Bekende Britten bekennen kleur
Rokers in Engeland gaan terugvechten tegen de alsmaar toenemende druk van anti-rokersorganisaties om roken o.a. in de horeca te verbieden.
In een open brief aan de belangrijke krant The Times, spreken beroemdheden als Bob Geldof, pop mogul Simon Cowell, artiest David Hockney, TV presentator Chris Tarrant, theaterschrijver Ronald Harwood, uitgever Felix Dennis, zangeres Lisa Stansfield, schrijver Simon Gray, musicus Joe Jackson en restaurateur Antony Worrall Thompson zich uit tegen de anti-rokenlobby.
Pro-choice lobby comes out fighting:
Entrepreneurs, playwrights, artists and others sign letter to The Times …
The smokers’ lobby group FOREST has welcomed a letter signed by some of Britain’s leading artists and entrepreneurs who are strongly opposed to a ban on smoking in all public places.
The letter, which appears in today’s Times (25 September), argues that, “To smoke, to associate with smokers, or to operate a venue in which smoking is allowed should all be matters for individual choice. Smoking is legal, and in pubs and clubs it’s fanatical smoke-haters who are the minority.”
Signatories include Bob Geldof, pop mogul Simon Cowell, artist David Hockney, TV presenter Chris Tarrant, playwright Ronald Harwood, publisher Felix Dennis, singer Lisa Stansfield, writer Simon Gray, musician Joe Jackson and restaurateur Antony Worrall Thompson.
Jackson, a member of FOREST’s Supporters Council, said, “If you’re going to make smoking illegal, make it illegal.
Otherwise we have a right to smoke and have social places where we can smoke.”
Antony Worrall Thompson, patron of FOREST, said, “Restaurants should have smoking and no-smoking areas and there should be certain levels of ventilation, extraction and air movement, but there is no justification for a total ban.”
Simon Clark, director of FOREST, said, “We are grateful that so many well-known people have chosen to speak out.
It shows how strongly people feel about this issue and we hope others will be encouraged to join them.”
Clark, who this week had a 30-minute meeting with Health Secretary John Reid, added, “We urge the government not to be bullied by the antics of the anti-smoking lobby which has wildly misrepresented the dangers of passive smoking and is out of touch with the silent majority who want choice not a total ban.”
Interview with Joe Jackson:
The Times letter in full:
Supporters put case for smoking
From Mr Joe Jackson and others
Sir, We would like to raise our voices against calls to ban smoking in pubs, clubs and restaurants (report, September 24). Claims that the US hospitality industry is doing better since the New York ban was introduced are based on the recovery of the whole city economy since 9/11, and by including everything from McDonald’s to liquor stores. But in bars and clubs the ban is widely hated.
According to a new independent survey of its first year, it has also cost 2,650 jobs, $50 million in earnings and $71.5 million to related businesses. Claims that the Irish ban is a success after six months are equally dubious, considering that anyone defying it faces fines of €3,000 or three months in prison.
Many people believe that the dangers of smoking and passive smoking are currently being exaggerated to the point of hysteria. The risks of passive smoke have never been proven beyond meaningless levels in a small minority of studies; wildly varying “estimates” of hundreds or thousands of deaths are based not on body counts but statistical projections.
To smoke, to associate with smokers, or to operate a venue in which smoking is allowed should all be matters for individual choice, not state coercion. Smoking is legal, and in pubs and clubs it’s fanatical smoke-haters who are the minority. Nevertheless the hospitality industry is making great progress in voluntarily providing better air-cleaning systems and more choice.
We call on both government and the media to de-escalate the tension on this issue and let common sense and the free market decide the future of British social life.
ANTONY WORRALL THOMPSON