Fuming I ever started smoking
When the “civil rights” defence failed – trumped by similarly based, but far more concrete claims about the rights of non-smokers – we tried the pseudoscientific approach. Ludicrously arguing that there was no proof second-hand smoke ever caused harm to anyone – as if we gave a damn whether it did or not.
About the only thing we got right was our assertion that the initial (very mild) smoking bans represented the thin end of a wedge. It wasn’t long before all but the most fanatical among the pro-smoking brigade fell into line. Although I still smoke like a train, it would never cross my mind to light up indoors, or in any other restricted area.
There are far fewer smokers nowadays than at any time since statistics have been kept (in the UK, 22 per cent of males and 21 per cent of females are smokers). But, worryingly, the greatest increase in smoking is among young people. Included in this number are my two younger children. I occasionally make the case to them for quitting, while they can. But it must be hard for them to take me seriously.
Why don’t I lead the way, and quit myself? Believe me, I’ve tried, but failed so miserably on every occasion that I’m now resigned to being a smoker for the rest of my life. That question, incidentally, could only be posed by someone who has little understanding of the powerful hold that nicotine has on a long-time smoker. God knows how the comparisons were ever made, but it is said by experts that nicotine is, both physically and psychologically, more addictive than heroin.
A couple of times in my life, I’ve realised that something was becoming a little more habitual than was good for my health, and, without too much difficulty, immediately stopped indulging. However, I’ve found it impossible to do the same with cigarettes. This has led me to wonder if some of us are born with a predisposition to nicotine addiction, in the same way that, as is now accepted, some people can be predisposed to alcohol addiction. Or perhaps I’m deluding myself; scrabbling around for something to excuse my own weakness. After all, I come across people every day who have managed to kick the habit.
Meanwhile, what must go through Liam’s head, when, while exhaling smoke, granddad agrees with him that cigarettes are yucky?