Lifestyle

Lay off smokers: it's their choice

MOTHERS and asthmatics will want to kill me for saying this, but sometimes I miss the days when you could smoke in pubs, clubs, restaurants and pretty much anywhere else in reach of an ashtray or street gutter.

As far as I can tell, this opinion has nothing to do with me being a smoker (I'll have an occasional puff but I have barely bought a packet of fags in my life), and more to do with a kind of golden age syndrome.

Some might find this disgusting, but I always felt at home in a public bar that was thick with the fog of a hundred smokers' conversations.

When I was a kid and Sizzler used to still offer you a seat in the smoker's or non-smoker's section, mum often sat us with the smokers so as not to make too much of a fuss.

There was something about the vibe of a smoky room - perhaps people were more relaxed when they weren't denied their nicotine and something to keep their hands occupied.

Sometimes, conversations flow more fluently when you've got a fag in one hand and a schooner in the other.

These days, the pubs with a decent-sized smokers' area seem to get divided into two halves, and even though I rarely smoke, I often find myself hanging outside in the cold with the darbers' team.

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Hell, they might not live as long but at least they are enjoying what time they have - before cancer sets in.

Perhaps I had a susceptibility to smoking addiction that was never realised?

My grandfather lived on a constant diet of cigarettes. I used to sit there and watch him roll one after the other and wonder when he would finally decide he'd smoked enough.

From an early age I got used to enjoying the company of smokers, but also got a good impression of how addictive the smokes can be - not just the cigarettes but the act of smoking itself.

For this reason, I am not willing to pass judgement on anyone who lights up.

This is not to say that I support the big tobacco companies and their highly addictive little cancer sticks - especially when those things can harm unborn babies.

But there are certain things that I think should be left to personal choice.

Since smoking is still technically legal, I think we should still respect the choice of those who wish to smoke.

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