The UK smokers’ group Forest is today marking its 35th anniversary with a special smoker-friendly party in London.
Two hundred guests are expected to attend the event, Forest@35, including several members of parliament.
The event, at Boisdale of Belgravia, will be attended by long-standing supporters, among them Trevor Baylis OBE, inventor of the clockwork radio, and musician and singer-songwriter Joe Jackson (‘It’s Different For Girls’, ‘Is She Really Going Out With Him?’).
“We’re delighted to reach this milestone,” said Forest’s director, Simon Clark.
“The war on tobacco has been going on for a long time now. We accept that society has changed and smokers are now in a minority but that doesn’t mean they shouldn’t have any rights or representation.
“The recent call for a ban on smoking in parks and squares was a step too far. Tobacco is a legal product and adults must be allowed to smoke somewhere without finger-wagging or worse.
“If politicians and campaigners don’t want adults smoking in front of children they should review the smoking ban and give proprietors the option of installing well-ventilated smoking rooms in pubs and bars.
“The freedom to smoke is not a human right but the state shouldn’t force people to quit.
“Unfortunately recent legislation, including the smoking ban and plain packaging, is designed to denormalise and stigmatise the consumer in the hope they’ll give up.”
The evening will feature also the launch of a new campaign, Action on Consumer Choice, which will cover food, drink and smokeless tobacco including e-cigarettes.
“Since Forest was founded in 1979 Britain has changed from a benign nanny state to a censorious bully state that demands people change their lifestyle, whether it be eating, drinking or smoking,” Clark said.
“The attempt to over-regulate e-cigarettes suggests the battle is not about health, it’s about control.
“Forest’s role is to defend freedom of choice and promote personal responsibility. We’ll continue to do that in the knowledge there are millions of people who share and support our views.”