Losing the plot

I know, another post about vaping, but some things need to be said. Sorry.

One, the reaction to the FDA regulations on e-cigarettes (which won't come into force for two years) has been hysterical and over-wrought.

Some vapers have even been tweeting that they will forced to go back to smoking. What nonsense.

Thankfully the Consumer Advocates for Smoke-free Alternatives Association (CASAA) slept on the FDA's announcement (as I suggested vapers should) and last night posted a reasoned evaluation (FDA Deeming Regulations: Release and Next Steps) that includes this important comment:

"Vaping as we know it will continue and we are not done by any means. Keep calm."

This echoes what Forest keeps saying in relation to smoking. OK, so we lose menthol cigarettes (in 2020). It's regrettable, obviously, for those who like the flavour of menthol cigarettes, and for those of us who believe in consumer choice I'd go so far as to say it's outrageous.

Likewise the directive to ban packs with fewer than 20 cigarettes and smaller pouches of rolling tobacco. But smoking as we know it will continue and we are not done by any means. So keep calm.

Two, following the FDA announcement on Thursday a number of vapers, including some of the leading advocates, have been 'congratulating' the tobacco industry, albeit in an ironic way.

A typical tweet read:

I'd like to take this opportunity to congratulate the Tobacco Industry for the market it will own in 2yrs.

As a supporter of harm reduction and consumer choice I too am concerned that the FDA regulations will force out of business some of the smaller e-cigarette manufacturers.

But have faith. If there is sufficient demand the market will do its best to meet it.

What annoys me is that many ex-smoking vapers seem to think that if it's a Big Tobacco product it must be rubbish because the tobacco industry doesn't understand what vapers want.

I'd take issue with that. Does anyone really believe, with the money they're spending on the development of 'emerging products', that the tobacco companies aren't conducting research into what smokers and vapers actually want?

How do you think the most successful companies survive? They do it by changing their products in accordance with public demand. Look at Coca-Cola and the range of products they offer.

Three, what the most vociferous vapers have to understand is they are in a minority, a minority whose choices must be recognised and defended, but a minority nonetheless.

And I don't just mean a minority of the population. I mean a minority among vapers.

For them vaping is a hobby. They love the paraphernalia, the gizmos and the camaraderie. I understand that.

H/T, btw, to the person who drew my attention to the fact that vaping is a hobby while smoking is a habit. I can't remember who it was but it's a good point.

It's only half the story though because vaping is a hobby only for a minority of vapers. For others it's primarily a smoking cessation tool and for the rest it's a habit just like smoking.

Furthermore the majority of vapers are dual users not evangelical ex-smokers. They smoke and they vape. Some may be on the path to quitting smoking altogether but most haven't got there yet and they may not want to.

Like it or not a lot of smokers and dual users enjoy smoking and don't want to quit. Hard to imagine if you're an ex-smoking vaper who's seen the light but it's true.

Four, I'm delighted for you if you've chosen to quit tobacco and enjoy vaping as an alternative to smoking. It's wonderful that you are enjoying the 'freedom' from your 'addiction' to smoking and getting pleasure from your electronic gizmo. I get that too.

But the suggestion that vapers should be actively enlisted in the fight against smoking is abhorrent. This isn't a public health issue, it's a private issue.

Enjoy vaping (a habit or hobby I'll defend to the hilt) but unless a smoker asks for advice or information about e-cigarettes leave them alone. It's none of your business if they continue to smoke.

In particular stop the nonsense that you're part of a crusade to save a billion lives. This World Health Organisation figure is a wild estimate of the lives saved if everyone stopped smoking over the next century.

By repeating it you're regurgitating baseless propaganda that is being used to harass smokers throughout the world. Who you do think you are – tobacco control?

Five, it was brought to my attention this week that Conservative MP Anne Main has sponsored an Early Day Motion (EDM) on e-cigarettes. It reads:

That this House agrees with the Royal College of Physicians that it is crucial that e-cigarettes are priced as advantageously as possible in relation to tobacco; believes that the EU Tobacco Products Directive would significantly inhibit the development and use of harm-reduction products by smokers and cost lives; further agrees with Public Health England that e-cigarettes are around 95 per cent less harmful than smoking, and that nearly half the population does not realise that e-cigarettes are much less harmful than smoking; further believes that restricting advertising will have the perverse effect of reducing the rate at which cigarette use is declining; notes that the total cost of smoking to society, including healthcare, social care, lost productivity, litter and fires, was conservatively estimated by Action on Smoking and Health to be around £14 billion per year; and calls on the Government to exclude e-cigarettes and other harm-reduction products from the Tobacco Products Directive.

