Someone offered me a cigarette this afternoon. Though I refused it, I was strongly tempted to accept, and have been regretting the refusal ever since.
I last had a cigarette four years ago. Some of my best friends are smokers, and I do everything possible to make them welcome when they visit and want to smoke. I don’t judge them. I don’t hector them. I just don’t currently smoke. I stopped smoking for these reasons:
1. Cigarettes are grossly expensive, and most of the price goes in tax to a bunch of worthless politicians who get enough of my money already.
2. Smoking at home makes everything smelly. Smoking away from home is increasingly inconvenient.
3. I suspect there is something in the claims that smoking is bad for one’s health. I accept that virtually every positive claim put out by the anti-smokers is a lie. No causal connection has ever been demonstrated between smoking and heart disease or cancer. The evidence for passive smoking is a joke. Some years ago, my late friend Judith Hatton – dead at 89 after smoking 80 a day from about the age of 15 – compared the number of cigarettes smoked per country with life expectancy: she found no obvious correlation. All this being said, I doubt that breathing in the smoke from dried vegetable matter is very good for you in the long term. And I do have more than a slight tendency of hypochondria. I got sick of diagnosing the symptoms of every cancer under the sun every time I lit up.
On the other hand, I usually write faster with a cigarette between my lips, and they are a powerful weapon in my lifelong battle against a congenital inclination to stoutness.
I may start again one day. For the moment, I am glad I refused the cigarette I was offered earlier today, and will repress the urge to run out and blow £9 on a packet of Bensons.