No Thank EU

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Forest homepage promotion of No Thank EU campaign October 2013

No Thank EU is a campaign being run by the tobacco industry front group Forest against the EU Tobacco Products Directive Revision known as the TPD. The campaign website was registered in June 2013, 1 and officially launched on 29 July 2013.
No Thank EU is being managed by Angela Harbutt who was also the campaign manager of Forest’s Hands Off Our Packs campaign against plain packaging in the UK.2
On the website, Forest puts forward well-worn tobacco industry arguments against plain packaging, including that the policy would increase crime, negatively impact businesses and is a “slippery slope” to other regulations on products that impact health.
The language used by the campaign is sceptical of the EU, talking about “unelected bureaucrats” imposing an “extreme agenda”:

  • “This is yet another example of unelected bureaucrats in Brussels imposing their extreme regulatory agenda on UK consumers.
  • Tobacco is a legitimate consumer product yet the EU wants to prohibit or severely restrict the choices available to adults.
  • Have we learnt nothing from history? Criminal gangs will make a fortune manufacturing and selling prohibited products.
  • Legitimate businesses will suffer as a direct result of regulations that will deny consumers choice and drive them to the black market.
  • If Brussels gets away with this the EU will move on to other products such as alcohol, sugary drinks and convenience food.” 3

The website then asks people to email their MP or MEP, using a standardised letter format. The author of the letter, which is downloadable on the site, is Will Mayor.

Promoting the Campaign

House magazine is wrapped in Forest advert 2013

In the build-up to the Parliamentary vote on the revision of the EU TPD on 10 September 2013, the No Thank EU campaign attempted to recruit support for the opposition to the new TPD.
In addition to a website the campaign also boasts a Twitter account and facebook page.4
Simon Clark, Director of Forest, described in his blog how Forest paid for adverts to appear in influential publications such as The Week which has a circulation of 194 thousand, Spectator” (63k) and The New Statesman ” (25k). The adverts read ‘PROHIBITION? NO THANK EU’.5
Just days before the vote was due in September it was announced delayed by a month to 8 October 2013. In response the No Thank EU campaign responded with renewed fervour.
In addition to renewed adverts in the aforementioned political weekly magazines, the campaign also advertised in the “House Magazine”, the political insiders’ magazine for the British Parliament, which in Simon Clark’s own words is “sent to every MP, peer and MEP. 6

TobaccoTactics Resources

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  1. who is, NothankEU, accessed September 2013
  2. S.Clark, The EU road to prohibition, Taking Liberties Blog, 29 July 2013, accessed October 2013
  3. NoThankEU, 5 Reasons to Say No, accessed September 2013
  4. No Thank EU @NoThankEU,, accessed October 2013
  5. S. Clark, Hey EU! Stop intruding – Forest launches ad campaign in political weeklies, Taking Liberties Blog, 29 August 2013, accessed October 2013
  6. S.Clark, Message to our elected representatives – stop taking away our freedoms, Taking Liberties Blog, 11 September 2013, accessed October 2013