The Freedom Association

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The Freedom Association (TFA), set up in 1975, is a British libertarian campaign group. Their aim is “to challenge all erosion of civil liberties and campaign in support of individual liberty and freedom of expression”, which has included campaigning against tobacco control measures.[1]

Campaigned Against the Tobacco Display Ban and Plain Packaging

In March 2011 Simon Richards, TFA’s Director, was one of 11 signatories of a Letter to the Editor in the Daily Telegraph attacking the Government's position on tobacco control and arguing against the proposed Display Ban and Plain Packaging.[2] In the letter, the authors argued that the proposed tobacco regulations did not match the government’s promise to ‘defeat the enemies of enterprise’. They further argued that the regulations would make life more difficult for tobacconists and newsagents, and would make it easier for illicit tobacco to be sold. No evidence was given to support their claims.

In April 2012, TFA announced its support for the Hands Off Our Packs campaign against the plain packaging of tobacco proposals. Simon Richards said:

"Attempts to force plain packs on tobacco companies are yet another unjustifiable assault on people’s right to make their own decisions about their own spending choices and activities. Freedom to advertise and promote one’s own products and services is a fundamental part of a free society. It is no coincidence that such freedom does not exist in totalitarian regimes such as North Korea."[3]

Unclear if it Receives Tobacco Industry Funding

It is unclear whether TFA accepts tobacco industry funding. In May 2012, the Tobacco Control Research Group (TCRG) at the University of Bath contacted TFA and asked if it was receiving tobacco industry funding, or had received funding in the past.[4]

TFA did not reply.

Affiliations

Links to Forest

Forest is a British smokers’ rights group, historically funded by tobacco companies.[5][6][7] TFA has a history of a crossover of Forest personnel:

  • Stephen Eyres was the Director of Forest from 1983-1990. For five years previously he edited the magazine of the Freedom Association, Free Nation, and prepared press releases for the Freedom Association.[8]
  • Chris Tame was the Director of Forest from 1990-1995. Before this he worked for the Institute of Economic Affairs (IEA) and the Freedom Association. He was also Secretary of the Libertarian Alliance and the Adam Smith Club.[9] Tame passed away in in 2006.

In 2010, to coincide with the Conservative Party Conference, the Freedom Association held a two day "Freedom Zone" conference. One of these events was co-sponsored by The Free Society and Forest. Another event, called ‘Voices of Freedom: Live and Unleashed’ was chaired by Claire Fox, the Director and founder of the Institute of Ideas. The panel included

Liberty League

In March 2011, the IEA and The Freedom Association launched the inaugural Liberty League conference, co-hosted by the IEAand the Freedom Association. Speakers included:

TobaccoTactics Resources

Notes

  1. The Freedom Association, Welcome to the Freedom Association, undated, accessed October 2017
  2. Enemies of enterprise seek controls on tobacco, Letter to the Editor, The Telegraph, 9 March 2011, accessed October 2017
  3. Talking Retail, Freedom Association joins campaign against plain tobacco packaging, 17 April 2012, accessed October 2017
  4. Tobacco Control Research Group, Submission to Online Contact Form, 11 May 2012
  5. Unknown, Tobacco cash revealed behind smokers’ lobby, Truth Tobacco Industry Documents, 11 December 1981, Bates no: TI05391495, accessed October 2017
  6. Unknown, BATCo Press Cuttings Index: One Man’s World – Freedom to Choose, Truth Tobacco Industry Documents, 13 July 1984, Bates no: 105635968-105635977, accessed October 2017>
  7. British American Tobacco, The Principle of Responsible Product Stewardship, 2004-05, accessed October 2017
  8. Unknown, Stephen Eyres, Truth Tobacco Industry Documents, undated, Bates no: 304093042, accessed October 2017
  9. C.R. Tame, Trust the People: The Case Against Higher Tobacco Taxation Derived from both Political Principle and Party Expediency - An Open Letter to the Chancellor of the Exchequer, Truth Tobacco Industry Documents, March 1992, Bates no:TI06571981, accessed October 2017
  10. The Freedom Association, The Freedom Zone, [accessed June 2011
  11. N. Hayns, Freedom Forum 2011, Institute of Economic Affairs blog, 24 March 2011, accessed October 2017