Tonight in Brussels: burger, a beer and a smoke
Tuesday, July 11, 2017 at 9:49
Simon Clark

Currently en route to Brussels.

This evening Forest EU is hosting 'Why do smokers smoke?' featuring a short talk by Dr Neil McKeganey, director of the Centre for Substance Use Research and lead author of The Pleasure of Smoking: The Views of Confirmed Smokers.

For years we've been told that launching Forest in Brussels would be an extremely hard sell and it would be very difficult to attract people to the type of events we organise in London.

It's early days but the launch party on May 31 (World No Tobacco Day) didn't go too badly – 150 registered guests with over a hundred attending on the night.

Tonight's event was planned with the modest ambition of attracting 20 or so people to an upmarket burger restaurant close to the European Parliament.

Be Burger has an annexe (with a part retractable roof) that can be used for private events. Beyond that it also has a comfortable smoking area. Perfect!

This time last week 100 people had registered and we had to close the link to the booking site because the capacity of the annexe - with all guests seated - is 54!

I'm not sure whether it was the prospect of Neil's talk or the promise of a 'burger and a beer' – possibly both – that generated so much interest, but I'm delighted.

Leaving aside the fact that we're determined to promote The Pleasure of Smoking report as widely as possible (you wouldn't believe the shanigans that have gone on behind the scenes – one day I may tell the full story), it's great to know there's a market for Forest events in Brussels, albeit on a relatively small scale.

Update: From today's Politico Pro Health Care newsletter:

Sin city: And for those who want to end the day letting their vices take over, the smokers’ rights campaign group Forest EU will host Dr Neil McKeganey, director of the Centre for Substance Use Research, at the Be Burger restaurant tonight to discuss why smokers smoke. His presentation will be accompanied by a complementary burger and beer for those who have registered, and smoking will be allowed on the terrace.

PS. Vaping allowed too.

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