A new smoking ban in the UK



From today, it will be illegal to smoke in a car that is carrying an under 18 year old, enforceable by a £50 fine. The example is simple enough but it gives students a useful example of the differences in pressure groups. Most commonly association with anti-smoking campaigns are the group Action on Smoking and Health (ASH) who were part of the campaign for the original smoking ban. Their press release on this can be seen above and quotes research and facts that suggest this group could be labelled a ‘specialist insider’ group.

However the BBC article has a quote from FOREST, a group which campaigns for smokers’ rights. This is a really useful example of how some pressure groups can be successful whilst others fail. In this case, the ideological position of FOREST is in the minority in the country and therefore it is difficult for them to gain widespread support in the public or the government – an outsider by necessity. Linked to this, small membership often results in less money which means a group’s abilities to mount publicity campaigns or conduct research is limited. Where there is limited exposure, it can be difficult for them to gain more members to remedy this problem. It is also important that the success of a group depends on the opposition they face – in this case health campaigners and anti-smoking groups like ASH. Where you opposition is strong and successful, it makes it incredibly difficult for your pressure group to succeed.