John Docker: Is it time to outlaw smoking altogether?


Well, well, well. Is triple-party politics well and truly dead and buried in Britain? Has that pipe-smoking man of the people called Harold, finally found a successor to the title in a pint-swilling Euro-basher – clutching the eternal pot in one hand and the balance of power in the other? It certainly looks like it. And with the Greens polling as well as the Lib Dems, SNP bruising the Milli-Brown bruvvers (COR) - not to mention those Welsh wannabes, it’s not just the toffs who are in trouble! Roll on Rochester and Strood – let battle commence!

And it seems, our lives are about to be enriched by the return of cigarettes in TV advertisements next month. Not the real thing of course but the electronic substitute that apparently eases the craving for nicotine and, according to supporters of this dummy for grown ups, helps you quit the evil weed. That’s if it doesn’t blow up in the process of course.

So does this mean we are about to see the return of those iconic “You’re never alone with a Strand” advertisements or the big country Marlborough epics? King of cool dude images that so attracted my generation into the joys of puffing. Never mind the coughing and spluttering, drag it in and puff it out, be a heavy-breathing hero, that’s the way.

If we are and it does – if you see what I mean, it seems to me more like swapping one addiction for another rather than solving the problem. Surely we ought to be seeking to outlaw smoking altogether, not glamorizing an alternative – even if it is supposedly safer.

As a smug, self-satisfied, ex-smoker who gave up a 40-plus a day habit light years ago, my serious advice to all you young and not so young puffers out there is to pack it in. Never mind the scaremongering, I’m telling you, it’s hard enough coping with old age as it is, without all the problems caused by the deadly drags.

And it’s easier than you think. Honestly. All you need is a dollop of determination, a whiff of willpower but above all, the desire to quit. Until you really want to stop you might as well forget it. You’ll fall at the first hurdle. But when you do decide it’s time to quit, go for it.

You’ll feel a lot better and think of all the money you’ll save.

Midst all the electronic gismos on offer, I see a Japanese company claims to have solved the problem of operating a touch-screen smartphone with one hand. Got small hands? Can’t reach all the touch-screen? No problem, just extend the length of your thumb by half an inch, with a prosthetic digit no less. Smart solution? Sounds more like threading a needle wearing woolly gloves to me. So no thumbs up from yours truly.

Finally, did you see about the horse that walked into a Cheshire police station? Looking for the neigh-bourhood (COR) cop no doubt!