Wednesday, 18 May 2011


The year was 1994. I was sitting in the doctor's surgery waiting for his verdict on my nagging cough. Having identified the cause as bronchitis he said he had something he could give me for it. He duly ripped a sheet off his prescription pad and passed it across the desk.

When I looked at the prescription, I realised why he had not written on it. It was pre-printed and said simply, 'Stop Smoking'. He added that my lungs were showing the first sign of damage but that if I gave up smoking they would be back to normal within ten years.

Smoking had been part of my life for some thirty four years, the first twenty smoking cigarettes and the last fourteen puffing a pipe. It was going to be hard to give up but necessary.

I began by phoning my wife and asking her to remove everything from the house which was pipe-smoking related before I got home. There followed a period of months which were occasionally excruciating as my body readjusted to normality but then I became a smug ex-smoker.

Tell me, when dining in a pleasant, cosy restaurant do you ever look out of the window at the small gaggle of smokers huddling together to shelter from the chill wind and rain and think 'I wish that was me?' I'm guessing not. If however, you would like to try the experience without risk, you can now purchase an 'e-cigarette' which looks like a cigarette, glows like a cigarette, gives off wisps of smoke like a cigarette but contains no tobacco.

Alternatively, you can 'light up' in the middle of the restaurant and annoy everyone totally legally since e-cigarettes are not subject to the smoking ban. What a jolly wheeze! I must check if they make an e-pipe version.

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