I got up on Sunday still feeling the mild after-effects of several bottles of Belgian beer and contemplating with glee the first bacon sandwich of the day. Imagine my surprise to find that those running Ash are teetotal, vegetarian control freaks who go to bed early, and that this scurrilous accusation had been made by those champions of the civil rights of tobacco companies, Forest ("Great wheeze, Marjorie", 16 November). The tobacco industry is uniquely harmful and has spun a web of deceit around the horrors of its product. I have never felt any conflict between a tolerant outlook, pleasure in food and drink and a desire to see the tobacco industry in retreat. Forest has a cheek to claim to be a smokers' rights body. Most smokers (69 per cent) want to give up and many are profoundly unhappy about the hold that nicotine addiction has over them. When Forest starts promoting the Quitline number (0800 002200) and campaigning for better NHS support for smokers trying to stop then they would really be doing something useful. In fact, they are over 90 per cent funded by the tobacco industry and their campaigning agenda reflects this rather than the real interests of smokers.

Clive Bates

Director, Ash