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Do you smoke?

Eddie Mair | 10:47 UK time, Wednesday, 29 November 2006

Or did you stop with the help of Allen Carr? I ask because Mr Carr has died of lung cancer. His illness had been publicised. At the time of the diagnosis, Mr Carr said: "Since I stopped smoking more than 23 years ago I have been the happiest man in the world. I still feel the same way." We'll reflect on his death in some way in the programme tonight.

We're all getting excited about next Tuesday's photo thing. I'm a little anxious that I will forget to bring in my camera. Over the coming days on the show, we may have tips for you on how to take a good snap.

By the way, we get a lot of requests to hear Chris Patten saying "Burma". Always happy to help.


  1. At 10:57 AM on 29 Nov 2006, Big Sister wrote:


    Good heavens, he's the original Frogger!

    But, since you are "always happy to help", could you just do that little Beach thingey for us?

    Pretty please?

    Just a new Beach.

    It's not much really, is it? It is?

    Oh well.....

  2. At 11:00 AM on 29 Nov 2006, RobbieJohnDo wrote:

    Chris Patten's Burma means he is denifitely a frog. He should join us froggers!

  3. At 11:04 AM on 29 Nov 2006, Fag Ash Lil wrote:

    On a serious note, it's rather nice to think that Mr. Carr felt this way even after his diagnosis. But, that he lived to 73 and became a millionaire on the back of his self help books may help explain his attitude.

    Looked at a picture of him and he certainly looked happy.

    Incidentally, I wonder how many announcers/presenters were/are smokers. I think we can guess some of them ...... Voices are dead giveaways, aren't they?

  4. At 11:12 AM on 29 Nov 2006, Big Sister wrote:


    Have you thought of asking Lissa to remind you? Or you could borrow her phone?

    Will the tips be in hard currency? Oh, I see, its about taking snaps ...... What's a snap Eddie? Does it involve alligators? Or Jack Russells?

    ....... And have you found a mooring yet? Other froggers are snapping at my heels. I feel like Captain Hook....

    And you're always happy to help.

  5. At 11:23 AM on 29 Nov 2006, Fearless Fred wrote:

    I'm an ex-smoker, although I try not to be one of those who suddenly start thrusting the fact in the faces of others, complaining when others smoke near me. That can be just rude... I gave up using just the nicotine patches. It sounds like the man you're talking about at least managed to find a way to make his quitting into a business. Good luck to him I would've said at the time. Do we know if his lung cancer developed recently (last 5-10 years), or had it been around since his smoking days? I'm just interested to know...

    I think you shouldn't give out tips. If everyone does the photos the same way, a lot of them will be similar. At least if there's a chance for people to make mistakes, then it'd make some of the photos more interesting :-)

  6. At 11:29 AM on 29 Nov 2006, member of the public. wrote:


    Please could I request The Rt Hon. Michael Howard saying "people"?

  7. At 11:29 AM on 29 Nov 2006, Big Sister wrote:


    The froggers make their feelings felt.


    Please find them a new beach before the camels drown!

  8. At 11:30 AM on 29 Nov 2006, Annasee wrote:

    Eddie - if you're looking for a photographic expert to pass on some top tips for next Tuesday, you could do worse than consult Mr B Marsden. He has written to you at 70 on the Apologies thread. Perhaps you haven't had a chance to see it yet? I certainly think an apology would be in order there - but from whom to whom?

    Perhaps you could get him on the programme for us? I'll be home on Tuesday so able to listen- looking forward to the excitement already!

  9. At 11:45 AM on 29 Nov 2006, Aunt Dahlia wrote:

    Ook ook! we've got comments categories. O Richard you are a wonder!
    I gave up smoking over 20 years ago, and still yearn. And yes, I did start very young. erhem

  10. At 11:47 AM on 29 Nov 2006, jonnie wrote:

    Just a wee word of caution... (just in case anyone is stupid enough)

    Many years ago on LBC Radio in London, Jeremy Beadle did a spoof broadcast pretending to the listeners that he was broadcasting live from the underground. The listeners were encouraged to hunt for him at various stations. Jeremy was really in the warmth of the studio in Gough Sq - just off Fleet St. Two interesting things happened!

    Firstly London Undergroung got in contact enquiring as to how LBC had achieved getting a radio signal from underground.

    Secondly and more seriously various parts of London came to a standstill as cars were attempting to do three point turns in dead end roads. This prompted the station to be visited and repremanded by the Met police

    The only thing that concerns me is that due to the large numbers of the PM listeners being in cars at 5PM next Tuesday, some may be tempted to play with their camera or mobile trying to take pictures of the M25 or similar. I'm sure there will at least be one person, so think before you click please!!

  11. At 11:48 AM on 29 Nov 2006, Miss Millicent Fritton wrote:

    Fag Ash Lil (3)?

    I think you are right, voices are a dead giveaway. I think David Miles is a forty-a-day Woodbine man. Or sixty!

  12. At 11:55 AM on 29 Nov 2006, Big Sister wrote:


    I commend your wisdom!

    On a much lighter note, does anyone else remember the Candid Camera moment at the roundabout?

    CC had careful changed all the signs on said roundabout to 'No Exit' and the sight of motorists entering the roundabout with no way of exiting was - Classic.

    Back to serious, though, maybe dear Eddie will give out a health warning.

    After he's founded the new beach.

  13. At 11:58 AM on 29 Nov 2006, Joe Palooka wrote:

    jonnie @ (9)

    Good advice. Important advice. But why did you have to remind me about Jeremy Beadle?

    BTW: Beadle's smoke don't they?

  14. At 12:11 PM on 29 Nov 2006, Big Sister wrote:

    Hurrah for the Categories!

    Now, Eddie, about that new Beach we needed .....

  15. At 12:12 PM on 29 Nov 2006, Eddie Mair wrote:

    So what should I call the New New Beach? Thoughts?

  16. At 12:17 PM on 29 Nov 2006, Lissa, PM Blog Librarian wrote:

    Dear all

    You'll have noticed that Richard the Blog Wizard has put a couple of new catgories on the left hand side of the blog. We're trying to sort out all the posts with audio, photos, beaches, postcards and any other sensible categories we can think of. To that end I'm sitting at home with my cat going through post by post.

    Be patient. Not sure if it will work straight away. In fact why am I even pretending it will? But it will eventually.

    Cross fingers


  17. At 12:19 PM on 29 Nov 2006, RobbieJohnDo wrote:

    Froggers' Beach or your choice Eddie

  18. At 12:25 PM on 29 Nov 2006, Big Sister wrote:


    Thank you!

    Advent Island? (to be followed by Christmas Island when it has to be moved...)

    Or, just Another Beach(1)

  19. At 12:26 PM on 29 Nov 2006, Big Sister wrote:

    Happy to endorse RJD

  20. At 12:27 PM on 29 Nov 2006, Anne P. wrote:

    Eddie (15)

    I did suggest on a previous thread that we should dedicate it to Nick Clarke, so perhaps calling it the Nick Clarke Memorial Beach. If not then we will ensure that the bar is so dedicated.

    Otherwise the really boring and totalitarian "Beach Number 3, 4 etc" would at least aid in finding it/them once we have a string of threads to embroider with.

