I drive past Bishopdale most days, there is a Nursing Home close by, it’s most noticeable to see an old chap sitting outside, wet or shine in his motorised wheelchair, well rugged up, but he’s there every day and always puffing away at a fag. What makes it more noticeable, he is there regardless of the weather,. Poor sod, he is another who has a bad nicotine addiction, doing his best to operate under today’s PC behavioural rules. These people are treated very badly. To put it bluntly, he is being ostracised by the the zealots, who are leading the charge to rid us of the smoking habit. Had he been lucky enough to have a gambling, or alcohol addiction, even a hard drug habit, not a problem. This is acceptable today, and recognised as a problem. He would then be taken under the wing of one group or other to be looked after. For one thing he wouldn’t be shoved outside in the rain

To excuse themselves, those who are out in front of this campaign, they keep repeating the mantra, ‘Smokers are a financial burden on the state, and bleeding the health system dry’. We have all believed this nonsense for years, until a recent Australian University study has shown, it’s not the smokers that are the heaviest users of the Health monies later in their twilight years. Believe it, or believe it not, it’s the ‘Health Nuts’ by a wide margin. They in many cases, have physically worn their bodies out. So you don’t think that you can be addicted to something like a gym workout? Think again, there are some amongst us think their world would come to an end, if they didn’t get their daily fix from a gym visit, or a long distant run. Often when out for a drive we passed runners on the road. Their faces were contorted with pain, and yet they keep on coming back for more.

A twenty pack of cigarettes today costs around $30 or so. The real value somewhere between only 25 Cents or a dollar. So tobacco must be one of the most heavily taxed item in the shopping basket. With people paying so much for cigarettes, and when these tax monies are taken into the equation, they well and truly pay their medical bills. When the TV people present their slanted programmes, it always seems to feature beneficiaries complaining of how they can’t make ends meet. You don’t get a look into their shopping basket and see what they are actually buying. The tobacco and alcohol tax would in many cases, be the one of the reasons why these folk are not able to balance their budget.

‘You, who is writing this blog, You must be a smoker talking this way’? True, I was a smoker when I was young, but I stopped smoking some 45 years ago. It was a struggle, but I did it without patches or any other aid. You need to understand too, I started smoking as a very young serviceman when I was inducted into the Army. But back then we could purchase our cigarettes for 35 cents a 200 carton, We didn’t know then, about all the the health hazards that came with the habit, as well you were more than likely to become addicted, then it would be hard to quit, What can I say in my defence is. If you are going to conscript an 18 year olds into the Army, Away from the protection and parental control of his family, it was not only smoking that posed a threat, there were many other dangers out there. ‘I could have ended up as an alcoholic, as many of my fellow servicemen did.’ Youth at this age still requires the guidance of his parents. Unfortunately at that time, the needs of our country came first. With some others I started smoking as a boy. For those who didn’t stop, or were unable to, the Country now owes them a duty of care.

For some what they have done to enforce the stop smoking campaign it’s not enough. The increase in tax, The sales limited to eighteen year olds and above. Plain packets only, no advertising anywhere. (One was even demanding, that cigarettes could only be obtained with a doctors prescription from a Chemist). Forbidden to smoke in public Buildings, Hotel Bars, Aircraft, Trains, Restaurants. It’s most noticeable outside big institutions like hospitals, there are so many cigarette butts outside the back doors, the foot paths look like a carpet.

I can see that they haven’t stopped people smoking, but they have stopped them from where they smoke. They have however as a consequence succeeded in making the poor very much poorer.

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