July 1st will be a special day in England as JJ of "All Cobblers" reminded me. This is the day when smoking will cease in pubs and restaurants across the land. Like other non-smokers, I look forward to the day when the air that I breathe in pubs is not polluted by stinking tobacco smoke that clings to your clothes, gets in your hair and stings your eyes. Heaven knows what it has been doing to our lungs.
But once I was a smoker - twenty or more a day for twelve years between the ages of twenty one and thirty three. Having tried unsuccessfully to give up on previous occasions, I decided that I really must give up before our daughter, Frances, was born. Forget nicotine patches, gum or hypnosis, the only thing that can get you away from the smoking habit is will power.
On the chosen day, I got up and instead of smoking my usual cigarette, I went outside to our dustbin and crushed up all of my remaining cancer sticks - my favourite "Benson and Hedges". Then I crushed the gold pack and like a lunatic spoke to the dustbin - "I pledge that I will never smoke again". And you know since that day in 1988, I have never had even one cigarette and I can't say I have ever really had the urge to smoke one. My decision to end was so firm and so strong that there could be no other option. If you want to give up, you must mean it 100%. Like an alcoholic who realises that just one wee drink could by the beginning of a slippery slope back into the abyss, so I think smokers should view the evil weed. One cigarette could be your downfall. You have to cut away all mental and emotional ties with smoking - reminding yourself over and over that you are a non-smoker and you never want to go back to the habit.
I can sympathise with smokers - especially those who are desperate to quit. It's not easy. But everything says you should stop - health, wealth and social acceptability. When you stop, you're lengthening your life, food tastes better, you don't get so breathless, you have more money and your house doesn't stink. Breaking away is also a breaking away from the cynical control of major tobacco companies which, in the name of profit, have tried everything they can think of to keep people hooked - including sports sponsorship and putting addictive chemical additives into cigarette tobacco. Such evil people don't deserve a penny of our hard-earned money.