Main's EDM prompted an interesting discussion on Twitter between vapers who are delighted at this development (they obviously don't know the real worth of EDMs) and others who took umbrage – rightly – at the use of ASH propaganda to further the cause of vaping.

I've commented before about advocates of vaping embracing junk science and other tobacco control propaganda about smoking then complaining bitterly when politicians and public health campaigners use junk science against e-cigarettes.

The hypocrisy is sickening but I know why they do it. This week, when it was pointed out on that the £14 billion estimate "is just bullshit propagated by the likes of ASH", one vaper (a leading advocate of e-cigarettes) responded, matter-of-factly:

"I understand that but will not cut off my nose to spite my face."

In other words, "I'm happy to throw smokers under the bus and endorse any old rubbish about smoking if it helps our cause."

That also explains the refusal by some vapers to condemn further anti-tobacco measures. I hope Forest is never so dumb-witted or unprincipled.

I was going to make a sixth point but I'll leave it there. This post is quite long enough and there's something else I want to write about.

It's about the A Billion Lives documentary. I'll publish it later.


Things are always better in the morning

A week is a long time in politics, and also in public health.

Last Thursday advocates of vaping were celebrating a report by the Royal College of Physicians that found that:

... e-cigarettes are likely to be beneficial to UK public health. Smokers can therefore be reassured and encouraged to use them, and the public can be reassured that e-cigarettes are much safer than smoking.

The online vaping community was delighted, naturally. I wrote about it here but added a word of caution, pointing out that "vapers still face numerous threats and obstacles, just like smokers before them":

Tobacco control campaigners are fickle and the war between opposing camps – one 'pro-vaping', the other 'anti' – could go either way.

Worse, this is a global battle that's unlikely to be settled by what happens in the UK. For example, the imposition of the EU's Tobacco Products Directive which restricts the sale and marketing of e-cigarettes is a few weeks away.

That's going to have a significant impact on the e-cigarette industry yet the UK government has been powerless (or unwilling) to oppose the new regulations.

This week the e-cigarette company Totally Wicked lost its legal challenge to the European Court of Justice which means the EU has been given the green light to ban e-cigarette advertising and there will also be various restrictions on the manufacture, sale and marketing of e-cigs.

On top of that the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) in America has today announced it is to assume regulatory authority over e-cigarettes. According to the Washington Post:

The US government issued a tough set of rules for the e-cigarette industry on Thursday that included banning sales to anyone under 18, requiring package warning labels, and making all products — even those currently on the market — subject to government approval ...

In addition to e-cigs, the FDA said it would be taking regulatory authority over other unregulated tobacco products, including cigars, pipe tobacco and water-pipe tobacco.

The FDA has been regulating cigarettes since Congress granted it oversight of traditional smokes with the 2009 Family Smoking Prevention and Tobacco Control Act.

“Today’s announcement is an important step in the fight for a tobacco-free generation—it will help us catch up with changes in the marketplace, put into place rules that protect our kids and give adults information they need to make informed decisions,” Department of Health and Human Services Secretary Sylvia Mathews Burwell said in a statement.

Fighting 'public health' is a rollercoaster of emotions and as I write vaping advocates are in meltdown.

Some are even trying their hands at 'satire' which neither works nor suits them, if I'm honest (NNA would like to congratulate the tobacco industry).

My advice? Don't throw your toys out of the pram just yet. At the very least sleep on it. Things are always better in the morning.


Battle of the Brands, Tuesday 17th May


Following today's news that the European Court of Justice has ruled that the Tobacco Products Directive is lawful and EU member states can introduce plain packaging and other measures, I have another announcement.

To mark the introduction (subject to a UK legal challenge) of standardised packaging in Britain later this month, Forest and the Tobacco Retailers Alliance will host a special reception with drinks, speeches and special guests at the Churchill War Rooms, King Charles Street, Westminster.

We're calling it Battle of the Brands and it takes place on Tuesday 17th May in the historic Harmsworth Room which is described this:

Steeped in the atmosphere of a wartime bunker, the iconic Harmsworth Room incorporates the 1940s electric generator wall featuring LEDs, switches and dials, creating a stunning backdrop.

