News & Comment

Smokers light up for freedom

Wednesday 27th June 2012, posted by forest

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)



puffing Gilly
Posted on
yes I'm fed up of seeing pubs closed down, boarded up and demolished... not to mention my feet aching after looking for pub with outside seating in London! ...we need a U turn...especially when you consider that in Belgium...the seat of European law making...I had great pleasure in having a smoke inside all bars visited...
there is an epetition that has only 5600 people signed up...woefully small...smokers unite and sign at
Michael J Green
Posted on
I make a weekly trip to Germany and I look forward to my smoke and coffee in the smoking area INSIDE the cafe that I visit. So much for euro equality????
A Harrison
Posted on
Am I suprised by the fact that smoking is allowed in some bars abroad? No. Its just us here is the uk. I expect that the same goes on in Greece & Italy & spain too. But no we must be spoken down to like naughty little children. Why dont the government, put lables on all the drinks in the shops & supermarkets?We are so pathetic in the uk and real laughing stock.
john simpson
Posted on
Well done for staging the freedom dinner, pity you could not get Mr Hockney on board, the more famous people who enjoy tobacco and object to the totalitarian type ban, you can get on board the better. Also it would be interesting to know what happens abroad, is it right the Dutch changed their mind to allow smoking in some bars, for instance?
Other points I would make are (1) more should be made of the effect of pernicous tobacco duty rises on the most hard up Britons who are being forced like children to forego what all could once afford if they chose, or maybe to buy smuggled fags, or to smoke the worst quality cigarettes.
(2) I do think Forest should consider a name change as the name is totally anaemic and barelycatches interest whereas something like Fight For Tobacco Liberty or some such would connect.
The fact is ten to twelve million people in a democracy are being steamrolled and robbed with virtually noone except yourselves, defending their liberty.
Dave ex pat USA
Posted on
You junkies will convince yourselves of anything to poison your bodies.
Ex Smoker Mike
Posted on
I have managed to quit smoking and now just enjoy the occasional puff or two on an electronic cigarette, however, if I ever become like the archetypal ex smoker please shoot me. I shall still continue to support forest and the fight for the right of freedom of choice while showing consideration toward others and the Save Our Pubs campaign. Keep up the good work.
Gordon Mitchell
Posted on
Dave ex pat USA
Posted on Jul 1st, 2012
"You junkies will convince yourselves of anything to poison your bodies. "

? junkies , first why would you be on a website about smoking to make such an unintelligent and idiotic remark . Do you "poison" your body with alcohol on occasion ? I enjoy a cigar now and then but I am treated like an outcast and now they are wanting to or indeed have done in some cases hiding smoking products behind doors and screens . I think I am big enough and ugly enough to make my own decisions .
Liz Owen
Posted on
George Monbiot has scored an own goal on Twitter by publicising (very rudely) this Freedom dinner. I immediately signed up on Forest and shall be signing petitions for smokers. Let's hope many others will do the same. Good old George!
C. Rood
Posted on
I support Forest. Sad when our feerless political leaders can take away our freedom. Why can there not be public places for smokers the same as in Southern Ireland? Did not know Belgium was for us smokers as well. It is time people stood up and refuse to conform to this stupid law........
Smoking is on the pooper
Posted on

I have never heard such stupid propaganda in my life.

Is lung cancer and poisoning others with your radioactive (yes, cigarettes contain polonium - see internal documents from Big Tobacco) crap your idea of "freedom"?
You know that Human Rights to liberty, self-determination, privacy and so forth were designed to liberate people from SLAVERY, TORTURE, ETC... ironic how you smokers abuse these Rights so that you can enslave yourself and torture innocent, non-smoker bystanders who then have to spend forever coughing in the shower and doing laundry to get rid of your smelly, dangerous second-hand smoke.

Smoking is on the pooper... and it's high time you accept this.
Posted on
Smoking is on the pooper.
Please, check out the dictionary. Freedom, means freedom.
( freedom |ˈfrēdəm|
the power or right to act, speak, or think as one wants without hindrance or restraint.)
You seem very quick in judging others, I suppose you are one of them perfect beings. Well good for you. For some reason we are not all the same.
We are not asking you to second hand smoke, we are asking for the right to choose. To have bars, cafes, pubs and restaurants, that we can smoke and you can choose not to go in them.
Today is the cigarets, tomorrow will be the alcohol, the day after the food and then the sex and etc...
There will be that day, when they will ban something that you enjoy. Please don't be so naive.
If we are the worst thing in your live, you have it pretty good.
Kind regards.
Posted on
Yes if we want to smoke that is our privilage and I have enjoyed my cigs. for 60 years.
Let us stand up and be counted why should we be treated like inferiours.

Poopers maybe they are the people who are stuck inside the pubs and clubs while we are having fun and meeting people outside.
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