In a few days time the no smoking ban will finally be introduced to workplaces and enclosed public areas in England. As usual with anything contentious, the government have tested out the policy in other countries in the British Isles first… and SHOCK! HORROR! It worked!
I am not going to discuss the pros and cons of the ban and how it affects businesses and an individual’s human rights, frankly I don’t care two hoots! Opposing organisations keep arguing with each other about whether the ban will improve the health of workers and others breathing passive smoke. Once again… everyone has an opinion. I would just like to give a personal view of the affair if that’s OK.
My mother died of lung cancer… She was 56 and smoked about forty fags a day. My father, at that time, was a lorry driver who chain smoked his way through up to a hundred fags (yes that’s right, 100, it’s not a typing error) daily.
When I was a wee lad we lived in a fairly roomy three bedroomed house with a large lounge and a white ceiling. With both parents smoking such large amounts my father had to paint the ceiling twice a year as it was stained brown from 6 months of cigarette smoke. Yeeuuccch. Dad’s car was always full of smoke as well, he had a Vauxhall Cresta and the ash tray had to be emptied daily sometimes more often. My parents both coughed a lot – particularly in the mornings – but other than that always seemed to have fairly good health… theirs was a generation where most people smoked for fun so from a young age so I guess they must have just accepted that they would smoke along with all of their friends it was fairly unusual to find someone who didnt light up back then.
Over quite a short period of time I watched my mother, who was never a weighty woman to begin with, get eaten away from the inside and killed by the monster that is cancer. No treatment worked and the very painful end came relatively quickly.
After she had died my father gave up smoking more or less straightaway – after a few false starts of course – and remained smoke free for years afterwards until he died.
At the time my mother died the tobacco companies were still saying that there was “no proven link between cigarette smoking and lung cancer”. Thank heaven they’ve seen fit to change their tune a little today. Perhaps the health warnings on the packets are working… far less people smoke today than in times past.
As for me… I cannot really say that smoking has harmed my health. I don’t smoke but I do go to smoky bars quite a lot and apart from the few symptoms mentioned below I seem to be OK. My mother smoked and drank heavily throughout her pregnancy with me and despite all this I still appeared on time all pink and healthy, having the correct number of limbs and just the one head. As a matter of fact Im inclined to think that her boozy and smoky pregnancy may have done me a big favour as I’m over 6″ tall and if all of her smoking and drinking hadn’t stunted my growth then I may have been over 8″… and that would have just been embarrassing!
No one can say for sure that smoking caused my mothers lung cancer – only that there was an increased probability of her getting the disease. If you look at the statistics for lung cancer (in fact for all lung problems) throughout the UK there is a direct link between areas where smoking is highest and these problems. We are second (alongside Yorkshire & Humber) and 1% behind Scotland in the table of smokers – and we’re right up there in the table of instances of lung cancer as well – as are all “areas of deprivation”. Go online and have a root around… you’ll see I’m right.
When the smoking ban comes into force at 6am on Sunday morning the Pint and Fight will become an even more marvellous place to be… no longer will I have to endure streaming eyes, go home smelling of smoke or wake up coughing up crap from my chest. Smokers say that without them, the Pint and Fight and other pubs may not survive economically. Well, that would be a great shame but it’s a price that I for one would happily pay. If some bars close then so be it – a rationalisation is not necessarily a bad thing… all we need to do as non-smokers is to go out a bit more to support our local hostelry. Wahay! A hidden effect of the smoking ban… non-smokers have to drink more… yee haw! Bring it on!
The angrier individuals among the ranks of smokers insist that they should be entitled to have designated places to smoke when they are out for a good time and I agree. If they look closely enough, all smokers can see their designated smoking area – Look! There it is! Out of the window! It’s a street… go and stand in it and stop whining. Get wet, get a suntan or just get run over… I couldn’t give a hoot as long as you carry your own ashtray and take your filthy fagends home with you (discarding cigarette butts is a nasty side effect of smoking that is only slightly less sociable than spitting out chewing gum on the pavements).
So if you can’t do without a cigarette when you have a drink… tough… stay at home, get a brain and remember my poor old mum… there is an “increased probability” that you’ll be going that way too one day! You have been warned.