Smokers’ lobby group Forest tonight hosts a ‘Freedom Dinner’ to mark the fifth anniversary of the smoking ban in England [July 1st].
The event will also highlight what Forest calls a “growing disenchantment with excessive regulation” in tobacco control.
Former head of the British army General Sir Mike Jackson is one of three speakers at tonight’s event. Sir Mike, who commanded UN forces in Kosovo and peacekeeping missions in Bosnia, is a keen cigar smoker.
Other speakers are Claire Fox, director of the Institute of Ideas, and writer, journalist and broadcaster James Delingpole.
The event begins with a drinks reception on the smoking terrace overlooking the fountains of Cabot Square in London’s Canary Wharf. Guests will then sit 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 is 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.”
Forest was founded in 1979 by former Battle of Britain fighter pilot Sir Christopher Foxley-Norris. Supporters include artist David Hockney, Oscar-winning screenwriter Sir Ronald Harwood, musician Joe Jackson and inventor Trevor Baylis.
The Freedom Dinner, Tuesday 26th June 2012
Boisdale of Canary Wharf, Cabot Square, London E14 4QT
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