I received a mail yesterday.
That in itself is not noteworthy as I receive a lot of mail. This one was good news though.
There is an organisation in the UK called FOREST [Freedom Organisation for the Right to Enjoy Smoking Tobacco]. They have been around for quite a while [since 1979 to be precise] and are widely respected and recognised as the voice of the disenfranchised smoker. The mail I received informed me that FOREST have now opened their first non-UK branch here in Ireland – Forest Éireann.
Personally I think their aims are reasonable. In some ways I would consider them to be over generous, but be that as it may.
- debunk some of the myths about smoking (especially so-called "passive smoking")
- counteract the “denormalisation” of smoking
- stop the introduction of further restrictions on smoking in public or private spaces
- lobby politicians to amend (not repeal) public smoking bans and relax excessive regulations on outdoor smoking shelters
- highlight the enormous financial contribution made by smokers to the public purse
- build support among smokers and tolerant non-smokers
- highlight the increasingly intrusive nature of Big Government in the lives of private individuals
To quote John Mallon, Forest Éireann’s spokeman –
The outcome of the smoking ban, now in its sixth year in Ireland, suggests that it has been counter-productive. Smoking rates have increased while one pub a day closes due to the effects of the ban. Meanwhile society is polarised at social occasions due to large numbers of people being forced to go outdoors to smoke.
Our aim is not to overturn smoking bans because we respect the wishes of non-smokers who prefer a smoke free environment. But we would like to see the law amended so that licensees can provide a separate smoking room indoors if there is sufficient demand. We also want the regulations on outdoor smoking shelters relaxed so that people can smoke outside in much greater comfort, and we want politicians in Ireland to stop using tobacco taxation as a form of social engineering.
Tobacco control affects everybody, smoker and non-smoker alike, because it creates a less tolerant society. If like-minded people don’t fight it now a host of other restrictions will surely follow.
I think that is pretty reasonable? I have signed up to show my support.
Why not show your support by sticking a badge on your side [like what I done]?
Ah, go on, go on, go on.