Scotland - Alcohol and Tobacco Policy Summit, March 15, 2011, Edinburgh..

March 13, 2011 - Drinks giant Diageo has cut its ties with Scotland's most prominent alcohol awareness charity, Alcohol Focus Scotland (AFS), over controversial moves by the campaigning group to link the impact of alcohol to that of smoking.

The company, which makes Johnnie Walker, Bell's, Guinness and Smirnoff, has retaliated against AFS after being frozen out of a conference next week which the group is co-hosting with anti-smoking lobbyist Action on Smoking and Health.

Next week's summit will hear from public health experts such as Dr Laurence Gruer of NHS Health Scotland and Sir Ian Gilmore, former president of the Royal College of Physicians. Sir Ian backs a minimum unit price on alcohol and restrictions on the sale of drink. (Scottish Alcohol and Tobacco Policy Summit, Tuesday 15th March 2011, Hilton Grosvenor Hotel, Edinburgh)

Edinburgh-based Diageo has written to AFS, arguing it is "misleading and unjustified" to suggest smoking and drinking should be tackled in the same way when there is evidence that responsible drinking causes no harm. Having given Alcohol Focus £140,000 (225,064.00 USD) in recent years, it has also decided to redirect funding to other alcohol education programmes.

AFS said it had decided not to invite drinks firms to the summit because organisers did not want "vested interests" involved in a discussion on possible public health reforms.

Reference: Diageo severs ties to drink awareness body in row over smoking by EDDIE BARNES, The Scotsman, 3/11/2011.

Scotland - some related news briefs:
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Scotland - plain cigarette packaging - may take the lead in tobacco control..;
Scotland - Lady Dr. Eileen Crofton a leading anti-smoking campaigner and health advocate dies at 91..;
Scotland - ASH publishes recommendations for a new Scottish tobacco control strategy..;
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Scotland - Imperial Tobacco loses attempt to overturn ban on cigarette displays and removal of vending machines..;
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Scotland - 90% of Scots back law that prosecutes adults for buying cigarettes for children..;
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Scotland - renewing efforts to stop pregnant women from smoking..;
Scotland - cigarette smoking quit attempts increase by 35%..;
Scotland - retailers can provide input on future to ban the display of tobacco..;
Scotland - campaigners want more to be done to protect young people from passive smoking..;
Scotland - government no plans to ban smoking in cars and public places used by children..;
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Scotland - parliament votes to ban retail cigarette displays and vending machines..;
Scotland - health minister urges smokers to quit..;
Scotland - some men beginning to lead a healthier lifestyle and therefore living longer..;
Scotland - self-reporting of smoking by pregnant women underestimates true number of pregnant smokers..;
Scotland - tobacco firms claim proposed display ban is unnecessary..;
"Glasgow effect" - prevalence of cigarette smoking impact on poor health..;
Scotland - tobacco industry will try to stop attempts to curb sales to young people..;
Scotland - cigarette vending machines removal..;
Scottish politicans most have the courage to protect the health of their constituents..;
Scotland - small businesses given extra 2-years to remove tobacco displays..;
Northern Ireland - assembly approves ban on display of tobacco items..;
Scotland to ban cigarette displays and outlaw cigarette vending machines..;
Bar workers who smoke also benefit from smoking ban..;
17 countries in the world ban indoor smoking - ENFORCEMENT..;
England, Wales to ban tobacco displays in shops..;
Definite Health Benefits of Smoking Bans..;
Northern Ireland raising age for sale of tobacco from 16 to 18 joining the other three United Kingdom (UK) countries..;
Scotland proposes to implement more measures to discourage tobacco use including the banning of tobacco displays..;
Raise Age to 21 to Purchase Tobacco Products...

(United Kingdom)