Writer and director of smokers’ rights group FOREST, Simon Clark, looks at the radical history of lighting up. From David Hockney to Syrian women smoking cigarettes in defiance of religious extremism, smoking can be an expression of personal and political freedom. Unfortunately, Simon writes, such freedoms are increasingly undermined by public-health measures, designed to control and regulate our behaviour beyond what he says ought to be reasonable.

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Simon Clark is director of the smokers’ rights group FOREST (Freedom Organisation for the Right to Enjoy Smoking Tobacco). Founded in 1979, FOREST represents adults who choose to smoke and campaigns against excessive regulations on smoking, tobacco and other nicotine products. A non-smoker, Simon appears regularly on TV and radio defending adults who choose to smoke, vape or indulge in other ‘problem’ lifestyles. He writes a blog, ‘Taking Liberties’, and is the author of Hands Off Our Packs: diary of a political campaign.

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