The Royal College of Physicians, supported by the Royal College of Paediatrics and Child Health (RCPCH), has called for a ban on smoking in ALL cars, irrespective of whether children are present, plus a raft of other anti-tobacco measures.
The story appears in many of today's newspapers, several of which carry quotes from Forest. We are also quoted by BBC News (online) and the Press Association. Today I will be doing several interviews for BBC local radio stations and ITN - the latter in Regent's Park. (What is it with parks this week?!)
The full Forest response, issued yesterday, reads:
NEWS RELEASE 0001 Wednesday March 24, 2010
FOREST ATTACKS CALL FOR BAN ON SMOKING IN CARS AND OTHER ANTI-TOBACCO MEASURES
The smokers' lobby group Forest has criticised a report by the Royal College of Physicians that calls for a ban on smoking in cars and other places where children congregate, including parks and swimming pools.
Simon Clark, director of Forest, said: "If you ban smoking in cars, which is a private space, it's a small step to banning smoking in the home. Both measures are unacceptable and unenforceable.
"Smoking in outdoor areas poses little or no threat to anyone's health. Banning smoking in parks and other areas where children congregate would be a gross over-reaction.
"We wouldn't encourage people to smoke around children but adults should be allowed to use their common sense and act accordingly. We don't need laws to regulate every aspect of our behaviour.
"These proposals go way beyond what is acceptable in a free society.
"We urge smokers to be considerate towards those around them, especially children, but changing people's behaviour should be achieved by education and encouragement not by legislation and enforcement."
The RCP report claims that passive smoking in the home is a major hazard to the health of millions of children in the UK who live with smokers.
Clark said: "Smokers should err on the side of caution and not smoke around small children in an enclosed space, but to say that the health of millions of children who live with smokers is at serious risk is, we believe, a huge exaggeration.
"If smoking in the home does represent such an enormous risk to children, why can't adults be given the choice of well-ventilated smoking rooms in pubs and private clubs?
“Unfortunately the anti-smoking industry isn't interested in compromise. It just wants to bully smokers until they quit."
Forest is quoted in the following reports:
Ban smoking in all vehicles, doctors demand (BBC News)
Smoking would be banned in all cars, parks and play areas under new proposals (Daily Telegraph)
Smoking in cars should be banned, say doctors (Independent)
Effects of passive smoking on the young costing NHS £23.3m a year (The Times)
Ban smoking in cars to save children, say doctors (Daily Mail)
Doctors demand ban on smoking in cars (Scotsman)
Asthma risk to children prompts call for smoking ban in cars (The Herald)
The Times has a letter from the president of the RCP and others calling for government to "ban smoking in cars to save young lives" HERE.
The Independent has a leading article opposing a ban on smoking in parks and cars. See HERE.
Scotland: 'No plans' to ban smoking in cars (BBC News)
15:15 ... In the next few minutes I am doing an interview for BBC Radio Foyle in Northern Ireland. To say I'm beginning to flag is an understatement. I went to bed at one o'clock last night and got up at 4.30. It's been a long day already.
The first interview of the day was with BBC Radio Solent. I've rather lost track now but I did at least one other local station before moving on to the Five Live phone-in with Nicky Campbell.
I then spoke to Jon Gaunt on SunTalk, and followed that by talking Manx Radio on the Isle of Man.
I was booked to appear on the BBC News Channel at 10.50 but we had to abandon that plan when the car they sent to take me to the Millbank studios in Westminster got caught in such heavy traffic that it took us 30 minutes to move 800 yards. (In hindsight it would have been quicker to walk.)
We couldn't reschedule because after midday all they wanted to talk about was the Budget, and I had other appointments - including the Jeremy Vine Show on Radio 2.
This time I went head-to-head with Professor John Britton of the RCP. I was hoping for a bit of a scrap but I don't think the professor enjoys confrontation.
From Broadcasting House a cab took me to Gray's Inn Road, home of ITN, where I did two interviews, one for ITV News, the second for Channel 4 News.
The first interview was conducted in car - a Porsche, to be exact - with the camera poking in through the window. I was asked to drape my arm over the steering wheel and look, well, nonchalant. I'll let you be the judge of that.