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Action on Smoking and Health (ASH)

  • Action on Smoking and Health (ASH)
  • Archives and manuscripts

About this work


The archive reflects most aspects of the work of ASH.

The material when originally transferred had no clearly discernible original order. This was partly due to the flat structure of ASH - with most of the work, and hence paperwork, generated through the Director. However, some separate groups of papers were identified: the largest being those generated by the Project Officer, a post created in about 1984. In addition, there are also files of Charles Fletcher, relating to his work with the RCP, and to the genesis of ASH, of which he was the first President; and files created by the journalist William Norman, during research in 1977 for his book on the politics of the tobacco industry.

The genesis of ASH is illustrated in Fletcher's papers (section Q), arising out of his work on the Royal College of Physicians smoking reports. There is a full run of Committee minutes from 1971 onwards (section B). The bulk of the files are those of the Director, associated with all aspects of ASH's campaigning and administrative work. These overlap to some extent with the files of the Project Officer (section P), which are concerned with various specific campaigns, especially about smoking in the workplace and in public places.



Physical description

Catalogued: 167 boxes Uncatalogued: 116 transfer boxes Uncatalogued: 1 digital file


The collection is divided into sections as follows:



Minutes [Executive Committee, Council, AGM], 1971-1989

Attendance registers, 1971-1974

Director's reports, 1980-1988

Annual accounts, 1971-1986

Articles of Association and annual returns to Charity Commissioners, 1970-1980

Organising and Fund-raising Committee, Propaganda Sub-Committee minutes, 1971-1976

Development Committee minutes, 1971-1973

Officers" meetings minutes, 1978-1984

ASH Awards, 1988-1995

ASH relaunch, 1995-1996




Norfolk ASH, 1980-1988

Northern ASH, 1978-1989

Northern Ireland ASH, 1975-1989

North West ASH, 1977-1983

Scottish ASH, 1978-1989

Solent ASH, 1976-1979

ASH Ireland, 1992-1995

Oxfordshire ASH, 1994-1995

Suffolk ASH, 1993-1996

ASH in Wales, 1994-1996

Wessex ASH, 1994-1996

West Midlands ASH, 1993-1994

Yorkshire ASH, 1991-1995

Branches annual conference and reports, 1981-1989

Branches - General, 1988-1995




British Parliament and MPs, 1976-1990

European Parliament and MEPs, 1977-1990



Advertising and sports sponsorship, 1976-1996

Correspondence with the press and media, 1978-1992



ASH conferences, 1971-1990

Other organisations" correspondence, 1978-1990





S SURVEYS, 1972-1990


ASH press releases

ASH leaflets, reports and publications

Leaflets, reports, publications of other organisations

"Chronological listing of certain tobacco industry documents"





David Pollock, 1976-1985

David Simpson, 1979-1994

Amanda Sandford, 1980-1995

Acquisition note

Action on Smoking and Health deposited its archive with the Wellcome Library in 1991 and has subsequently transferred regular accruals to the collection.

Biographical note

ASH serves to educate the public about the dangers of smoking, to support cessation campaigns - including an annual No Smoking Day - and to campaign for legislation limiting the marketing of tobacco products. Since its foundation in 1971, it has been active in publicising the dangers of passive smoking, worked to discourage smoking by children and campaigned against tobacco marketing in the developing countries.

A detailed outline of the organisation's development and the historical context follows:

1939 First major paper suggesting link between smoking and cancer published in Germany by FH Muller

1951 First large epidemiological study of link between smoking and cancer, Richard Doll and Austin Bradford Hill

1958 First health authority smoking withdrawal clinic established, Salford

1962 RCP report "Smoking and Health" recommending restrictions on sale of cigarettes and smoking in public places, increased taxation

Tobacco Advisory Committee adopts new voluntary code of practice for cigarette advertising

1964 US Surgeon General's report "Smoking and Health"

Doll and Hill report: "Mortality in relation to smoking: ten years' observation in British doctors", comparing lung cancer incidence for continuing and ceased smokers

1965 Cigarette advertising on television banned under powers of 1964 Television Act

1967 First World Conference on Smoking and Health, New York

Kenneth Robinson, Minister of Health, announces intention to limit cigarette advertising. Action never taken

1969 Health Education Council's first anti-smoking campaign

1970 Charles Fletcher and Daniel Horn prepare report for Director-General of WHO, "The Limitation of Smoking". WHO banned smoking at meetings, and strongly affirmed tobacco's health hazards

1971 Second RCP report "Smoking and Health Now"

ASH established under auspices of RCP, President Lord Rosenheim, Chairman Charles Fletcher, Honorary Secretary Keith Ball, Director John Dunwoody

Voluntary agreement between tobacco industry and government to carry health warnings on cigarette packs and adverts

