NEWS RELEASE | Tuesday 22 February 2005
WRITER and musician Joe Jackson last night launched a blistering attack against those who want to ban on smoking in all public places. Speaking at a reception hosted by TV chef and restaurateur Antony Worrall Thompson at The Groucho Club in London, Jackson declared: "Smokers are now the only minority who are not only abused but whose minority status is quoted as justification for abuse."
In his booklet The Smoking Issue, published today by the smokers lobby group FOREST, Jackson expresses his resentment at what he calls the "systematic demonisation" of smokers.
A self-proclaimed social smoker who is 'pro-choice', Jackson has researched smoking issues in depth over the last three years and has become increasingly sceptical about the "overblown hysteria whipped up by recent anti-smoking propaganda".
"It has become fashionable to blame smoking for a whole range of problems we don't really know what to do about, a distraction from more serious problems."
Arguing that those in favour of an outright ban have latched on to the "junk science bonanza" of deeply flawed and inconclusive studies on the dangers of passive smoking in an effort to legitimise their demands for a smoke free world, Jackson added: "The only real justification for a total legal ban would be incontrovertible proof that environmental tobacco smoke is a deadly health hazard."
According to Jackson the vast majority of studies on passive smoking have proved inconclusive. He adds that when studies do find risks, they are still so small they would not be taken seriously in any normal scientific context. "Statistically you are more likely to die in a bicycle accident, or from being left-handed and using right-handed things, than from exposure to smoke."
In 'The Smoking Issue' Jackson also examines the reaction to the ban on smoking in New York and the effect it has had on trade in the hospitality industry. The musician, who lived in America for 20 years before returning to Britain in 2003, has first-hand experience of the New York ban: "Anyone who actually goes to NY bars and clubs knows that the ban is extremely unpopular and causing all kinds of problems, 'bad vibes,' and a significant loss of trade.
"It is disingenuous to say that smokers are not being barred from the bar, but just barred from smoking. This is like telling a vegetarian that his favourite restaurant has been turned into a steakhouse but he's still welcome."
'The Smoking Issue', says FOREST, will be sent to every MP, MSP and AM in the country. Copies can also be downloaded from the group's website at www.forestonline.org.
For further comment contact Joe Jackson
via FOREST on 07071 766537 or 07774 781840
Click here to download a copy of The Smoking Issue.
Please tell your friends and colleagues about The Smoking Issue and invite them to visit this page and download a copy for themselves.
Joe Jackson Biography
JOE Jackson is best known in the UK for a string of hits in the late Seventies and early Eighties including 'Is She Really Going Out With Him?', 'I'm The Man' and 'It's Different For Girls'. In 1983 he moved to New York and continued to record a eclectic series of albums, among them Body and Soul (1984), Big World (1986), the semi-autobiographical Blaze of Glory (1989), the more mainstream but still idiosyncratic Laughter and Lust (1991), the gentle, soul-searching Night Music (1994), an innovative song-cycle based on the Seven Deadly Sins, Heaven and Hell (1997), and the album he considers his best, Night and Day II (2000).
Jackson has also distinguished himself with scores for several films, including Francis Ford Coppola's Tucker and James Bridges' Mike's Murder, plus two albums of instrumental music, Will Power (1987) and the non-traditional, non-orchestral Symphony No. 1 which won a Grammy for Best Pop Instrumental Album in 2001.
Volume 4 (2002) featured a reunited Joe Jackson Band. Last year he recorded Pulp's 'Common People' with Star Trek's William Shatner, and in April 2005 he begins a US tour with Todd Rundgren. In 1999 Jackson published a well-received book, A Cure For Gravity, which he described as "a book about music thinly disguised as a memoir".