Country Gay is talking about giving up smoking. He’s decided it’s time and will attempt this effort with the help of Champix. Given that a packet of cigarettes cost about 9 euros a pack, I think he will be delighted with himself if he manages to kick them. Certainly it was the best decision I ever made nearly a decade ago.
Smoking, as CG informed me the other day, has definitely lost it’s ‘cool’ factor and is increasingly seen as a bit of a social faux pas. You’re not allowed smoke in pubs or restaurants or work places so you must remove yourself from friends and colleagues to indulge. Watching people shivering outside doorways while sucking desperately on their fags has reduced smoking to what it really is, a sort of sad addiction that robs your wallet as well as your health. CH is correct, there is nowt sexy or attractive about it.
Interestingly, chasing the smoker out doors is no longer enough. The HSE is to ban smoking from the grounds of its hospitals. This is a major decision. No longer will staff OR patient be able to indulge without leaving the grounds proper.
“The HSE’s director of public health policy, Dr Fenton Howell, who is a former chairman of Ash, the anti-smoking lobby group, said the policy had “gone without a hitch” in the hospitals already implementing it.
He added: “We need to recognise that there is almost a sense that cigarettes are not as dangerous as they are. Five and a half thousand people die from tobacco every year, and there are thousands admitted to hospital beds because of their addiction.
“The one thing that makes chronic bronchial problems worse is to continue smoking. Likewise surgical wounds heal better if you are not smoking.
“We have a responsibility to help patients manage their addiction and the illness caused by their addiction. If you don’t manage their addiction, you can’t manage their illness.
“We can’t manage patients by letting them continue the thing that brought them into hospital in the first place.”
(Remember the old smoking rooms of old in hospitals? Yellow grimy stained hell holes, reeking of fags and nicotine?)
Naturally this ban has opposition.
However, it has been the subject of fierce criticism by retired hospital doctor Dr John Nolan who described it in a letter to The Irish Times as an act of “primitive savagery”.
He explained: “The habitual smoker is an addict who in hospital needs the comfort of smoking to cope with an already gruelling experience. Its deliberate deprivation is an act of wanton, indeed wicked cruelty at a time when he or she is most in need of cherishing and comforting.”
It was also criticised by the smokers’ lobby group, Forest Éireann. Spokesman John Mallon said the smoking ban was introduced to protect non-smokers, yet those who smoked in the grounds of hospitals were a threat to nobody else.
“It is an attack on a minority based on the personal preferences of those in authority,” he said.
The outcome will be interesting. What will the seasoned smoker do when faced with such measures? Trot out onto the road? As much as I dislike smoking, are people harming anyone if they step OUTSIDE for a craft fag? Hard to know really, I’m against smoking of course, but it’s not illegal- yet! So can this be implicated without challenge? I guess we wait and see.
In the meantime, bravo CG and also to anyone who gave up in the New Year, best of luck to you all.