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Fury at David Hockney's tirade against anti-smoking campaign
A health chief has reacted to a bitter tirade by Bradford-born artist David Hockney slamming the Government's “draconian” anti-smoking legislation.
In an open letter, the 74-year-old painter and lifelong smoker accused Health Secretary Andrew Lansley of going “too far” with a controversial plan to sell cigarettes in plain packaging – claiming the dangers of smoking were “highly exaggerated”.
But Lorraine Bradbury, of the NHS stop smoking service in Bradford and Airedale, said the proposed ban would stop thousands of children from taking up the habit and would save lives.
She said: “It isn’t just that smoking is bad for you and causes early death, it can also cause years of misery and ill health. The reason for the plain packaging consultation is to help stop the thousands of children that start smoking every day, future generations facing potential years of ill health, not being able to walk across a room without becoming short of breath.”
In an open letter to Mr Lansley, Mr Hockney claimed the decline in smoking had prompted a “steep rise” in the number of people taking anti-depressants.
In the document, Mr Hockney pointed out that new Bradford West MP George Galloway was “perfectly happy” lighting up in front of the cameras - something he claimed other politicians would not have the “courage” to do.
He added: “According to Lansley, they [smokers] are all fools, slowing killing themselves (who isn’t?) and, according to him, others around them. I don't believe in the second-hand smoke stuff. How can you know? It is all highly exaggerated. I speak as someone who has smoked for 58 years, and I'm still here (and I'm fine, thank you).”
But Miss Bradbury urged people to improve their health. For information about the stop smoking service, call (01274) 202793 or text ‘quitb’ to 88020.