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Barbara Smoker

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Barbara Smoker (born 1923) is a British Humanist activist and freethought advocate. She is also former President of the National Secular Society (1971-1996), former Chair of the British Voluntary Euthanasia Society (now known as Dignity in Dying) (1981-1985) and current Honorary Vice President of the Gay and Lesbian Humanist Association in the United Kingdom.


Barbara Smoker was born in London in 1923 into a Roman Catholic family. She served in the Women's Royal Navy from 1942-1945 in South-east Asia. In 1949 she became an atheist.

In 1951 Smoker joined the secular humanist movement, and eventually became President of the National Secular Society for the period (1971-1996). In that capacity, she represented the atheist viewpoint in print, on lecture platforms, speaking tours, on radio and television. She officiated at non-religious funerals, wedding ceremonies, gay and lesbian commitments and baby namings. She became active in various social campaigns, such as the abolition of the death penalty, nuclear disarmament, legalization of abortion and voluntary euthanasia.

In 2005 Smoker received the Distinguished Humanist Service Award from the International Humanist and Ethical Union.


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