Posted in Business thoughts & my marketing services, Health & life style, opinion on January 18th, 2018 by John Coxon



Alcohol & Nicotine, in tobacco ,are two potentially harmful, highly addictive substances  & let’s be honest, still the drug of choice of the many, are readily available to buy over  the counter on the high street.  A predatory government, hypocritically I’d say, on the one hand leads health incentives, for example, to help people quit smoking,  yet annually increase taxation on both items, which has very little impact on sales. The Treasury takes, at present, 80% of the cost of cigarettes & the revenue from that taxation rakes in 13 billion a year for the government – the annual cost to the NHS (National Health Service ) in the treatment of smoking related disease is between £ 3 & £6 billion.

Alcohol revenue is also a nice little government earner and generates over twice as much tax revenue as it costs the country in health, policing, crime and welfare expenditure. Successive governments in all budgets  have always opted to increase the price of cigarettes by a relatively small amount annually. Duplicity & vested interest is at work here, especially with regard to  smokers, capitalising on the country’s two greatest addictions while its NHS drives an ongoing “help you quit” campaign & Police try to tackle drinking through advertising campaigns aimed at drink driving & the even bigger problem, for them , drink related violence &  anti-social behaviour.

Drinking responsibly & in moderation is relatively non- harmful but excessive drinking & alcohol dependency does immense harm to you physically , affects your family & fiends & may harm them emotionally or even physically. It may lead to physical violent assaults, domestic abuse & worse. Yet there are far fewer drink related deaths than there are from smoking. Smoking essentially has become anti-social but drinking not, although of course alcohol elated violence is an ongoing problem with a young people binge drinking at weekends culture here.

In 2015, there were 8,758 alcohol-related deaths in the UK, a small increase since 2014 (8,697) and 2013 (8,416). 65% of alcohol related deaths in 2015 were male. The 2015 age-standardised rate of 14.2 alcohol-related deaths per 100,000 people is lower than the peak level in 2008 (15.8 deaths per 100,000 people). In terms of untold harm alcohol is far worse than tobacco  & yet never in the nation’s history has there been a move to urge people to abstain from its consumption altogether unlike smoking?


Measures to discourage the latter in the last few years include a law banning the display of cigarettes ( now concealed behind cupboard sliding  doors,  packets.  This added to  a new law making it illegal to smoke in all enclosed work places in England, which came into force on 1 July 2007 as a consequence of the Health Act 2006.

Since last year , 2017 ,the law states that all cigarette packs must contain at least 20 cigarettes to make sure they are big enough for health warnings to cover 65% of the front and back, with the brand name restricted to a standard size, font and colour. (Cigarettes therefore are no longer sold in tens ) Up and coming will be a ban on menthol cigarettes by 2020. ( There is no evidence suggesting that the highly graphic health warning images on packs have had any impact on numbers of smokers )


Smoking is a leading cause of preventable death in the UK. In 2014, almost 80,000 deaths were attributable to smoking in England. Estimates from the governments of the devolved countries suggest that smoking is responsible for around 2,300 deaths per year in Northern Ireland, 13,500 deaths per year in Scotland and 5,500 deaths in Wales. Exposure to second-hand smoke (passive smoking) can lead to a range of diseases, many of which are fatal, with children especially vulnerable to the effects of passive smoking.

In 2016 there were 7,327 alcohol-specific deaths in the UK, an age-standardised rate of 11.7 deaths per 100,000 population. For the UK, the 2016 alcohol-specific deaths rate continues to remain unchanged since 2013, but is still higher than that observed 15 years ago. Since 2001 rates of alcohol-specific deaths among males have been an average of 55% higher than those observed among females. For both sexes, rates of alcohol-specific deaths were highest among those aged 55 to 64 years in 2016. Scotland remains the constituent country with the highest rate of alcohol-specific deaths in 2016; yet Scotland has also seen the largest decrease in its rates since they peaked in the early 2000 s. In England, and for both sexes, alcohol-specific death rates in 2016 were significantly higher in the most deprived local areas when compared with least deprived local areas.

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Losing My Religion!

Posted in opinion on November 25th, 2016 by John Coxon


I do not have a religion as such, I am so much more family of man kind of person. This  if having a “religion”  means that I am slave to received values , ancient dogmas and scriptures, essentially folk wisdom disguised as something more profound , and therefore I must believe in a spiritual divinity, an all seeing God and the prospect of an after-life, some sort of eternal paradise, invented by man, to ensure a complicit public , where, that script goes, if I had led a virtuous life, only then  would I be welcomed into heaven , with the self righteous and enjoy eternal life !

Those kind of thoughts appear to me to be absurd now and have thought that since I was a child, growing in my own country, and had experienced a kind of brain washing within its schools for the very young where Christian assembly, at the start of each day, was mandatory, and the law demanded that Christianity was the only subject all schools had to have on the curriculum.

If we are in hospital here, we have to fill in a form stating our religion,  just in case it all goes terribly wrong and we die , and so many , who actually never attended any church regularly, write in “Church of England”, still the official state religion as they loosely assign themselves to the values of that faith. Somewhere in my stuff from my distant past is a certificate I was awarded, without my knowing  as I was aged one, by my birth mother who was a non-conformist practising Baptist Christian  and without my consent but with good intent ,  had me signed up to that religion at what was my baptism or Christening.

Don’t get me wrong, I have faith and eternal optimism and think of myself as a member of the world family, irrespective of race, colour, belief, language or any other of those barriers which sadly divide us when we have so much more in common  that unites us and we should respect an honour .

Scroll forward to my late teens, significant people I met along the way that for example gave me the books of a writer, Alan Watts, an American author, who introduced me to Zen Buddhism with ideas that matched my own but which also challenged all the conventions in terms of  ideas and how to act in the most profound way. As I read more I entered  the world of teaching  and found myself with the responsibility of teaching vulnerable kids with huge learning problems about the world’s major faiths and through the research I had to do to deliver that, learned respect  for all those faiths  but, in that time, without in any way trying to influence or direct those kids, myself  found that the one major world faith that does not have a God, was home for me and that was Buddhism. It was as if Siddhartha, a real person, who left his wealthy isolated home , a former prince,  went on a journey over some twenty years to try to discover the source of human suffering , looking at all major faiths and , at the end of his journey, sat down exhausted under a tree , and had that moment of enlightenment where he realised that human desire was the basis of all suffering.


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