Wereldberoemde scenarioschrijver in actie tegen rookverbod

Ronald Harwood, Oscar winnaar en scenarioschrijver voor veel films van Roman Polanski, spreekt zich in een interview voor onze Engelse zusterorganisatie Forest fel uit tegen de op handen zijnde rookverboden in Engeland. Al eerder trok de schrijver in een TV-interview fel van leer tegen de anti-rokenkrachten in zijn land.


“I think the whole passive smoking argument is rubbish. It’s been exaggerated because without passive smoking the anti-smoking lobby wouldn’t have a case.”


“It’s extraordinary that the Government has recently extended the drinking hours and closed down on smoking. I’ve yet to hear of anyone who has killed another human being under the influence of a cigarette. It’s just incredible to me.”


SMOKERS ARE BEING “PERSECUTED”, SAYS OSCAR-WINNING PLAYWRIGHT

“Let’s all turn up in Trafalgar Square and have a huge smoke-a-thon”


Oscar-winning playwright Ronald Harwood has condemned proposals for a ban on smoking in all public places in England and Wales.


Harwood, who won an Oscar for Best Adapted Screenplay for ‘The Pianist’, Roman Polanski’s film about the Holocaust, and also wrote the screenplay for Polanski’s film ‘Oliver Twist (2005), said: “One of the main aims of a social democratic government is to protect minorities. Tobacco is not an illegal substance yet they are persecuting a minority. It’s a disgrace.”


Interviewed by Forest Online (www.forestonline.org), Harwood says he is not looking forward to a smoking ban in restaurants:


“Separate rooms for smokers is a fair solution if people find it so offensive. A total ban on smoking in restaurants is going to be tough because we go out a lot. I don’t mind as long as they give us a smoking room. I’ll serve myself if they want me to. But if they ban smoking completely that would be disgraceful.”


A 50-a-day smoker, Harwood said he isn’t worried about his health. “I never read medical articles. They are a kind of obsession. You are going to die of something. Besides, I’ve had a very good time and if I drop off the perch tomorrow it’s fine.”


About second-hand smoke he says: “I think the whole passive smoking argument is rubbish. It’s been exaggerated because without passive smoking the anti-smoking lobby wouldn’t have a case.


“It’s extraordinary that the Government has recently extended the drinking hours and closed down on smoking. I’ve yet to hear of anyone who has killed another human being under the influence of a cigarette. It’s just incredible to me.”


Harwood says New York is the worst place for smokers. “I can smoke in my hotel suite but nowhere else. In the winter it’s a nightmare! I was there for a play of mine two or three years ago and it was vicious weather. We had to stand outside and smoke because I can’t get through rehearsals without a cigarette. So it’s pretty terrible in New York.


“Los Angeles is fine because you can eat outside,” he said. “It’s lovely weather. I don’t go to Canada anymore. I can’t bear it.” As for Ireland: “I haven’t been to Ireland lately. And I don’t think I will.”


Filming ‘Oliver Twist’ in Prague was a blissful experience, said Harwood. “It was wonderful. They don’t smoke between courses in restaurants, they smoke between mouthfuls.”


A former president of both English and International PEN, the literary and human rights organisation, Harwood is upset that smokers haven’t protested more about their rights being eroded. “When I see a ‘Thank you for not smoking sign’ in restaurants, I want to carry a sign saying ‘Thank you for not wanting a tip’.


“What annoys me is that smokers have taken it so passively. Let’s all turn up in Trafalgar Square and have a huge smoke-a-thon. That’ll show them.”


Harwood is the latest high profile critic of public smoking bans. Others include artist David Hockney, actor Johnny Depp, musician Joe Jackson, singer Lisa Stansfield, inventor Trevor Baylis and restaurateur Antony Worrall Thompson.


For further comment telephone Marion Finlay on 07952 778297 or 07774 781840


The full interview with Ronald Harwood is published exclusively on Forest Online (www.forestonline.org) on Monday 23 January.


Ronald Harwood’s two new plays – ‘Collaboration’ directed by Peter Hall and ‘An English Tragedy’ directed by Michael Blakemore – are due to open in the West End this year.

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  • "Es ist schwieriger, eine vorgefaßte Meinung zu zertrümmern als ein Atom."
    (Het is moeilijker een vooroordeel aan flarden te schieten dan een atoom.)
    Albert Einstein

  • "Als je alles zou laten dat slecht is voor je gezondheid, dan ging je kapot"
    Anonieme arts

  • "The effects of other people smoking in my presence is so small it doesn't worry me."
    Sir Richard Doll, 2001

  • "Een leugen wordt de waarheid als hij maar vaak genoeg wordt herhaald"
    Joseph Goebbels, Minister van Propaganda, Nazi Duitsland


  • "First they ignore you, then they laugh at you, then they fight you, then you win."
    Mahatma Gandhi

  • "There''s no such thing as perfect air. If there was, God wouldn''t have put bristles in our noses"
    Coun. Bill Clement

  • "Better a smoking freedom than a non-smoking tyranny"
    Antonio Martino, Italiaanse Minister van Defensie

  • "If smoking cigars is not permitted in heaven, I won't go."
    Mark Twain

  • I've alllllllways said that asking smokers "do you want to quit?" and reporting the results of that question, as is, is horribly misleading. It's a TWO part question. After asking if one wants to quit it must be followed up with "Why?" Ask why and the majority of the answers will be "because I'm supposed to" (victims of guilt and propaganda), not "because I want to."
    Audrey Silk, NYCCLASH