Thursday, 30 June 2011 21:23



Having campaigned so ferociously for punitive taxation on tobacco, anti-smoking propaganda, and legal bans on its public use, the British Medical Association should express little surprise that they now have an epidemic of obesity and alcohol abuse to deal with.

British pubs close at the rate of about 200 per week now, and those watering holes which remain have become markedly less agreeable as people cease to pace their drinking and their tempers with cigarettes, and just keep pouring the drinks down. Personally I feel much more comfortable walking home though a street full of smokers than a street full of drunks.

How come the great magus himself rarely appears without a lighted cigarette or an electronic one in the places where they ban the real thing, many people ask.

I cite historical evidence. Adolph Hitler, a teetotal, vegetarian, non-smoker, dead at 54 and reviled for eternity. Winston Churchill, a cigar chomping, brandy swilling carnivore who insisted on the right to smoke before and after meals, between courses, and also during courses if desired. He lived till almost 90 and will remain a hero forever. He also got a Nobel Prize for literature, which is more than we can say for the author of that demented rant Mein Kampf.

Just remember that the majority of the best stuff you ever read was composed by people meditating on their texts over a pipe or a cigar or a cigarette.

Whenever some self-righteous pot-bellied anti-smoking nazi casts a disapproving glance in my direction I smile back, confident in the knowledge that I could almost certainly outrun or out-swim him over any distance.

Teenagers will always want to experiment with forbidden things. Thus it seems rather silly that we have created a situation where a packet of cigs now costs more than some hard drugs or enough cheap booze to hospitalise yourself.

Yesterday the BMA asked the UK government to impose a total ban on smoking in cars; the law will hopefully not pass. Smokers have a 2 yard advantage in an emergency stop because they’re more alert than ordinary mortals. Rather we should make smoking, or at least nicotine chewing gum, compulsory for drivers.

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