They are using 'junk science' to bully us

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The New York smoking ban is one of the main reasons I've moved back to England. Despite what you might hear from some smoke-haters, it's broadly unpopular, and creating all kinds of problems: bars going out of business, employees being laid off, social tension, crowds of smokers on the streets.

The New York smoking ban is one of the main reasons I've moved back to England. Despite what you might hear from some smoke-haters, it's broadly unpopular, and creating all kinds of problems: bars going out of business, employees being laid off, social tension, crowds of smokers on the streets.

Two years of extensive research have convinced me that this anti-smoking thing is getting way out of hand. We're on the crest of a wave of propaganda which is creating the impression that smoking is uniquely evil. Smoking is just one of many pleasures which carry risks. If you're going to put pictures of diseased lungs on fag packets, you should also put pictures of diseased livers on whisky bottles, and pictures of car accidents on dashboards. Better still: leave us alone!

As for smoking bans in "public places", there are three reasons why they're unjustified. First, pubs and clubs are actually private property. Second, bars don't have to be smoky any more, with the air-cleaning technology available. But most importantly: no danger from "second-hand smoke" has ever been proven. Unlike most journalists, politicians and, regrettably, doctors, I've gone through all of the more than 40 studies. Only a few show any risk, and it's statistically insignificant. There are higher risks from drinking milk, using mouthwash and keeping pet birds. I swear I'm not making this up! People who use this sort of "junk science" to stigmatise smokers and to nag and bully us out of our pleasures should be bloody well ashamed of themselves.

Joe Jackson is a Grammy award-winning musician

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