At the Sutton Arms pub, in the City of London, the barman, Lawrence Mant, was sceptical of much of the advice contained in Dr Kenneth Calman's 20-point health plan.
'I smoke 40 cigarettes a day, and it's got nothing to do with anybody else. It's my body, I will do what I like,' said Mr Mant, 22, who drinks 12 or 13 pints a day at weekends and maintains his alcohol intake has no adverse consequences.
He also questioned the advice offered on healthy eating. 'They said milk was bad for you, now they say drink lots of it, then it was eggs but now they're all right again.'
His sentiments were shared by a city executive, who declined to be named, as he celebrated his 54th birthday with a lunch of Toulouse sausages, mashed potatoes and a bottle of champagne at Mustards Smithfield Brasserie. Between mouthfuls he said: 'Where is the evidence for this healthy living nonsense? It is all pure speculation. Our forefathers used to eat so-called unhealthy food, they did not suffer from cancer or heart attacks.'
At the Cosy fish and chip shop, Doreen Van-Leeuwen admitted it was her third visit in a week but a weekly lunch as a treat was more normal. 'I won't eat a lot more today. I never eat a lot of meat and I eat lots of fruit,' she said as she settled the bill for her sausage and chips.
At Holmes Place Barbican Health Centre dozens of fitness enthusiasts were spending their lunchbreaks working out. Peter Brock, a merchant banker, on one of his thrice- weekly visits, said: 'This makes me feel mentally and physically healthy. I used to smoke 30 cigarettes a day, but I have cut that down to two or three. I certainly don't have time to get off public transport a stop early and walk, although in my leisure time I will try to walk instead of drive.'
Jackie Streat, an engineer, was using a cycling machine. She regarded suggestions not to drink and drive and to avoid sunburn as commonsense, but added: 'People will do what they want to, whatever the experts say. I have tried everything to make my husband, Simon, eat more healthily and exercise but he does exactly as he wants.'
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