A group of Lincoln smokers protested at the city bus station on Saturday, July 2, to raise awareness of what they dubbed “smokerphobia”.
Pat Nurse, a smoker herself who organised the event, says that public thought about smoking is “moving away from the issue of health and towards the issue of public bullying of smokers, denormalisation, dehumanisation, stigmatisation of smokers.”
A group of smokers and UKIP, the only political party who were supporting the protest, met at noon on July 2. The bus station was chosen for the protest because since 2007 it has been illegal to smoke in enclosed spaces.
Pat Nurse, a member of the grass-roots organisation F2C, with protest banners
At 12.40pm the protest was told to disperse by staff at the bus station, as they didn’t have permission from the council. The staff added that it was nothing to do with the nature of the protest. Nurse and the other protesters were happy to move because they felt that they had made their point.
This is not the only action that Nurse has taken, as on Friday, July 1, she visited Lincoln MP Karl McCartney to discuss her opinions about negativity towards smokers. She says that McCartney was “positive and helpful” and that he will raise the issues with Under Secretary of State for Public Health Anne Milton.
Nurse says all that is needed is more tolerance: “That little puff of smoke in the atmosphere used to be society’s guarantee that we would always have tolerance… with smoking, it is becoming intolerant and becoming all of the horrible things that we said as a society we didn’t want.”