LIFE’S A BITCH: Let’s smoke our way to a healthy lifestyle

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FORGET about stopping smoking, I’m actively taking it up.

A pal of mine, a former smoker who stopped several years ago, recently went through a rough, stressful patch. She smoked for six weeks and swore that it helped her calm down. Once the issues were sorted and she overcame her difficulties she chucked the remaining fags in the bin and that was that.

We berate people for smoking and granted, it has been proven to be bad for one’s health, but there are benefits. It does help people deal with stress and is a great social tool. I have friends who have made lifelong pals through smoking fags outside the office. Surely, the health benefits of a good giggle at work outweigh the cons of smoking?

Somebody in Spain has probably published a scientific paper proving this very hypothesis.

The same goes for the smoking ban. It has killed the pub industry, as more and more people drink at home, supping cheap booze bought at the supermarket. But whose right is it to determine where and when we smoke?

I don’t smoke, never have done, but if I choose to go to the pub and breathe in other people’s smoke that’s my choice and a risk I take. The loss of pubs to the community is far greater than that of the occasional case of lung cancer through passive smoking.

Nobody is forced to go in a pub. But now smoking’s banned and the pubs are closing we have a bigger issue: people are choosing to drink and smoke at home, either among their families or alone. But at home, there is no landlord to tell you you’ve had enough to drink. There is no pal to speak with about your problems. We may have fewer cases of lung cancer through passive smoking, but the cost is the loss of community spirit and civilised liberalism.

Smoking indoors has now become an act of sheer defiance, rebellion, and anti- authoritarianism. Bands spark up on stage to look cool and hard. They used to smash their guitars up. To me, the sight of a smoker in a restaurant or bar is the epitome of civilisation: a society in which we decide where we go and what’s best for ourselves. If you don’t like smoke, don’t go in a pub (too late now). But for me, I’m going to follow my mate’s advice and take it up casually. There’s a lot to be said for a cheeky bifter.