  21. At 12:28 PM on 29 Nov 2006, Anne P. wrote:

    Congratulations to the blog wizards - I see that the new 'Categories' actually work today, even if the numbering looks a bit suspect.

    Keep up the good work.

    How about a search facility now?

    (and a consistent time interval for the generation of the malicious posting message which has just caught me)

  22. At 12:29 PM on 29 Nov 2006, Eddie Mair wrote:

    RobbieJohnDo (16) - the choice really must be that of the froggers. I'll start a new new beach tomorrow - will keep an eye on the suggestions for a name here, and if you can reach a consensus, that will save me having to choose. YOU decide! Will watch with interest...

  23. At 12:30 PM on 29 Nov 2006, Big Sister wrote:

    Now that I've really thought about it, I'd rather like it to be called Eddie's Beach.

    I hope that will encourage him to join us there when he's a spare moment away from the day job, sipping his Jose Cuervos or whatever, and just chilling out.

    But PM, Froggers, or anything else that appeals. And, Eddie, I think you should make the choice. YOU are its patron saint!

  24. At 12:37 PM on 29 Nov 2006, Chrissie the Trekkie wrote:

    Ah, another reformed smoker dies of cancer so the die-hard tobacco addicts can rail at us non-smokers again that the link between smoking and lung cancer is a crock.... Shame.

  25. At 12:37 PM on 29 Nov 2006, Big Sister wrote:



    We haven't heard from you for ages. And your cat is there too. Have you got your camera phone there? Can we have a picture? We know you're shy, but your cat ?

    And the news from you is very encouraging. A beach hut for us. Lovely.

    And Eddie is fixing a new beach for us.

    The sun is shining, Chris Patten is ribbeting, my cup runneth over ....

  26. At 12:38 PM on 29 Nov 2006, RobbieJohnDo wrote:


    Thanks for the efforts regarding the beach.

    The real reason for the beach is so that we can have a bit of extended frivolity and escapism in such a place. If we do it on the daily blog/threads then we can appear to be too much of an "in-crowd" and put other people off and thus stifle the blog.

    It has been suggested that a new beach every week would keep it local so that people can find it easily and its renewal would keep it small enough for those not on broadband to comfortably access it.

    We do promise that we will not be entirely serious on the main blog/threads though.

  27. At 12:43 PM on 29 Nov 2006, Stephen, Leader of STROP wrote:

    Anne P.

    Absolutely - The Nick Clarke Memorial Beach.

    On which subject - I have been listening on CD to The Hitchhiker's Guide to the Galaxy - Quandary Phase, and who should I hear, but the late, great Mr Clarke (as himself) interviewing Patrick Moore - classic!

    I never knew Nick was a Thespian!

  28. At 12:46 PM on 29 Nov 2006, Aperitif wrote:

    Lissa (16),

    When you said "left hand side" did you mean "right hand side"? Or is it the other way around to you because you are looking at it from the inside???

  29. At 12:49 PM on 29 Nov 2006, Eddie Mair wrote:

    Big Sister (21) that's kind of you - and I really will use the name people agree on - but I am in lots of other places on the blog...maybe keeping my name out of it would be best!

  30. At 12:52 PM on 29 Nov 2006, Sara wrote:

    I like Big Sis's idea at 18 - Advent Beach. Then we can all swim out to Christmas Island. Or maybe someone will push the boat out.

    And then when Christmas Island's full we can all cruise off into the sunshine ...

    I'm a smoker who doesn't smoke at present. I gave up in 1987 and then started again in 1995. Now I've just about managed to stop again (despite some backsliding). Like Ffred, I'm not smug about it. Lung cancer doesn't discriminate anyway - my father in law got it and he never smoked, and we all know people who've lived to a ripe old age whilst puffing like mad. I really love smoking, but it's unfashionable and I guess it makes one cough.

    Btw Fifi - I loved your giggles!

  31. At 12:54 PM on 29 Nov 2006, Lissa Cook, PM Bloh Archivist wrote:

    PS Today is a good day to post complaints, glitches etc while I'm working on the archive. (Be gentle).

    PPS just inadvertently caused havoc with the categories. Poor Richard the Blog Wizard - he's going to have to be patient with me.

    PPS I have noted that Jonnie called me "Lisa" on 17th November. I refer you to earlier posts about me being Lissa with a double s. It drives my Mum mad. She texts me everytime Brian Hanrahan gets it wrong. Luckily she doesn't blog.

  32. At 01:00 PM on 29 Nov 2006, Aperitif wrote:

    Five things about my admittedly-not-very-nice-but-firmly-held-attitude-to-smoking:

    1. If you smoke in public I tend to assume you are stupid. This is because you are not ashamed of your habit - otherwise you would not do it in public, would you? You are stupid because you pay a lot of money to big companies and their very wealthy share holders to purchase a product that endangers your life, makes you smell and irritates a lot of people around you. Yet somehow you think it is "sexy" or "rebellious" or even just "OK" to do it where everyone can see you, and thus I know that you haven't even the smallest capacity for wider thinking, and are not a rebel but a sheep.

    2. If you smoke only in private and are a little bit ashamed of your habit and would like to give up, then you merely once made a mistake by starting and we all make mistakes, and often need encouargement and support to find our way back from them. The above harshness does not apply to you and I wish you well in your attempts to stop.

    3. Those who have stopped - well done - I've seen it close up and I know it is very hard.

    4. Yes, voices are a dead giveaway. Along with the bad breath and smelly clothes.

    5. I really can't think of anything else about which I am this judgemental, but we all have our faults. And I think this one is preferable to smoking.

    Normal service will be resumed on another thread.

  33. At 01:06 PM on 29 Nov 2006, Fearless Fred wrote:

    Eddie, I'd like to suggest the following for the beaches (particularly when you're setting one up regularly as is being discussed on the Woody thread).

    1st Beach to be named the Nick Clarke Memorial Beach
    2nd: Erics' Extravagent Beach
    3rd: Sequins' Super Beach
    4th: Lissa-with-an-as' Lugubrious Beach
    5th: Ruperts' Retreat Beach and so on...

    After we've gone through the PM team, then I suggest regular froggers names are used (I know Aperitif would love it if you named a whole thread after her. After all, she seems to feel you're ignoring her...

  34. At 01:07 PM on 29 Nov 2006, Aperitif wrote:

    How about "Mair Harbour". It just has a nice ring to it, don't you think?

    Or Eric's Oasis?

    Or The Third Beach?

  35. At 01:09 PM on 29 Nov 2006, Lee Vitout wrote:

    With grateful thanks, for all her hard work and achivement. I say let's dedicate the new beach to the very very lovely Big Sister.

    How about calling it: Beauty & The Beach?

    Big Sis,
    xx :) xx

  36. At 01:11 PM on 29 Nov 2006, Eddie Mair wrote:

    Actually (29) it drives Lissa mad. We do it all the time for that reason.

  37. At 01:14 PM on 29 Nov 2006, Belinda wrote:

    Eric Muir's Beach?

    Perfectly Marvellous Beach?

    Kermit's Beach?

    Beached Mail?

