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Thursday, June 13, 2024
EditorialsUp Front 05/07

Up Front 05/07

With apologies to my friends who do – what on earth ever possessed us to accommodate the concept of smoking? I know ex-smokers are traditionally the most fierce critics of the habit, and whether that’s to do with attempting to assuage our guilt for our past stupidity, or as a method of ensuring we don’t start again, I couldn’t say. However every time I see someone with a cigarette in their mouth, I imagine it sticking out of their ear. That’s thanks to a comment made to me by the late Allen Carr, the stop-smoking expert who died of lung cancer a few months ago. I spent time at Allen’s home in Wimbledon a couple of decades ago and I remember last February thinking how unjust it was that he had died from sitting in a smoke-filled room, for six days a week, helping people to quit doing something that made them look stupid. The fact is that it’s far more likely that the real damage was done to Allen during his early smoking years. He is reputed to have smoked up to five packets of cigarettes a day for thirty-five years. At today’s prices he would have spent over £9,000 a year on cigarettes. Over thirty-five years that’s around £300,000 – a big bonus to big tobacco and big government. And there’s the rub. Whatever level of stupidity or shame we reach by putting our lives and those of our loved one’s at risk, there will always be some money-loving blood-sucker out there trying to make us feel good about it.

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