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Good morning, Britain

Currently in London where I stayed overnight ahead of an appearance on Good Morning Britain this morning.

I was asked to discuss a call by the Chartered Institute for Environmental Health for a ban on smoking anywhere where children "play and learn".

According to their press release the CIEH wants to ban smoking in children's play areas and then extend the ban to public parks, zoos and themes parks.

(Note: I'm no longer going to use the words "voluntary ban". A ban is a ban, full stop. That's the intention so let's call a spade a spade.)

I was alerted to the story – which was embargoed until midnight last night – on Friday.

Good Morning Britain wanted Forest to go head-to-head with Anne Godfrey, chief executive of the CIEH. The Guardian also invited us to respond.

I thought it might be quite a big story so I spent part of Saturday writing and distributing a press release (No smoking zones "unwarranted" and "Orwellian").

Very few journalists seemed interested so I wasn't surprised there was so little coverage this morning. Apart from GMB, the sum total to date seems to be the Guardian report and a tiny item in the Sun that includes a single word from Forest ("Orwellian").

I did however enjoy my visit to the ITV studios in London because I met Strictly contestant and new national treasure Judge Rinder.

We arrived at the same time and had a very brief chat. What a charming, modest fellow.

Curiously, Anne Godfrey of the CIEH had been replaced by Vicki, the "multi-award winning blogger/ vlogger and filmmaker" who runs the online magazine Honest Mum®.

No, I've never heard of it either but Vicki is a mother and not short of an opinion or two so they'd roped her in to support the CIEH's call for a ban on smoking in children's play areas.

In the half hour we were waiting to go on she tweeted, took selfies and recorded a series of 10-second videos.

She was fun so I couldn't really get cross with her, even when we were on air and on opposite sides of the debate.

In fact, I owe Piers Morgan a drink because he seemed to take an even stronger line on the issue than I did! If I can get hold of a clip I'll post it here later.

Meanwhile, still no sign of the CIEH. One BBC local radio station told me they'd been trying to get hold of a spokesman this morning without success which is bizarre because this is their story!

Update: The Sun has this report online – Campaigners fume at ‘Orwellian’ demands to ban smoking in parks and near playgrounds.

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Reader Comments (2)

Pass the sick bag......

Monday, September 26, 2016 at 15:50 | Unregistered Commenterdavid

Smoking bans in outdoor places are draconian overreach. There is no risk from second hand smoke outdoors (actually none indoors either). The goal isn't improved health but rather the denormalization of smoking which results in persecution of smokers. Reject outdoor smoking bans.

Monday, September 26, 2016 at 23:25 | Unregistered CommenterVinny Gracchus

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