  38. At 01:14 PM on 29 Nov 2006, Annasee wrote:

    Lissa - so WHY doesn't she blog? Get her along, quick, so she can see just what your job involves!
    PS is there a name change to "Bloh" now? I like it

  39. At 01:17 PM on 29 Nov 2006, Big Sister wrote:

    Lord Mair,

    Your name can never be heard or seen too often .... But I take your point.

    If we went with Robbie's suggestion (and assuming that wouldn't be too much work for Eddie), we could have something very simple (yet obvious - and obvious is often best), such as The (PM) Beach (1), followed by (2), etc., which, when Lissa's worked her magic, will be v. easy to locate. Or followed by the date - but that would require a degree of consistency which might backfire at times when Eddie/Sequin/Lissa/Richard/Lissa's cat are too busy to set one up on the 'right' day.

    But I still prefer Eddie's Beach. I know he's being every so modest (as always). However, it is very much his style that has brought the Frog together in this way, and I think it worth having that recalled.

    BTW, Eddie, I was watching Mr. DG Thompson (and you didn't answer that question, which makes me think 'twas he who admired the Blog .....!) being interviewed last night, and he was very full of the Blog stuff, referring (in an oblique way - no reference to the PM Blog) to the interactivity that now goes on (well, he didn't use those words, but it was the drift of what he said). And given that he complimented you on the Blog, I think he may very well have had you/us in mind.

    So, the question is, does Mr. DGT participate, d'you think?

  40. At 01:21 PM on 29 Nov 2006, Welsh wizard wrote:


    Ydy hon blog anti Cymraeg?

  41. At 01:24 PM on 29 Nov 2006, Big Sister wrote:

    Oh my gosh! Lee ............ I'm red all over with the embarrassment of it!

    But it really is Eddie's beach (or, let us say, 'tis the spirit of the man which draws us together and inspires the frolicking).

    Lissa: Whatever is a bloh? Is it where your cat sits?

  42. At 01:25 PM on 29 Nov 2006, Big Sister wrote:

    Appy (at 34 as I write this)

    Your Mair Harbour sounds good - or could I respectfully tweak into Mair Head? Which could lead to endless laughs.

    Though, on reflection, it could still be Mair Harbour, overlooked by Mair Head.

  43. At 01:26 PM on 29 Nov 2006, gossipmistress wrote:

    Big Sis - I've just emailed my 'new beach every monday' suggestion in but now see I'm a bit behind the times!

  44. At 01:26 PM on 29 Nov 2006, Aperitif wrote:

    No, don't do it - 'The PM Bloh' will just make me have even ruder thoughts about Eric...

  45. At 01:28 PM on 29 Nov 2006, Kate O'Mara wrote:

    I'm not that fussed what name is given. Just as long the weather is lovely and warm. That'll do for me.

  46. At 01:31 PM on 29 Nov 2006, gossipmistress wrote:

    Ooh! Now a signpost to the beach has appeared, what an excellent idea thank you Lissa/Richard!

  47. At 01:33 PM on 29 Nov 2006, RobbieJohnDo wrote:


    You missed a chance there. You should have suggested Aperitif's Place.

    Think of the fun you could have had if Eddie every visited.

  48. At 01:40 PM on 29 Nov 2006, Anne P. wrote:

    I love Fearless' ideas (33) - having a theme would be good and much more imaginative than my numbering suggestion.

    Moreover we could all post alliterative suggestions rather as we did for the strapline.

  49. At 01:43 PM on 29 Nov 2006, Welsh wizard wrote:


    Ddiolch 'ch achos 'myn postio.

    A ddyhea bara.

  50. At 01:47 PM on 29 Nov 2006, Big Sister wrote:

    So the Lord Mair could make an appearance at Aperitif's Place?

  51. At 01:47 PM on 29 Nov 2006, gossipmistress wrote:

    Fearless (33) I like the changing name bit - then it could evolve, just like the frog and the froggers

  52. At 01:50 PM on 29 Nov 2006, Anne P. wrote:

    And back on topic...

    I have never smoked - no virtue there just a perpetual fear of ending up addicted, watching my father trying to give up throughout my childhood.

    He escaped cancer but not the cardiovascular effects and ended up, having given up on retirement, with bypass surgery and eventual ischemic dementia. A beloved uncle who gave up 25 years ago has just died of lung cancer.

    My sisters both married smokers and both smoke/have smoked as do half their children. It really does perpetuate to the third and fourth generation.

    I think it's an evil habit perpetuated by an immoral industry. I am just waiting for the time I can enter a pub again without coming out reeking of smoke and rushing for a complete change of clothes.

    You may have guessed I'm with Aperitif (32) and the absolutely ANTI brigade.

  53. At 01:56 PM on 29 Nov 2006, Piper wrote:

    ...jonnie 10, good advice AND just had a chance to look at your PM site. Excellent!

  54. At 01:57 PM on 29 Nov 2006, Rufus T. Firefly wrote:

    In Lorne, Australia, along the Graet Ocean Road there's a Bakery called Beach Buns.

  55. At 01:59 PM on 29 Nov 2006, Lissa, PM BloGGGGG ed wrote:

    I'm back to October 12th with the archiving. Richard the Blog Wizard tells me I'll have to REBUILD THE ENTIRE SITE once I'm done. How exciting is that? If it all crashes you'll know who to blame.

    PS Yes Aperitif, I'm left-right dyslexic (or at least that's what my driving instructor used to tell me).

    PPS Ooops about the spelling mistake.

    PPPS Big Sister...I've posted a picture of Mr Enos Knibbs (my cat) to the F***** site...click through. Didn't think it would be appropriate to post on the actual blog/bloh though it did used to belong to Roger the Assistant Editor so it really is a PM team cat. He named him.

  56. At 02:05 PM on 29 Nov 2006, Fearless Fred wrote:

    Anne P & Appy re: smoking. Believe me, I'd say a sizeable percentage of smokers realise how stupid it is. I gave up about four years ago, but rted up again (no excuses offered). That's why I was on the side of "treat the addicts" in the heroin debate last week. I know there were other factors involved (legality, sourcing, etc..) but as a nicotine addict, I had a bit of an understanding of what withdrawl from an addictive chemical can be like...

  57. At 02:10 PM on 29 Nov 2006, Dr Hackenbush wrote:

    I don’t smoke, do you? And I rather dislike it when others do so in my vicinity, for all the usual reasons.

    (32) Aperitif
    What are your views on teenagers that take up smoking due to peer pressure, as opposed to someone well into their twenties taking it up because it ‘looks good’?

  58. At 02:18 PM on 29 Nov 2006, Big Sister wrote:

    Hi Lissa,

    Mr Enos Knibbs is lovely.

    Don't worry if the site crashes - Richard will rebuild it.

    Does Enos ever go to Studio 1?

  59. At 02:29 PM on 29 Nov 2006, Cyril Connelly wrote:

    'BeeBee by Sea' would be my suggestion although 'BeeBee sur mer' might suit froggers better.

    Sandy or stoned?

  60. At 02:30 PM on 29 Nov 2006, RobbieJohnDo wrote:

    Ok then back to the serious stuff on smoking.

