it too?

Personally I think attitudes like latex's are imcomprehensible, basically i'm paying my taxes so let me kill myself slowly. Oh, and possibly anyone else who is near me who inhales my smoke and to boot I dont really care about the feelings of whoever is left behind to mourn me when I do die of lung cancer.

Nice
[quote][p][bold]LSC[/bold] wrote: [quote][p][bold]latexjeans29[/bold] wrote: I am a smoker Herts County Council and I ain't giving up. Now or ever, it kills me so be it, I work, pay NI, VAT, Income TAX, please spend this money on more important things.[/p][/quote]And a HUGE amount of Duty on the tobacco itself. Also note; like petrol, the price is bumped up by adding the Duty first, then the VAT on that price, rather than the VAT being on the price of the actual goods being purchased which is how it is supposed to work.[/p][/quote]Isnt it supposed to work how the government wants it too? Personally I think attitudes like latex's are imcomprehensible, basically i'm paying my taxes so let me kill myself slowly. Oh, and possibly anyone else who is near me who inhales my smoke and to boot I dont really care about the feelings of whoever is left behind to mourn me when I do die of lung cancer. Nice garston tony
  • Score: 6

2:02pm Fri 2 May 14

LSC says...

garston tony wrote:
LSC wrote:
latexjeans29 wrote: I am a smoker Herts County Council and I ain't giving up. Now or ever, it kills me so be it, I work, pay NI, VAT, Income TAX, please spend this money on more important things.
And a HUGE amount of Duty on the tobacco itself. Also note; like petrol, the price is bumped up by adding the Duty first, then the VAT on that price, rather than the VAT being on the price of the actual goods being purchased which is how it is supposed to work.
Isnt it supposed to work how the government wants it too?

Personally I think attitudes like latex's are imcomprehensible, basically i'm paying my taxes so let me kill myself slowly. Oh, and possibly anyone else who is near me who inhales my smoke and to boot I dont really care about the feelings of whoever is left behind to mourn me when I do die of lung cancer.

Nice
I'd rather the government worked how the people want them to. VAT is very specific, so they should change the name or specifications.

Anyone has a right to 'kill themselves' in a legal manner, or indeed to an extent, put others at risk. Every time I get behind the wheel of a car I am in exactly that position.
If smoking is costing the NHS too much and should therefore be banned or suffer financial penalties because of the risk to health and therefore cost to the system, then logically we should also ban boxing. And riding motorcycles. And riding horses. And rugby. And so on and so on...
[quote][p][bold]garston tony[/bold] wrote: [quote][p][bold]LSC[/bold] wrote: [quote][p][bold]latexjeans29[/bold] wrote: I am a smoker Herts County Council and I ain't giving up. Now or ever, it kills me so be it, I work, pay NI, VAT, Income TAX, please spend this money on more important things.[/p][/quote]And a HUGE amount of Duty on the tobacco itself. Also note; like petrol, the price is bumped up by adding the Duty first, then the VAT on that price, rather than the VAT being on the price of the actual goods being purchased which is how it is supposed to work.[/p][/quote]Isnt it supposed to work how the government wants it too? Personally I think attitudes like latex's are imcomprehensible, basically i'm paying my taxes so let me kill myself slowly. Oh, and possibly anyone else who is near me who inhales my smoke and to boot I dont really care about the feelings of whoever is left behind to mourn me when I do die of lung cancer. Nice[/p][/quote]I'd rather the government worked how the people want them to. VAT is very specific, so they should change the name or specifications. Anyone has a right to 'kill themselves' in a legal manner, or indeed to an extent, put others at risk. Every time I get behind the wheel of a car I am in exactly that position. If smoking is costing the NHS too much and should therefore be banned or suffer financial penalties because of the risk to health and therefore cost to the system, then logically we should also ban boxing. And riding motorcycles. And riding horses. And rugby. And so on and so on... LSC
  • Score: 2

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