Confirmed speakers are Dr Madsen Pirie, president of the Adam Smith Institute; John Noble, director of the British Brands Group; and Suleman Khonat, national spokesman, Tobacco Retailers Alliance.

Places are strictly limited so if you want to join us advance registration is essential. RSVP

For further details click here.


Challenges to Tobacco Products Directive fail

So the European Court of Justice has ruled that the EU's Tobacco Products Directive is lawful.

The BBC has the story here:

Europe's highest court upheld a law that will standardise packaging and ban the advertising of e-cigarettes.

The Court of Justice found the laws "did not go beyond the limits of what is appropriate and necessary".

Click here to read the ECJ press release.

[Update: The Press Association also has a report, with a quote from Forest.]

Elements of the directive were challenged by tobacco manufacturers, an e-cigarette company and even the Polish government, supported by Romania.

The new measures will be implemented across the EU from May 20 although manufacturers and retailers have a year in which to comply.

Consumers will notice larger health warnings. Smaller pouches of RYO tobacco will disappear together with all packs that contain fewer than 20 cigarettes. From 2020 menthol cigarettes will also be prohibited.

E-cigarettes will also be hit with restrictions on tanks and e-liquids and a ban on advertising.

Forest's response reads:

"The Tobacco Products Directive treats adult consumers like children.

"Smokers know the health risks and they have a right to buy and consume tobacco without excessive regulations that are designed to stigmatise both the product and the user and reduce consumer choice."

"The implementation of the Tobacco Products Directive highlights the way the European Union imposes measures on member states with little or no public debate and very little scrutiny by national parliaments.

"Consumer rights have been sacrificed by unelected officials in Brussels supported by a compliant government in Westminster."

Click here.

The TPD also allows individual member states to devise their own packaging rules, hence the introduction (subject to a legal challenge) of plain packaging in the UK.

Later today I'll have news of a special event to mark that very issue. Watch this space.


Signature gathering

Dr Nick Hopkinson, who was on BBC News last week supporting the Royal College of Physicians' report on e-cigarettes, popped up again on Sunday.

This time he was featured in the Observer as the man behind a campaign designed to stop some of London's leading cultural institutions having ties with or accepting corporate membership fees from tobacco companies.

Naturally the campaign includes a rather indignant open letter signed by fellow "health professionals" because if there are two things Hopkinson is good at it's signature gathering and indignant letters.

In February 2013, for example, his employer Imperial College London reported:

Senior doctors across the UK have called for healthcare organisations to sever all links with PR companies lobbying on behalf of the tobacco industry.

Dr Nicholas Hopkinson, Senior Lecturer in Respiratory Medicine at Imperial College London, is chief signatory to the letter published today in The Lancet. He and his colleagues note that organisations such as the Department of Health, the Royal Pharmaceutical Society, and St George's Healthcare NHS Trust have all employed lobbying agencies also used by the tobacco industry.

The letter calls on all health-care organisations to send out a clear message by severing any links they have with public relations companies that work to promote the interests of the tobacco industry. Dr Hopkinson and his co-signatories hope that by bringing this issue into the open the reputational cost of working with tobacco will become too high.

Apart from Hopkinson, signatories included some familiar names including Prof John Moxham, Prof Robert West, Prof Gabriel Scally and Prof Martin McKee.

Three months later, in May 2013, Hopkinson wrote another letter – this time to the Telegraph – about plain packaging:

As health professionals who engage daily with the consequences of smoking, we were dismayed to learn that David Cameron has abandoned plans to include “plain packs” legislation in the Queen’s Speech ...

We urge the Government to act decisively and introduce plain packs legislation without further delay, for the sake of smokers who need every assistance to quit and to protect a further generation from becoming addicted.

Again Hopkinson was the lead signatory. Over 150 health professionals signed it with the names being posted on the Telegraph website.

Moxham, West, Scally and McKee were all present and correct. This time however they were joined by Prof John Britton, Professor John Ashton (Faculty of Public Health) and many more.

In June 2014 no fewer than 800 health professionals signed another letter (to the BMJ this time) calling for the "rapid introdution of regulations on standardised tobacco packaging". I assume Hopkinson was behind it because on October 1, 2014, the list of signatories was posted on his personal blog.