    Appy - I agree with nearly everything you say especially in your first point but not everything in: "you think it is "sexy" or "rebellious" or even just "OK" to do it where everyone can see you, and thus I know that you haven't even the smallest capacity for wider thinking, and are not a rebel but a sheep"

    I hope I have always had some capacity for wider thought but I will admit I did think I was ""sexy" or "rebellious" or even just "OK" but only for about a year after I started smoking at 16. After that I didn't like being a smoker but I enjoyed cigarettes, if that makes any sense. Although trying countless times to kick the habit I never succeeded.

    I did finally give them up 20 years ago when my children were born and it was dead, dead easy. I think for the first time I really wanted to give up and I found cold turkey a complete doddle.

    Anne P - Agree totally with the thoughts on entering smoke free pubs etc. In the south of Ireland it has worked a treat.

    I'm just as ashamed of the unpleasant atmosphere that I and other smokers created for non-smokers as I am worried what years of smoking, albeit 20 years ago, did to me.

  61. At 02:50 PM on 29 Nov 2006, Lissa, PM Blog Apprentice wrote:


    Just categorised everything and then saved and rebuilt the entire site and it didn't work because I didn't save page by page. So tedious. Richard is so patient.

    PS Big Sister - Mr Knibbs is magnificent. He went to the vets this week and has lost 1.5kg. He was up to 9kg. But apparently not overweight but 7.5kg is still very heavy.

    PPS Welsh Wizard. ..all I can say in Welsh is Hogan Bach / Drowg, Tid-i-Mar. My Dad had a Welsh Collie. (forgive the phonetics).

  62. At 02:58 PM on 29 Nov 2006, RobbieJohnDo wrote:

    With the beach-naming thing I think that there is a danger of us trying to be too clever and making it unnecessarily hard for PM to manage and the frequent and, just as important infrequent, froggers to find and access.

    Let’s just be clever within the Beach and keep the name simple and constant. The Beach, Froggers’ Beach or whatever and followed by 1,2,3 if needed.

  63. At 03:00 PM on 29 Nov 2006, gossipmistress wrote:

    I've never smoked and resent having to breathe in other people's smoke. Given the opportunity I would ban smoking in ALL public places - inside and out!

    I agree Anne P that it will be good when pubs are smoke-free but I'm sure we will have to walk through a fog of smoke to get into or out of the building. I work nextdoor to a large hospital where the whole site is 'No smoking', the result of which is that all day there are miserable groups of smokers skulking around the perimeter walls and cigarette ends all over the pavement.

  64. At 03:06 PM on 29 Nov 2006, Big Sister wrote:

    RJD: Your comments are very thoughtful.

    A serious posting from me.

    As a non smoker, I tried - on the basis of not wanting to infringe upon the freedom of others - to grin and bear it when others smoked, but in time I became seriously allergic to it, and I mean seriously. If exposed to cigarette smoke for more than a few moments, I start to become very breathless and have to leave the area.

    Some years ago, after this allergy began to manifest itself, I had some friends to stay with me who were both smokers. I had always, up til then, made a point of tolerating their smoking on the grounds mentioned before, though had never particularly enjoyed it. Although I knew the smoke was starting to cause problems for me, and I mentioned as much to them, they chainsmoked the evening away. That night I could hardly breathe, despite having opened every window in the house.

    Following thisI explained to them, by phone, what had happened and that I would have to ask them,from thenceforth, to smoke in the garden rather than in the house as it was making me seriously unwell. I was as apologetic as I could possibly be about the situation and made it clear that I was not offended by their smoke, just made unwell by it.

    They made it very clear to me that they considered this unacceptable and - Guess what? - I never heard from them again.

    We had been really good friends, and helped one another through a lot of 'stuff', but this was such an issue for them that they could not see over it.

    I am still upset by the memory of this, but it has brought home to me how very difficult the smoking issue can be for some people. Sadly, those same people don't seem to understand that their habit can be extremely harmful to others.

    Now back to my usual silliness.

  65. At 03:11 PM on 29 Nov 2006, Aperitif wrote:


    A couple of you have asked questions or made comments about my (admittedly not nice) views about smoking. I should do them justice and respond in full but I'm afraid I'm all overcome bythis potential vist of Eric to my place. I may need to lie down under my desk for a while after I've posted this!

    RJD, It's the lack of shame; the lack of knowledge that many, many people around them will be thinking they are stupid (as well as smelly etc.) that makes me feel that way. As I said under point 2, if they are embarassed about it (and thus try to avoid doing it in public) then my harsh words under 1 do not apply. Congrats on giving up.

    Doc, I believe that 20-somethings start to smoke for the same reasons that teenagers do. Only they should know better by then. And points noted apply to all ages. It's easy to tell you are above this sort of thing.

    Fearless, I don't think anything that you've said contradicts anything I've said - what is stupid is not 'smoking' alone but 'smoking and not wanting to give up'. The latter to me is directly correlated with stupidity. Congrats on giving up to you too.

    Gosh, I wonder how many people I've managed to offend today? No what? - I don't care: I'd rather they kept their smelliness and sub-standard brains away from me anyway. Except (hypocrisy alert) Johnny Depp smokes, apparently. I could cope with him being stupider than I'd hoped.

    Reading back I see I come across as angry about smokers. Not really - I've got a bit carried away. Rather I tend to feel sorry for them.

    Who's not speaking to me now?

  66. At 03:14 PM on 29 Nov 2006, Aperitif wrote:

    Lissa, I too have had a look at Mr Knibbs and I have fallen in love. You can tell Eddie he need fear my excessive adoration no longer - he has been replaced in my affections by your cat. Sigh...

  67. At 03:15 PM on 29 Nov 2006, RobbieJohnDo wrote:

    Lissa - so far on this theme you have described as:

    Lissa, PM Blog Librarian

    Lissa , PM Bloh Archivist

    Lissa, PM BloGGGG ed

    Lissa, PM Blog Apprentice

    This is not really an ideally structured career progression you know!

  68. At 03:16 PM on 29 Nov 2006, Fearless Fred wrote:

    ooh Lissa! The categroies are working brilliantly! Working from home with Mr Knibbs definitely has helped:-)

  69. At 03:54 PM on 29 Nov 2006, Charles Hatton wrote:

    Hello all, you lovable loonies ...

    Sorry for the lack of contribution by me recently this is due to ... blah, blah, blah, etc, ad-nauseoum.

    Here's a little thought though ...

    Since the beach is just a place to congregate, chat and have fun, how about a new beach every day? Perhaps, even, a super-techy, auto generated one. At least that would save any searching around to find out where everyone is on any particular day.

    ... or perhaps I should keep my thoughts to myself. At least that's what people who know me say ...

  70. At 04:01 PM on 29 Nov 2006, Aunt Dahlia wrote:

    Cyril Connelly currently (59)


  71. At 04:08 PM on 29 Nov 2006, Big Sister wrote:

    If the technology can cope, I'm right with you on your suggestion. But otherwise, I'd go with the Beach (1), Beach (2), etc. - i.e., nice and simple.