Limits on smoking on London Transport

Second World Congress on Smoking and Health, London, sponsored by Health Education Council

1972 Further voluntary limitations on tobacco advertising

1973 ASH Scotland, Northern Ireland ASH established

ASH "Butt of the Month" award for cigarette adverts

Withdrawal of part-substitute for tobacco after pressure by ASH

1974 Second edition of tar tables divides cigarettes into high, middle and low categories

Attendance at Rothmans shareholders meeting to ask question. ASH introduces policy of attending shareholder meetings

ASH report on smoking cessation clinics calls for increased support

1975 Independent Sub-Committee on Smoking and Health first report on tobacco substitutes and additives

ASA stricter code on cigarette advertising

1976 ASH Wales established

Robert Kilroy-Silk introduced Private Member's Bill to control tobacco substitutes and additives

Inaugural meeting of ASH All-Party Parliamentary Group

BBC "Stop smoking with Nationwide" campaign

"Death in the West" documentary broadcast on Thames TV, leads to an out-of-court settlement with Philip Morris in 1979, who acquired all reels of the film

1977 HEC TV campaign on smoking by women and rights of non-smokers

ASH evidence to Royal Commission on the National Health Service suggesting "health levy" on tobacco

Marketing of "safer" cigarettes containing tobacco substitutes; withdrawn after protests from ASH

Third RCP report "Smoking or Health"

1978 Independent Broadcasting Authority publishes Code of Advertising Standards banning cigarette advertising on radio

Sir George Young tables an Early Day Motion to ban tobacco advertising

State Express sports sponsorship scheme leads to debate in media and Parliament on tobacco sponsorship of the sports

Discussion in BMJ on hazards of passive smoking

1979 Laurie Pavitt presents a bill, supported by ASH, to ban tobacco advertising

"ASH Wednesday" campaign to promote smoke-free offices and public places

WHO report "Controlling the Smoking Epidemic"

1979 David Simpson becomes Director of ASH

Coronary Prevention Group established, aims include reduction in smoking

1980 Concern over carbon monoxide levels in cigarettes

Voluntary agreement between tobacco industry and government covering advertising and health warnings

1981 ASH 10th anniversary conference

"The Ladykillers: Why smoking is a feminist issue" by Bobbie Jacobson, former Deputy Director of ASH

TUC anti-smoking campaign

ASH guide for health practitioners published

1982 Government announces new voluntary agreements on advertising and sponsorship

ASH guide for local authorities on introducing a smoking policy

Group of Conservative MPs working with tobacco industry fail to have government grant to ASH withdrawn

BMA calls for total ban on tobacco advertising

Health Promotion Research Trust established with tobacco industry funds to provide grants for a wide-range of health topics, excluding tobacco-related ones

Report after Goodge Street station fire calls for total smoking ban on Tube

1983 "The Scottish Epidemic" published by Scottish ASH

Grampian ASH established

Independent Scientific Committee on Smoking and Health third report recommends progressive reductions in tar levels

Forth RCP report "Health or Smoking?" Highlights dangers of passive smoking

1984 National No-Smoking Day launched for second Wednesday of March every year

ASH publishes survey of smoking policies on airlines and in local and county councils

"The Smoke Ring" published, exposing power of tobacco companies

London Transport Passenger Committee and the "Evening Standard" launch campaign for smoke-free London Transport

ASH guide to smoke-free hotels and guest houses

1984 Smoking banned on Tube after fire at Oxford Circus station

BMA campaign to ban tobacco advertising

"Give Up Smoking" kit for use by GP's launched by ASH and HEC

Roger Sims introduces bill to ban tobacco sponsorship of sport, later defeated

1985 "Project Smoke-Free" launched in the North-West

IBA rejects advertising of smokeless tobacco products

Tobacco advertising: what you can do published by ASH

"The Big Kill" series of booklets published listing regional mortality rates from tobacco related illness

George Foulkes introduces Private Member's Bill for non-smoking areas in workplaces and public places

BMA denounces Health Promotion Research Trust

1986 HEC announces withholding of grants to researchers funded by Health Promotion Research Trust

Sports Council opposes tobacco sponsorship of sport

New voluntary agreement on tobacco advertising and promotion

Protection of Children (Tobacco) Act makes illegal the sale of any tobacco product to children under 16

BBC suggests schemes to mitigate broadcast of tobacco sponsorship of sports events

39th World Health Assembly passes resolution highlighting passive smoking

"Scramble an ad" competition for schoolchildren

"Great Expectations" published by BMA, studying tobacco industry's marketing policies

Major study published in BMJ links passive smoking and lung cancer

ASH and the Cancer Research Campaign publish survey showing support for workplace smoking restrictions