In April 2015 Hopkinson turned his signature gathering skills to a different tobacco-related issue. According to the Independent:

Health experts are demanding an apology from the Foreign Office for the “shameful behaviour” of Philip Barton, the British High Commissioner to Pakistan.

Mr Barton attended a meeting with Pakistani government ministers, where British American Tobacco (Bat) lobbied against plans for larger warnings on cigarette packets. Details of the meeting, which took place in Islamabad last month, have just emerged.

Dr Hopkinson is one of a number of medical experts who have written a letter in the British Medical Journal which states they were “astonished” to learn the British diplomat was at the meeting, in what they claim is “a flagrant breach” of the World Health Organization’s agreement on tobacco control.

The letter states: “It is morally incoherent to advance tobacco control at home but oppose measures in other countries intended to reduce the burden of this lethal habit ... We demand an immediate public apology for this shameful behaviour and a clear undertaking that it will not be allowed to occur in the future.”

In addition to Hopkinson, the three other signatories were McKee, Britton and Moxham.

And so to the present. On Sunday the Observer reported:

More than 1,000 healthcare experts, including 57 professors, have signed an open letter calling on some of London’s most respected cultural institutions to abandon their financial links with big tobacco.

The British Museum, the Royal Academy of Arts, the South Bank Centre and the London Philharmonic Orchestra, have long-standing lucrative corporate membership and sponsorship deals with two leading cigarette manufacturers, which are banned from advertising in the UK.

The links have dismayed many in the medical community. “As a doctor specialising in the care of people with emphysema, I see the harm smoking causes every day,” said Dr Nick Hopkinson, reader in respiratory medicine and honorary consultant physician at the National Heart and Lung Institute, who is leading a campaign against the tie-ups.

“Tobacco companies, which rely on getting people addicted to products, which maim and kill, must not be allowed to use arts sponsorship as a way to present [themselves] as respectable.”

Bizarrely Hopkinson also claimed that:

“Arts sponsorship is one way that the tobacco industry can enable its own employees to deceive themselves about the true nature of what they are doing.”


The letter itself reads:

As healthcare professionals who deal daily with the harm caused by the tobacco industry, we call on arts, cultural and heritage organisations to sign the smoke-free arts declaration ( to affirm that tobacco sponsorship is unacceptable. We also call on sponsors of the arts to undertake that they will no longer support organisations that accept tobacco sponsorship.

The Smoke Free Arts website invites "arts, cultural and heritage organisations as well as charities and other bodies" to sign up to the following declaration:

1. There is no place for the tobacco industry as a sponsor of arts, heritage or cultural activities.
2. We will not accept sponsorship or donations from the tobacco industry or organisations linked to them.
3. We will not allow the tobacco industry or organisations linked to them to become corporate members or participate in similar schemes.
4. We will not provide facilities to the tobacco industry or organisations linked to them.

The website then invites organisations that support "the arts, culture and heritage" to sign up to the following declaration:

1. We will not sponsor or support arts, heritage or cultural organisations which accept sponsorship from the tobacco industry.
2. We will withdraw sponsorship and support from organisations which accept tobacco industry sponsorship and will incorporate this provision in future sponsorship agreements.

I've been on the Smoke Free Arts website and on the signatories page only six organisations – Royal Brompton & Harefield Arts, London Design Festival, Arvon, Mahogany Opera Group and The Twentieth Century Society – have signed up to the declaration.

Under 'Supporters' there are NO signatories. Not one.

So who are the "experts" who signed the letter to the Observer which is credited to "Dr Nicholas Hopkinson, Reader in respiratory medicine, Imperial College, London on behalf of 1,104 other healthcare professionals"?

Three – Moxham, Britton and Prof Richard Ashcroft – are mentioned in the report but the identity of the rest is a mystery.

Last night Forest tweeted Dr Hopkinson inviting him to provide a link to the list of "healthcare professionals" who signed his tobacco arts sponsorship letter. If we get a response I'll let you know.

In the meantime I may have discovered how he gathers signatures for some of his letters.

In December 2013 the Association for Respiratory Technology and Physiology a devoted a page of its website to what it called the Campaign for Introduction of Standardised Packaging of Tobacco. It read:

Dr. Nick Hopkinson is gathering signatures for an open letter from people who work with Respiratory Patients asking Parliament to support the introduction of standardised packaging for tobacco products.