  72. At 04:25 PM on 29 Nov 2006, admin annie wrote:

    Smoking? well I too gave up, about 10 years ago. I cut down by 50% on my own then had a couple of months with the patches and haven't looked back since. I would very nuch like to know why I could do it with nicotine relatively easily and can't manage at all with chocolate though.

    Up here in Scotland smoking in enclosed public spaces was banned some months ago and it does make for more pleasant atmospheres when you go out to eat etc.

    I used to work in an office which overlooked a non smoking city hospital and I was always either amused or bemused, never quite sure which, by the people who would crowd round the door, attached to mobile drips, to smoke.

    now I'm off to look at Lissa's cat.

    Re the beach, I think we're better calling the bar after Nick Clark because we do take that with us whereas a beach as we know, gets left behind.

  73. At 05:07 PM on 29 Nov 2006, Peter Wharton wrote:

    If I make a donation/loan to the BBC, after the lottery to-night, will you do me the honour of naming the Beach after me!

  74. At 05:15 PM on 29 Nov 2006, Humph wrote:

    Hi Mr. Mayor

    I think that if we are going to get a new beach tomorrow, it should be "the newer beach". We do not really have enough time for a full discussion and decision process. As you will have noticed, there have been a number of good suggestions based on names etc. When we have the next beach up and running we can discuss ideas for further beach names there and then possibly have a vote on jonnie's pmblog extra site.


  75. At 05:26 PM on 29 Nov 2006, Charles Hatton wrote:

    Aperitif (65)

    I'm still speaking to you ...

    ... see I just did!

  76. At 05:47 PM on 29 Nov 2006, marymary wrote:

    Um, I see that I have a sub-par brain, am stupid, smelly and unwelcome. :(

    I have been addicted to nicotene for many years. On a few occasions I have given up for short periods of time, but I've never managed to stick with it. I've tried all sorts of remedies. Cold Turkey has never worked. At the moment I'm on a managed intake, that is no more than x a day. I've tried this before I got down to about 5 a day but something happened (can't remember what it was) just as I was getting down to nil.

    I will try to give up, but I have to say that I like smoking.

    I do not smoke in the company of others who don't like it, I have stopped smoking in my office, I never smok in other people's homes unless they too smoke, I sometimes do smoke outdoors but only when there's no place else to go.

    It's an addiction. It doesn't actually help the addicted to give up by castigating them and telling them they are stupid. I think a lot of people are stupid for doing some of the things that they do, but I know that remonstrating with them will generally have the opposite effect.

    So I suppose I won't be welcome on the beach any more.


  77. At 05:49 PM on 29 Nov 2006, Chris wrote:

    Over 15 years ago I was a 50 aday smoker. I read Allen Carrs "Easy way to stop smoking" and within a week was a non-smoker. I haven't smoked since. Not bad for the price of a paperback. Perhaps the woman from ASH, who made the patronising and sneering comments about Carrs method was suffering from a case of sour grapes. Of course Carrs method is commercial but so are the drug companies with their patches and potions she appeared to love so much. At least Carr's method didn't tie me into months of expensive medication.

  78. At 05:51 PM on 29 Nov 2006, Eddie Mair wrote:

    Come on folks - I need a consensus on the new new beach...and do we want one every Monday?

  79. At 06:00 PM on 29 Nov 2006, Fearless Fred wrote:

    Hi Appy (75) I honestly didn't think I was disagreeing with you at all, and I wasn't taking umbrage either:-) (I wouldn't even know where to take the umbrage to!). I can fully understand your stand and applaud you for not succumbing to the evil weed as I did. It's not something I'm proud of. Really all I was saying was that like any other drug, it is not always easy to give up once you are hooked, and that's what a smoker is, a nicotine addict.

    Big Sis (64) I'm sorry to hear that your friends were as anti-social as they were. When I was smoking, I would always ask if the people around me wanted me to go to a different room or even outside before lighting up. To not do so is simply rude...

    Still, I must wander off to the wood to relax before thinking about cigarettes for so long starts the cravings up....


  80. At 06:06 PM on 29 Nov 2006, Fearless Fred wrote:

    Oh, I've finally managed to listen to the clip. It's perfect! Well chosen, Eddie!

  81. At 06:07 PM on 29 Nov 2006, Aperitif wrote:

    Charles (75),

    I'm so glad, and I'm pleased you're back. Hope whatever kept you away wasn't too stessful.

    Do yo think anyone's likely to post "I'm not talking to you Aperitif", just so I can go "Ner ner n-ner ner - you just have"? No, thought not.

    Sorry - feeling very childish today :-)

    A, x.

  82. At 06:13 PM on 29 Nov 2006, admin annie wrote:

    come on gang, Eddie's shouting again.we need a show of hands for name of beach.

    Why don't you just give us a new beach every Monday Eddie and call it 'this week's beach'?.

  83. At 06:21 PM on 29 Nov 2006, Big Sister wrote:


    We're an unruly lot, aren't we?

    Can I suggest you post us up a Beachy Head (as in summit) tomorrow and we can run a proper discussion there? Only we're running on several thread at the moment, and I think folk may be losing it ........?

    Just a thought!

  84. At 06:46 PM on 29 Nov 2006, Aperitif wrote:

    Admin Annie (82), Brilliant idea.

    Fearless (79), I agree, totally, that it isn't easy to give up anything once you are hooked, and that smokers are nicotine addicts. Like I said, I've seen it close up and I know how hard it is. I applaud anyone who's had the courage and strength to get over any addiction, and would really want to support anyone who is even thinking of trying. My harsh words were reserved for those who still think that smoking makes them look sexy/rebellious/cool and have no desire to stop. That is what makes them stupid. (I mean, it's the opposite of rebellious - it demonstrates that they have, at some point at least, been easily led/persuaded by advertising etc.) I know I went a bit OTT in making my point, but I wanted to get across my strength of feeling. And I realise that some people will be brassed off, but I imagine that they are a bit like Big Sister's so-called friends and not worth bothering about (you're better off without them girl!)

    Oh, I'm obstroperous today!

  85. At 06:46 PM on 29 Nov 2006, RobbieJohnDo wrote:

    Yes Eddie

    This weeks beach - every Monday

  86. At 06:54 PM on 29 Nov 2006, Basil Brown wrote:

    From Chris...

    "Perhaps the woman from ASH, who made the patronising and sneering comments about Carrs method was suffering from a case of sour grapes."

    Well, that and the fact that Ms. Arnott's organisation receives significant funding from the pharmaceutical industry and "charity" status from the government. [Notice how she kept praising the "benefits" of nicotine-patches and NHS Stop-Smoking" in her interview?

    Very rich for her to allege that Carr's success-rate figure hadn't been subjected to "proper" scientific scrutiny... this from an organisation who have mastered Goebbals' Big Lie technique with regard to perpetrating a wholly unrealistic set of claims around so-called "passive smoking".

  87. At 07:05 PM on 29 Nov 2006, marymary wrote:

    A new Beach every Monday would be nice.

    As for names. It should just have the word Beach in it, the rest Mr Mair could improvise on.

    Just my idea (oh and can we have a discrete corner behind a rock for the lone smoker?)


