NOTICE: Think About Those Who Cannot Quit Smoking


It must be about 30 years since I quit smoking.

What finally made me quit was a Christmas day when I ran out of my favorite cigarettes.

I used to smoke Gypsies, a habit that I started when I was living abroad for a while, and there were also Sobranie Cocktail cigarettes which looked and sounded very sophisticated, from the less I thought so because of the different colored paper of each cigarette in the package.

When they started putting health warnings on cigarette packs, I switched to cigars and smoked these creme coffees that came in a little box. They didn’t have a warning, possibly because they assumed the smoker hadn’t inhaled things.

This is not true in my case of course, but without warning on the can of Cafe Crème it had to justify that they weren’t harmful, right?

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This Christmas, when I gave up weed, it was because I ran out of coffee creams and that was when Christmas Day was a closed day.

I was desperate for a smoke and searched all the drawers and cupboards in the house hoping that maybe there was a forgotten cigar or even a cigarette somewhere. And then, oh joy, it was there. Hidden at the back of the office, a piece of an old cigar butt.

The difficulty and determination to take a single whiff of this stinking old relic made me realize how stupid and sad I was.

I can’t deny that it was hard to let go of this habit, but I started running as a way to stop myself from thinking about it, and anyway, I found it hard to running and smoking at the same time.

So 30 years later I’m still a non-smoker even though I strangely dream of smoking sometimes. For a while I really missed smoking after a meal and even avoided going out.

That the smoke after dinner ended the evening somehow. At that time, you could still smoke in restaurants and a few of our friends continued to smoke, but I knew I shouldn’t resume this habit.

I have to say I’m glad that they have banned smoking inside offices and restaurants, cafes and pubs etc, but even as a non-smoker I’m not sure I am agree with a proposal from the Oxfordshire Tobacco Control Strategy (like a lovely name) to reduce lighting not only indoors but also everywhere outdoors by 2025. The hope is that by there they will reduce smoking anywhere indoors or outdoors to less than five percent,

This means that smoking will be banned in cars, homes, playgrounds and all outdoor areas of restaurants, cafes and pubs.

I have to admit that since smoking was banned inside a cafe or restaurant and smokers were forced outside, it can be quite unpleasant to sit outside on a beautiful day with smoke blowing on your food and drinks from nearby smokers.

Most of the smokers I have met outside have been quite thoughtful and try to decrease the clouds that are moving towards us, but some creatures don’t care.

I can see why Oxfordshire could hope to go down the road of a complete ban, but should the methods be so draconian?

Years ago, if you wanted to light up a pub, there was a smoking room; offices had places where smokers could retire; and in theaters, there would be a green room for smoking bullshit (and there was plenty of it) in a theater.

At the pub near us, they have a smoking area outside, away from all the alfresco diners, and that seems like a civilized compromise to me.

There is no doubt that smoking is a bad thing and everyone should take it, but it is undeniable that for the long-time smoker it is no easy task. I know the more people held me to give up, the more I really wanted to enlighten myself. They seemed so righteous and superior.

They kept telling us that tobacco is a killer, but we constantly reminded us of the exceptions, like my Aunt Doreen who decided at the age of 80 that she had to do it. She was usually pretty fit and never went to the doctor as they always blamed her for smoking.

But then she decided to give it up anyway. The family pointed out that since she had been so successful in smoking until she was eighty, she might as well continue.

It annoyed him. “Do you think I’m too old to give up, then?” They took the point.

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