There is an amendment about this in the Children and Families Bill which is expected to be voted on the week beginning 9th December. It would be great if you were prepared to sign up, as have so many other healthcare professional already have.

Please add your name to this letter via this online survey signature link. See the progress of this campaign via this link.

Did he conduct a similar signature gathering exercise before sending his letter to the Observer or did he try something else?

Come on Nick, don't be coy. A link to the names of all those "healthcare professionals" who signed your letter is all we ask.

If you can tell us how you gathered their signatures that would be a bonus. Thanks.


Enjoy it while it lasts, Leicester fans. In future the only guarantee is relegation.

Tonight most football fans will have at least one eye on what happens at Stamford Bridge.

Anything less than a win for Spurs against Chelsea and the Premier League title will be handed to Leicester.

If it happens it will be an extraordinary achievement that needs to be put in perspective, as Martin Samuel did in the Mail today:

It is testament to Leicester City that those casting around for commensurate achievements have alighted on the success of Atletico Madrid in Spain. Yes, both are upsetting the established order, but there the comparison ends.

Atletico have won the league on 10 occasions, most recently in 2014; Leicester have never won the league. Atletico have won the Copa del Rey on 10 occasions; Leicester have never won the FA Cup. Atletico have finished La Liga runners-up eight times; Leicester finished second once, in 1929.

Atletico have reached two European Cup or Champions League finals; Leicester are yet to enter the tournament. Atletico have won five major European trophies — two Europa League titles, two UEFA Super Cups and the European Cup-winners’ Cup; Leicester have competed in Europe for three seasons in total, and have never progressed beyond the first round of any UEFA competition.

So forget Atletico Madrid. Forget any talk of equivalence, in fact. This is uncharted territory, and those chronicling an astonishing team are just going to have to get by without the standard tropes. There has never been anything like this. Really, there hasn’t.

What we can be sure of is that lightning won't strike twice. Leicester will never win the title again – at least, not in my lifetime.

I hope their fans appreciate this because football supporters are extraordinarily fickle. Next season, when Leicester are sitting mid-table or worse, don't be surprised to hear some of them calling for the manager's head or complaining that the chairman hasn't spent enough money building on this season's success.

The team I support, Dundee United, has won the Scottish league title just once in its 117-year history. Jim McLean, who managed the club from 1971-1993, famously described United as a "corner shop" compared to Celtic and Rangers which were "supermarkets".

The day United won the old Scottish First Division title in May 1983 I was there so I can empathise with true Leicester fans tonight. The difference was it was the last day of the season, United had to win their final match, and our opponents were local rivals Dundee.

I was living in London so I travelled up for the game which took place at Dens Park, home of Dundee. A few years before United had won the Scottish League Cup in successive years (1979 and 1980). Victory in 1979 was the first time United had ever won a major trophy.

Both finals (one a replay) were played at Dens Park so it was considered a bit of a lucky omen. On 14th May 1983 I arrived at the ground early. The atmosphere was incredible. Two sets of fans, one desperate to win the match, the other desperate that their fiercest rivals didn't win the league in their own stadium. (They would never hear the end of it, as indeed they haven't.)

As the teams came out everyone knew, I think, that a similar moment would never happen again. Within 15 minutes United were 2-0 up and coasting. Then, shortly before half-time, Dundee scored and the nerves really kicked in.

The second half was probably the longest 45 minutes of my life. A draw and the title would have gone to Celtic who beat Rangers 4-2 that same afternoon having been two goals down.

With news of Celtic's comeback sweeping around the ground via thousands of pocket radios you can imagine the tension as the clock ticked, ever so slowly, towards 90 minutes with Dundee pushing forward in search of an equaliser.

The overwhelming sensation, when the final whistle eventually blew, was one of enormous relief, and disbelief. As I stood taking it all in I knew it would never happen again.

I hoped United might go on and win the occasional domestic cup, and they have (in 1994 and 2010).

Naturally they've lost many more cup finals (it's the United way) but only once in my lifetime has the club ever been relegated.

Until now.

I won't bore you with the story of United's extraordinary collapse from being one of the better teams in Scotland (with some of the best young players) but it's every bit as dramatic as Leicester's 'overnight' success.