  88. At 07:22 PM on 29 Nov 2006, RobbieJohnDo wrote:


    Don't even dare think that! When everyone on the beach has the same opinions, values, outlook and likes & dislikes then I'll leave.

    Until then, let's argue and discuss with grace and understanding.

  89. At 07:33 PM on 29 Nov 2006, Aunt Dahlia wrote:

    Marymary, I don't care what you do so long as you don't frighten the reindeer.
    I think enough on the beach naming. Just call them beach 1/2/3 etc. Start a new one every Monday.
    Keep it simple


  90. At 07:34 PM on 29 Nov 2006, Ed Iglehart wrote:


    I'll keep you company behind the rock, so long as it ain't unadulterated tobacco.

  91. At 07:37 PM on 29 Nov 2006, marymary wrote:

    Thanks RobbieDo. I promise I won't smoke near anybody else and I'll check which way the wind is blowing too! ;)


  92. At 08:05 PM on 29 Nov 2006, Basil Brown wrote:

    Hmmm, just read Aperitif's diatribe which boils down to the "smokers are stupid" cliche. Smokers should feel ashamed? Of what exactly? The effect of their addictions on others? So I take it none of YOUR addictions impact on others in any way? You drive a car? Travel by plane? Own more than one property?

    What really tickles me about the hypocrisy from zealous anti-smokers is that they are so quick to label others "sheep" without checking to see if they have themselves just fallen victim to a herdish way of thinking.

    For "passive smoking" is a lie. A Big Lie. It has been repeated ad-nauseum to the point where a majority believe it. There is, presented, a scientific consensus which just does not exist. The majority of the 140+ ETS studies found no statistically-significant link between secondhand smoke-exposure and increased mortality. Okay, a few did. And I can quote you a few demonstrating an INVERSE risk.

    Epidemiology is an inexact science. To establish "proof" of a cause-effect relationship, one must set the bar quite high: a 3X relationship would demonstrate "proof beyond reasonable doubt". A 2X relationship would strongly indicate a relationship. Anything much below this should never be used as a basis for legislation, as there may be so many "hidden" factors influencing the result. The figure used by ASH/DoH [much the same thing, really] is 1.14, or a 14% increase... and all according to a very SELECTIVE meta-analysis of studies supporting DoH/ASH's brief.

    So ner. And, no. I won't be cowering behind a rock or standing in a shadey corner with my dunce's cap on. You'll have to find another classmate to condemn in support of your superiority complex.

  93. At 08:34 PM on 29 Nov 2006, admin annie wrote:

    Oh dear! Basil, I know Appy can pefectly well defend herself, if she felt the need, but that doesn't mean that mates shouldn't come out in support. I don't think you have read what she said very carefully, as she said that she tended to assume that people who smoked in public and who didn't want to stop were stupid. She also said it was a habit that irritated those around them. She didn't say anything about passive smoking.

    I don't think that driving a car ( although I don't ) or owning more than one property are addictions are they? As it happens I do own two properties but only because I moved and the one I used to live in has been on the market for a long time. When it's sold in January will that make me someone you could speak to again? Actually if I had the money I would buy a flat in Sydney but would that make me a hypocrite, as you seem to suggest?

    Like FFred I am not proud of the fact that I once smoked and consider myself stupid for ever having started. I AM proud of myself for managing to give up which wasn't easy but at least I did it.

    Now perhaps you are a vegetarian? I have some strong views on vegetarians, and if Eddie ever starts a topic on them I'll pitch in with them. And then you can sneer at me too.

    Until then, we normally manage to agree to disagree here politely, even on the subject of Cherie Blair. So you didn't really need to express yourself quite so strongly as you did.

  94. At 08:48 PM on 29 Nov 2006, marymary wrote:

    admin annie, I don't consider myself stupid for starting to smoke all those years ago. I just did. It was what people did. My mum and dad smoked and loads of people around me smoked. Nobody remarked much on it.

    I re-read Aperitif's post again in the light of Basil's and I read about smokers needing to be ashamed of themselves, there is some understanding for those who smoke in private but feel a little ashamed. I smoke in private and don't feel ashamed. I wonder why I should?

    I do not feel ashamed about the fact that I smoke. I would prefer not to but mainly for financial reasons and convenience (I don't like being addicted, does that make sense).

    If you are going to tell Basil off for expressing himself strongly then at least be consistent. I don't like being called stupid. Is that a polite way of discussing stuff?


  95. At 09:04 PM on 29 Nov 2006, admin annie wrote:

    Sorry marymary, you have took me up wrong. I consider myself to have been stupid to start smoking, that doesn't mean I call other people stupid for doing so. Both my parents smoked and I am well aware that for a long time the first cigarette was a rite of passage.

    Did I seem to be 'telling Basil off'? I thought I was just pointing out politely that we usually disagree politely here.

    I am sorry if you felt got at. It certainly wasn't intended. I certainly didn't intend you or anyone else to feel that I had called you stupid. Because I didn't. Again I am sorry of you think I did.

  96. At 09:20 PM on 29 Nov 2006, RobbieJohnDo wrote:


    "a bunch of intelligent, friendly, opinionated but (usually) gentle colleagues and friends"


  97. At 09:22 PM on 29 Nov 2006, RobbieJohnDo wrote:

    annie & mary

    enough. .. can I entice you to the wood by the beach where Anne P is proffering that aucenstan malt (or however it is spelt).

    there now is an easy link at the top of thread.
    - Signposts to the Beach.

  98. At 09:24 PM on 29 Nov 2006, marymary wrote:

    admin annie, you did seem to be telling Basil off a bit. You were doing it in a nice way but it seemed a bit unfair given that Aperitif openly admitted that her words were harsh.

    It seems strange to me that last week we had a debate about heroin addiction and many people (the majority?) were very sympathetic to help and assistance without condoning the illegality, but regarding a legal addiction today there is hardly any sympathy. Yet ... the item on PM was about a man who had smoked 100 a day, given up, tried to help others, was given "bad press" by ASH on the programme for spurious reasons, and on and on ...

    I was asked some years ago about smoking and polluting the atmosphere and I asked the lady on the panel if she drove a car. She said she did ... I got the job. I think that was what Basil was getting at. Maybe he was making a better point.


  99. At 09:34 PM on 29 Nov 2006, Christine wrote:


    I really want to give up smoking....somebody help me please!

  100. At 10:03 PM on 29 Nov 2006, RobbieJohnDo wrote:

    Eddie - re The Beach

    I hope this is where you are coming to find out the results of our discussions.

    It's very hard to have a democratic vote on the blog but I've had a trawl round the views on various threads and the consensus seems to be to keep it simple. Just:

    The Beach
    or This Week's Beach

    Don't know if we need to give them a number as the week can identify it.

    Apologies to all froggers for my presumption in submitting this.

  101. At 10:07 PM on 29 Nov 2006, admin annie wrote:

    Christine, if you really want to give up you will. Both Ffred and I have mentioned nicotine patches. They are good. You'll probably have to pay to get them on a private prescription, but when I had them they didn't cost much more than about 5 packets of fags. Go and talk to your GP about it.

    Don't get downhearted if you don't manage it the first time. I didn't. It was my third go before I truly kicked the habit.

