Northern Ireland's Smoking Ban May Have Reverse Effect

 PRESS RELEASE –IMMEDIATE                                                          30 April 2007





“Northern Ireland's smoking ban  won't stop everybodysmoking – in fact it may have the reverse effect,” says James Leavey,the UK's leading smoker-friendly journalist and broadcaster - andauthor of a series of smokers' guides  to Europe's cities, includingLondon, Belfast and – for the next issue – Dublin -  for theEuropean Cigar Cult Journal, Europe's leading cigar magazine.


“Now that Northern Ireland's smokers are on publicdisplay outside bars and clubs – many of them clearly enjoyingthemselves - this may encourage more people to smoke.  Besides, withNorthern Ireland's booming economy there's a lot to celebrate –preferably with a fine cigar! And then there's all that smirting –smoking and flirting – that will be going on, rather like in Dublin.


“Meanwhile, visitors to Northern Ireland will stillbe able to smoke in designated 'smoking' rooms in hotels andguest-houses, for guests can do what they like in their rooms underthe law of hotel etiquette – once they check-in, their guest roombecomes their home.  


“This is the first time in history when Governmentshave banned the public enjoyment of a product, i.e. tobacco, that isstill legally on sale.  But it won't stop Northern Ireland's coresmokers from lighting up somewhere – probably in the smoker-friendlylock-ins in the Province's rural or out of the way pubs and bars,late at night when all the puritanical non-smokers have gone home –which is what has been happening in the Republic of Ireland.  Andcan Northern Ireland's rural pubs and bars really afford to turnaway smokers – who may be some of their oldest customers" 


“And who is going to police this ban"  NorthernIreland's Environmental Health officers already have enough to dowithout this extra burden.  Mind you, there should be plenty ofmoney available to pay for the overtime – Northern Ireland's smokersare among the most highly taxed in the world.


“The irony is that the smoking bans have been imposedby the widespread belief that passive smoking is a significanthealth hazard, despite the fact that there has never been anyserious statistical scientific evidence to prove this.”







James Leavey is Britain's and Ireland's mostsmoker-friendly freelance journalist and broadcaster, and moved fromLondon to Cowes on the Isle of Wight, four years ago, where theCuban flag now flutters from his garden's flagpole.  He has writtenfor over 80 consumer and trade publications, including Radio Times,Daily Mirror, The Independent and The European – and on smoking andcigars for the Daily Express, European Business, Whisky, Wine,SquareMeal, Evening Standard, ES, Time Out, Motor Boat and Yachting,Classic Cigar, Stuff for Men, World Tobacco, Tobacco Europe, CigarStyle, and the UK's Cigar Buyer (for which he is currently chiefcigars taster), among many other publications.


Leavey is best known as editor of The FOREST Guide toSmoking in London and the FOREST Smoker’s Guide to Scotland – theworld’s first travel books for smokers, which sparked off enormousworldwide media coverage, including Time magazine, Sky News, FoxNews, CNN, BBC 24, Playboy,  The Sunday Times, The Guardian, and DieWelt.  He has also broadcast on smoking on television and radioaround the world, and was featured in BBC Horizon's majordocumentary on smoking around the world -  'We Love Cigarettes'.


James Leavey hassmoked (usually Havana or Dominican cigars) in some unusual placesaround the world:


- a  voodooceremony in the heart of Basil

- a Bedouin tent inDubai

- in the Copacabanaclub in Havana while doing the lambada

- in the sewers ofVienna (in the footsteps of Harry Lime) and managed to avoid blowingup the city

- in the MillenniumDome, London (the ONLY person ever to smoke a cigar inside thatDome!)

- on the Guys andDolls set on stage at the Royal National Theatre in London (andmanaged to set fire to the set despite the fact that the chief fireofficer and security man were standing next to him one holding alarge ashtray and the other a bucket of sand!)

- on stage at theAbbey Theatre in Dublin

- in a cell insideDublin's main prison (last year, for BBC Horizon)

- in a Radio 4producer's office in Broadcasting House, 3 months after they bannedsmoking in the building

- in a Rio deJaneiro favela (shanty town)

- in a short filmcalled 'Smoker's Corner' made 5-6 years ago which co-starred fellowsmokers, Peter Doherty (who admitted he smoked anything andeverything) and Antony Worral Thomson

- in a Cubandiplomat's luxurious home in Havana (just before Christmas – thediplomat was busy flogging some Cuban cigar antiques, discreetly)

- in Havana withAlberto Korda (who took the famous photo of Che Guevara)

- in Jesse Helms'office in the Senate, Washington DC (Helms was the man who pushedthe Cuban Embargo and Leavey dropped Cuban ash all over his officeand into his otherwise empty ashtray that was on his desk)

- halfway up anAustrian mountain (Leavey used the Havana as a walking stick...)

- in the Europahotel bar in Belfast just after a bomb (we thought) went off

- with the LochNess Monster in Inverness (OK, he was only a statue but Leavey didleave a cigar in Nessie's mouth)


A selection of James Leavey's smoker-friendlyarticles and interviews can be found– the world's largest pro-smoking website - which receives NOdonations or subsidies from tobacco companies.


Contact details: 01983 291679 or mobile 07932 039054.



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