News & Comment

Smokers light up for freedom

Wed 27th June, 2012

Forest last night hosted a ‘Freedom Dinner’ to mark the fifth anniversary of the smoking ban in England.

The event also highlighted what Forest calls a “growing disenchantment with excessive regulation” in tobacco control.

Former head of the British army General Sir Mike Jackson was one of three speakers at the event which took place at Boisdale of Canary Wharf in London.
Sir Mike, who commanded UN forces in Kosovo and peacekeeping missions in Bosnia, is a keen cigar smoker.

Other speakers were Claire Fox, director of the Institute of Ideas, and writer, journalist and broadcaster James Delingpole.

The event began with a drinks reception on the smoking terrace overlooking the fountains of Cabot Square in London’s Canary Wharf. Guests then sat down to a three-course meal, after dinner speeches and live music.

Simon Clark, director of Forest, said: “The smoking ban has been a disaster for thousands of pubs and clubs, many of which have been forced to close as a direct result of the ban.

“Instead of learning a painful lesson about the effects of excessive regulation, the government has chosen to ban the display of tobacco in shops and is now considering plans to put tobacco in standard packs, regardless of the damage it will do to retailers who will almost certainly lose out to counterfeiters and criminal gangs selling illicit cigarettes.

“The Freedom Dinner was an opportunity to demonstrate that there is a demand for comfortable smoking rooms in pubs and bars, and that many adults are sick and tired of being harassed by government and the tobacco control industry."

See also: "What a night!" (Taking Liberties), I rebel: therefore we exist (Dick Puddlecote),For liberty and free choice (Tea and Cigarettes), A smoke to liberty (Spectator)

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