    It's not easy since nicotine is very addictive. But it can be done. Give it a go.

  102. At 11:11 PM on 29 Nov 2006, Dr Hackenbush wrote:

    In response to Basil,

    Whether passive smoking leads to illness, or otherwise, may well be under debate - but that doesn’t change the fact that, for many non-smokers, cigarette smoke is not pleasant to be around. Your response to Aperitif does seem to have missed some of her meaning, as I understand it.

    I have never smoked. I understand that it is an addictive habit, and therefore is probably an expensive one. I don’t quite understand, with this in mind, why someone would choose to start in the first place. I would invite all contributors to fill me in on how they got started, as perhaps the factors in this have changed over time.

  103. At 11:32 PM on 29 Nov 2006, Valery P wrote:

    Wow - what a day, it's taken so-o long to read, or am I just tired, and I haven't even got to the rest of the day's threads, Jonnie's site, various fl*kr sites, the Wood/Beach. Help! I'm drowning in frogs.

    I wouldn't be without you all though!

    I haven't really thought this through properly yet, but summat about all this talk of regular beaches etc gets me thinking of a discussion we had way back in the dark ages, when Eddie asked if we wanted a Serious Thread and a Flippant Thread each day, and we firmly (most of us) said we didn't want to be categorised. Hmmm, I don't know, I'm just thinking out loud, please tell me that I shouldn't be feeling uncomfortable? Anyone still around?

  104. At 11:34 PM on 29 Nov 2006, onlyalurker wrote:

    My son read the Allen Carr book and gave up without hesitation. I read it (I've never been a smoker) and found it illuminating. (That is, a smoker has to pay for the cigarettes to take away the nicotine craving, to arrive at the feeling of well-being I have most of the time).

    As a non-smoker, I find the smell as a heavy smoker enters the room - just the smell of the clothes - stifling. Do they know how bad it is? I don't know about the dangers of passive smoking, but I do know about the unpleasantness - the taste in my mouth, the irritation, the coughing. After a while you find yourself avoiding the occasions where there will be smoking.

  105. At 11:39 PM on 29 Nov 2006, gossipmistress wrote:

    Eddie (78) - yes please, a new beach every monday would be good. Just 'The Beach' is fine with me - at least newcomers (?Newcombers!) would know what and where it was then.

    Marymary - I do hope nothing I wrote re smoking was offensive to you. I have nothing against smokers themselves, I just hate breathing in the smoke. I have great admiration for anyone who manages to give up. My willpower is feeble in other spheres! Please still come to the beach!!

  106. At 12:44 AM on 30 Nov 2006, Aperitif wrote:

    Oh dear. First off, thank you Admin Annie, for reading what I said and pointing out that Basil was, seemingly, cross about something I didn't say. I am happy to discuss/defend what I did say.

    I will be clear: I did not allege that all "smokers are stupid"; I said that I think that people who think smoking makes them look sexy/rebellious/cool are stupid (and that if I see people smoking in public I tend to think they don't mind being seen doing it).

    My post was about individuals and the impact their smoking has on their own health, finances and image (in the non-perjorative sense) and not anything to do with passive smoking or the environment or even any effect on anyone else's health.

    I was owning up to an inner feeling, that I don't go sharing around - I'm certainly not a vocal or zealous anti-smoker in my everyday life - but we were asked about it here and I was in the mood to be forthright about something that I firmly believe. I was admitting that if I see someone smoking and they don't appear to want to give up or if they seem to think that there is anything positive about what they are doing I see them as less intelligent than I would otherwise have done. No amount of defensiveness or pro-smoking comment is going to change that feeling for me.

    And, I must add that I am never "quick to label" anybody anything. I take time to come to my views, and always think reflexively about my motivations, opinions and whether I am going with the herd or thinking for myself. You may think that makes me superior, Basil; I couldn't possibly comment...

    (Oh, for goodness' sake chums - tongue was firmly in cheek for that last bit, alright?)

    RJD, I hear you and I'm trying to walk the fine line, but I don't want to be dishonest.

  107. At 12:59 AM on 30 Nov 2006, LadyPen (formerly Lady Penelope) wrote:

    Hello all -

    I think whoeveritwas's idea for a renewable This Week's Beach was brill. Do it, Eric. Then each week's beach could be PDFed or HTMLed and archived on pmblog.co.uk with its date by one of our resident technogeekwizards and accessible to all. Sorted.

    If invited, I shall join MaryMary and EdIgle behind the appropriately designated rock so's not to contaminate anyone else's finer feelings. We can there Hatch Plots.

    I'll be the tall gorgeous unsmelly blonde with the posh-tottie voice.

    (I know it's a disgusting habit and wouldn't force it on anyone and my children moan at me a lot. But I try to be considerate and, if you find me smelly, you can always move further away and talk louder . . .)

    Off now to trawl through all the other threads I've got behind on. I shall be sure to maintain a discreet distance.


  108. At 08:39 AM on 30 Nov 2006, RobbieJohnDo wrote:


    Perfect - my overdeveloped sensisitivity is calmed.

  109. At 09:37 AM on 30 Nov 2006, Big Sister wrote:

    What a lot has gone on since I last peeked over this post .....

    It just goes to show what strong feelings smoking and related issues can provoke.

    Thanks to those of you who were so nice about what happened to me and the friendship I lost (which I still miss - but could not compromise on, for health reasons).

    I've always endeavoured to be tolerant of differences. I think the whole business of smoking/non smoking reveals, on close examination, some extraordinarily deep insights into human nature that go well beyond the actions and substance concerned. No doubt there's been a lot of research on that, too - or there will be, in the fullness of time.

    Two years ago, working as I was then in the field of health promotion, I organised and took part in the No Smoking Day activities in this area. Not only was I much the wiser over the health side of things (I'll not dwell on that here as there are websites out there which can do the job so much better than could I), but also the engagement with smokers who wanted to kick the habit was illuminating and poignant. Having lived myself with smokers who tried to give up, I already knew how hard it is to kick this addiction, but nowadays there is a real feeling out there amongst smokers, especially those in their twenties and thirties, that they'd like to give up.

    Most areas should have smoking clinics where help is available - there was a lot of government funding around, but I suspect this has been reduced latterly as money has been diverted from Public Health into trying to resolve the deficits elsewhere in the system. However, there is still an NHS website which will signpost people to their local service, and I'd suggest anyone who wants to try again to kick the weed might find that a useful place to start. You can find it on:


    (I'm not Big Sis for nothing, you know!)

  110. At 10:22 AM on 30 Nov 2006, Eddie Mair wrote:

    Well! admin annie was the first (I think) to suggest This Week's Beach every Monday, and there seems to be some agreement about that. Stand by.

  111. At 11:11 AM on 30 Nov 2006, Big Sister wrote:

    I'm not sure if my earlier posting on this got lost, so apologies if I'm repeating myself but .............

    Sorry, Eddie, for the record it was gossipmistress, on the Woody post, number 116, who first suggested a weekly Monday beach.

    Credit where it's due.

    But Admin Annie was definitely the inspiration for the Book Club.