Joe Ashton introduces Private Member's Bill to create no-smoking areas in pubs

"Women and smoking: a handbook for action" launched by ASH and the HEC

1987 New voluntary agreement between government and tobacco industry over sports sponsorship

ITV ceases transmission of tobacco sponsored sports events

"Look after your heart" campaign launched, includes prevention of smoking

Roger Sims introduces Private Members Bill on smoking in public places, later withdrawn

"Smoking Policies at Work" published by HEA

"Europe Against Cancer" three-year campaign launched by European Commission

"Smokebusters" children's club launched by Grampian ASH

Smoking and tobacco advertising banned on Tube and parts of British Rail after King's Cross station fire

1988 "Quit and Win" competition launched

Skoal bandits and other oral tobacco banned

"Smoking and Me" campaign for children launched by HEA

"Froggatt Report" published by Independent Scientific Committee on Smoking and Health highlights dangers of passive smoking and recommends smoke free workplaces

ASH Awards for achievements towards a tobacco-free society

USA court makes award against tobacco firm to the family of a woman who died from lung cancer

Study in BMJ confirms link between smoking and leukaemia

ASH leaflet on smoking in the workplace

HEA study highlights lack of effective smoking policies in health premises

Smoking Prevention Field Study Support Unit established at Bristol Polytechnic, funded by HEA

1989 David Simpson, Director of ASH, awarded OBE

"Bon Appetit" project launched by ASH, HEA, HPAW for smoke-free restaurants

ASH Workplace Services established to provide advice on workplace smoking policies

Ban on tobacco advertising on television in the EC

Smokebusters conference for children, London

1989 HEA teenage smoking campaign launched

Parents Against Tobacco campaign group launched

QUIT launches telephone advisory service

1990 7th World Conference on Tobacco and Health, Perth, concentrates on the developing world

First test case involving passive smoking at work

ASH Northern Ireland involved in establishment of Teenagers Against Smoking

"Beating the Ban" published by ASH and HEA shows extent of tobacco sports sponsorship on television

Parents Against Tobacco introduce bill restricting sales to children

Ban on sale of oral snuff products overturned

David Pollock appointed as Director of ASH

International Agency on Tobacco and Health established under David Simpson

1991 Smoking banned on all London buses

"Passive smoking: a health hazard" published by ASH, BMA, Cancer Research Campaign

"The Health of the Nation" green paper published. Includes proposals to reduce smoking

"Eat, Drink and Sleep Free" ASH guide to smoke-free hotels, restaurants and pubs

Doctors for Tobacco Law established to call for stricter tobacco legislation

ASH and Institute of Environmental Health Officers publish guide to taking action on passive smoking

"Ending an epidemic - a manifesto for tobacco control", response to green paper published by ASH

Smokebusters Wales (Mygu Mwg Cymru) launched

Tobacco industry starts legal proceedings against new size of health warnings on packs

Related material

In the Wellcome Library: other archival collections of related interest are listed in Sources Leaflet 19: "Alcohol, Drugs and Tobacco", which is available in the Library and on its website. Full catalogues of these and other collections listed in the Sources Leaflets are available in the Library.

Archived website

This organisation's website has been archived as part of the work of the UK Web Archiving Consortium (UKWAC) and can be consulted here:

Copyright note

Transferred to Wellcome.

Terms of use

This collection has been partially catalogued and the catalogued part is available to library members. Some items have access restrictions which are explained in the item-level catalogue records. Requests to view uncatalogued material are considered on a case by case basis. Please contact for more details.

Appraisal note

There was no distinction apparent between the materials in the three accessions, so they were catalogued as one unit. Published papers, leaflets, posters and booklets are to be found in files throughout the archive, but section T consists of publications which were filed together, apparently transferred from the ASH library. During the course of cataloguing, duplicate items, and those of judged to be of little historical value were weeded from the collection, and some published material transferred to the Modern Medicine Department of the WIHM Library. Weeded files included a large quantity of letters from the public with general queries about smoking, as many such letters are to be found in specific issue files. Letters from the public to the Project Officer about workplace smoking were selectively weeded.

Accruals note

The following is an interim description of material that has been acquired since this collection was catalogued. This description may change when cataloguing takes place in future:

Accession 1729: 1 digital file, received 2010. Digital newsletters, ASH Daily News and ASH News and Events Bulletin newsletters received from 1 July 2009 onwards.

Accession 1981: 2 boxes received 2013, consisting of: AGM, Board of Management and Advisory Council minutes and papers, 1990-2005.

Accession 2609: 114 boxes received February 2021. Includes grey literature and published material on subjects relevant to smoking and health, campaign records from ASH, tobacco advertising, press and publicity, and other records relating to the activities and work of the organisation.

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