Whatever happens United are going down. Poignantly however relegation will be confirmed tonight if the club fails to beat – who else? – Dundee at Dens Park, scene of the club's greatest triumph 33 years ago.

I thought about going. Fans should stick with teams through thick and thin, and I will. Next season I'll willingly travel to Kirkcaldy and even Dunfermline to support the club, or what remains of it. (Like Aston Villa, the owner wants to sell and the current players are being accused of lacking 'heart'.)

Today though I just didn't fancy it. A 700-mile round trip to see the club I've supported since I was ten get relegated?

Dens Park, 14th May 1983, is one of my all-time favourite memories. It's a day I shall never forget. Why spoil it?

So enjoy this moment, Leicester fans, and don't be too hard on the manager, players and board of directors when it all goes sour in the future.

If there's one thing that's certain in football, most clubs (provincial clubs especially) are never more than one season away from the threat of relegation.

It drives you insane, until you grow up. And I have, almost.


Why do smokers continue to smoke?

E-cigarettes are 'much less harmful than smoking' and smokers should be encouraged to quit or switch to vaping.

That was the message of last week's Royal College of Physicians report.

Given the lack of evidence that e-cigarettes pose any serious risk to the user and the frequent abuse and disinformation hurled at smokers, why would anyone choose not to switch?

To be clear, I'm not suggesting smokers should switch. I've been around smokers long enough to know that many enjoy the ritual, the taste or simply the act of inhaling or exhaling smoke from a combustible cigarette.

I'm just curious what smokers think of bodies like the RCP urging you to switch to e-cigarettes and what reason/s you would give for sticking with combustibles when every public health campaigner in the world seems intent on denormalising and stigmatising you for that decision.

I asked this question on the Friends of Forest Facebook page. Here are some of the responses:

EJ wrote:

I don't smoke as an addict. I do it for enjoyment and don't smoke most of the time. Maybe once a month. I think the fact that MANY smokers live to 90+ is enough evidence to debunk whatever theories people have about smoking being a cause of premature death or chronic illness. My grandma was on about 40 a day and lived to 85. It's far more about the hand you've been dealt than anything else.

JB wrote:

Seen as a way to quit smoking, yes, sure, e-cigs are probably the best method out there but it's just not for me. I don't like e-cigs, that's about it. It feels nothing like burning tobacco. I will carry on smoking my moderate dozen cigarettes a day, the occasional pipe or cigar, for as long as possible. I hope to reach 70 that way. If not, never mind.

JN wrote:

Why would I want to switch to a product that hasn't been tested long term? I know the risks of smoking cigarettes. (I don't believe all the bullshit.) I enjoy smoking and have done for 50+ years and have no intention of giving up :)

LB wrote:

I tried e-cigs for a couple of weeks but they gave me a tight chest and sore throat so went back to rollies. Better the devil you know. It's entirely up to the individual. It works for people I know but not for me. I didn't like the feel of the plastic filter either. Been smoking for 35 years. I know the risks. It's my life therefore my choice.

SB wrote:

I smoke. I enjoy it. Have smoked for 46 years. Switched to roll-ups due to cost about 25 years ago. Use an e-cig when I can't (not allowed to) smoke. Fed up with being told what to do and told what and how to think. I don't take any notice.

MS wrote:

I tried e-smoking. I didn't like the taste. It's not what I want from smoking. I also need the routine of hand rolling my cigarette.

I can't remember where I read it (it may have been on this blog) but someone else commented that they like the fact that the time taken to smoke a cigarette is finite - approximately five minutes - unlike vaping.

The elephant in the room is of course the issue of addiction. Do you smoke because you're addicted, because it's a habit, because you enjoy it, or is it a combination of these and other factors?

Further thoughts welcome.

Update: Over on Facebook HJ has added this comment:

I enjoyed smoking. I expected it to be the last thing I would ever give up. I feel so grateful now that I was one of those who took to vaping as a fish to swimming. I had no intention of quitting but just became aware that I enjoyed vaping more than tobacco – and I had been a smoker for 45 years! Strange world.

Vive la différence, I say.


Absolutely fabulous

I wasn't planning to watch the forthcoming Absolutely Fabulous movie.

Not in the cinema anyway.

The first TV series, in 1992, was genuinely funny and original but it's been downhill ever since.

This hilariously indignant post on the Smokefree Movies website – brought to my attention by Chris Snowdon who tweeted the link – has changed my mind.

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