Well, you're probably all now aware of the government's latest tobacco control strategy paper which includes a raft of proposals including plain packaging, plans to extend the smoking ban to doorways etc etc etc.
The only "good" thing to emerge from the announcement is Health Secretary Andy Burnham's preference for smokefree homes and cars without regulation. The problem is, who can believe that a Labour government would stick to this voluntary code? After all, the party promised it would only introduce a partial ban on smoking in enclosed public places. There was no mention, in its 2005 election manifesto, of the comprehensive ban we are now subjected to.
I've been pretty busy today responding to the government's announcement. Last night's GMTV interview popped up (as a soundbite) on the GMTV news bulletins this morning. This morning I did back-to-back interviews on the Today programme (with John Humphreys) and Five Live Breakfast (with Nicky Campbell).
Between eight and nine I was also interviewed by BBC Radio Leeds, Three Counties Radio and Radio Wales.
I later gave interviews to Sky News Radio, SunTalk Radio and ITV Lunchtime News and in a few minutes I am being interviewed by Al Jazeera. NBC want to speak to me too.
This afternoon, from 4.00-6.00pm, I will be holed up in a small BBC studio in London conducting a series of live and recorded interviews for various local radio stations. Full list:
1600 Coventry and Warwick
1652 Three Counties Luton
Forest has also been widely quoted in today's media. Here are some examples:
Government targets cigarette packaging (Independent/Press Association)
Smoking ban could be extended to cover office doorways (Daily Telegraph)
Ministers aim to halve number of people smoking by 2020 (BBC News)
No smokebling in house or car (The Sun)
Update: the Al Jazeera interview will be broadcast at 3.00pm if you're interested!
DeHavilland, the political monitoring service, reports:
The Government wants to cut the number of people who smoke by half. About 21% of the population smoke now and the lobby group, Forest, is worried by this latest target.
Simon Clark, Forest, told the Today programme, "I think people have the right to choose whether they wish to take up smoking or continue. As long as they're adults they can make an adult decision. When governments start setting targets it's rather dangerous because then the way they can reach those targets is to introduce some very ... draconian legislation."
He said, "It's not good ... for small businesses ... for those local pubs and working men's clubs that have been forced out of business. 52 pubs are closing every single week, not just because of the smoking ban but certainly largely in part, and these types of draconian rules and regulations have been increasingly introduced in an effort to drive down the smoking rates."
He continued, "This latest proposal talks about cracking down on illicit cigarettes and at the same time it talks about increasing tobacco taxation budget by budget."
He said, "We have ... freedom of choice. That seems to have gone out of the window. What we're seeing at the moment is a campaign of denormalisation which I think is creating a very intolerant ... divisive society and I think it's very dangerous that we're going down this route."