  112. At 11:15 AM on 30 Nov 2006, Fiona wrote:

    Am somewhat late joining the debat but still like to put my tuppence in! Have to say I agree with Fearless Fred and RJD (and perhaps others who said the same - sorry had to skim read). I confess I started smoking at the grand old age of 14! My best friend's mum was a nurse and she smoked and we used to pretend we were both nurses and shared a flat and of course thought we were super cool! It is very easy to judge others when you have not experienced the addiction yourself, it is a stupid pointless habit - I see that now but at the time you simply kid yourself (once you actually reach the point when you know how bad it is for you). For me giving up was easy - pregnancy was the ultimate motivator, and 5 years later I am still "clean". Although I do have a horrible confession - when I found out I was pregnant I was so shocked I had a large glass of shiraz and a marlboro light to calm my nerves!!! That was the last one though I promise.

    And Big Sis can I just add my sympathies to what happened to you - shame on your so-called "friends", even in my heaviest smoking days I would never ever presume it ok to light up in a non-smokers house. They really are not worthy of your friendship.

  113. At 07:24 PM on 30 Nov 2006, Basil Brown wrote:


    I understand that you're just sharing your thoughts and feelings, with the caveat that they may not be entirely reasonable... and that they will be impervious to counter-argument, but my stern tone in response was prompted by several specific allegations you made about all unreconstructed-smokers, ie "people around will think..." [careful with those semantics, now!] ..that anyone visibly enjoying a gasper in public [I'm paraphrasing now] are:

    1/ smelly
    2/ stupid
    ..and possess 3/ "not the smallest capacity for wider thought".

    And we're supposed to mind about what people in the vicinity may be thinking about us.

    You may think what you like without fear of riposte. But when thoughts like these are vocalised, do you really think they should remain unchallenged? Is there any other minority-group you'd feel free to insult in this manner?

    It's a very proscriptive, puritanical attitude. "I don't like it, so it must be wrong", combined as it is with a rating-scale to delineate the shameless from the apologetic.

    My comments regarding the flawed epidemiology of the "passive smoking" argument may have been [were, even] pre-emptive. I believe it is faith in this notion which gives people implicit permission to make the stupid/smelly/rude/inconsiderate jibes... or else why would how a stranger smells be of more than fleeting interest?

    Wittingly or not, I think that this societal smell-intolerance has been constructed by the aforementioned media-fed notion that even small amounts of tobaccanoid-aroma must be "bad". In the Good Old Days, non-smokers' houses would almost always contain an ashtray or two for the benefit of guests who smoked. None of the tut-tut waggy-fingered "can you just hide behind the shed so the neighbours won't see you" inhospitality we expect These Days.

    Apologies if I've ranted a bit, or not followed implicit/explicit House Rules on decorum etc. but I'm equally passionate, Aperitif.

    Admin Annie, you all manage to remain polite when discussing our beloved First Ladee? I'm impressed.

  114. At 08:42 PM on 30 Nov 2006, Aperitif wrote:

    Hi Basil (113),

    Actually your 2) and 3) were the same thing as my use of "stupid" was an exaggeration on the 'lack of capacity for wider thought' point. If you don't care what people around think, you don't - but if you were previously unaware that many people thought like that - well, you know now. (I admit to relying upon a non-scientific sample of many of the people with whom I am acquainted).

    Nope, I certainly didn't say my views should remain unchallanged. I mean, I could've kept them to myself and not posted them here... Challenge away (but not on what you assume I might also think - just on what I actually posted please).

    "Minority group"? With which other groups are you attempting to associate smokers-who-don't-want-to-stop? You can't possibly mean minority ethnic groups or differently abled people or any socio-economic group: so who?

    Admin Annie and I disagreed fundamentally about Cherie Blair and, I seem to recall, Tony Benn way back, but there as no falling out and no rudeness whatsoever.

    Do you work for a tobacco company or something related to the industry? I just wonder what you get out of being so passionate about this - there are far more "worthy causes" to be passionate about. This last may sound proscriptive, but really, can you disagree?

  115. At 09:37 PM on 30 Nov 2006, Robbie the Umpire wrote:

    First set to Aperitif 6-3.

    New balls please.

  116. At 11:57 PM on 30 Nov 2006, Dr Hackenbush wrote:

    Can I ask, Basil, if you are worried about possible adverse health consequences? If not, are you accepting them - are they somehow worth it? As far as I know, most smokers are well aware of the dangers, and probably many of them would quite like to stop - it seems you do not, and I am curious as to your philosophy.

    A wider question, then:
    Should potentially dangerous addicitive substances all be taxed at a much greater rate, or instead banned altogether? Why should nicotine be acceptable and legal when other drugs are not?

  117. At 02:54 AM on 01 Dec 2006, Basil Brown wrote:


    114 para 1, opening bat: Granted. Please excuse the occasional rhetorical flourish. Lists of two never seem complete.

    Enough humility.

    Several orthodoxies you seem to have bought into [bullet-points, this time]:

    * Anyone defending the centuries-old smoking tradition must be in the pay of the tobacco industry. That, or it's our addictions talking.

    * Condemnation of others' lifestyle-choices, perceived "weaknesses" etc. and making the judgement that these choices are inferior to your own - that because, in this instance, you can see no possible benefits in smoking for yourself, that there can be none for anybody.

    * That there are far more important issues to worry about than the vilification of smokers, so we [smokers] should forget our narrow self-interest and divert our nicotine-addled energies into something more worthy.

    You appear to think that there could be no parallel minority-groups... how about Fat People? Not congenitally "bigger-boned" folks who don't have the choice, but People Who Like Pies. People whose enjoyment of an indulgence overrides any guilt they may feel and who may not actually WANT to go on the National Diet so as to conform to the current beauty-ideal. Is it okay to have a go at them for occupying more than their fair share of the double-seat? Is it okay to snigger about the potential for perspiration problems on hot days? To make them stand in the corner so as not to contaminate the Clean Healthy People? Well, maybe that'll be next.

    The issue of public smoking is, for me, a libertarian one. No surprise there, then. No surprise either that I enjoy smoking and have absolutely no intention of giving up this pleasure just because a majority around me will think the worse of my intelligence. Dr. Hackenbush: I have a fair understanding of the risks involved, and accept the odds. Just as I do when riding a motorbike. I've seen some horrific injuries from bike crashes, I've had many a heart-stopping Near-Miss, but I so enjoy the sensations of riding a bike that these will outweigh the worries about bad consequences.

    I could write you an essay on what I like about smoking... the aesthetics, the smells, the rituals, the punctuations in a conversation, the reflective moments, the sense of time standing still in a breath... aaahhh! Somehow, it's just not the same to suck an apricot.

    Some of the pleasure is, as Alan Carr said, the servicing of the addiction. How can I not acknowledge that? But it really isn't the only pleasure.

    To address Dr. Hackenbush's final point [116, p2] I am in favour of decriminalising other drugs too. If there is a cost to the Health Service from their consumption, then let them be taxed. And the tax-revenue can support re-hab for those who want it. For example, legalisation and availability of heroin on prescription to existing addicts could, I believe, have far-reaching benefits to anyone involved in the existing cycle of misery, including many robbery/burglary victims. If this appears to run contrary to my declared Libertarianism, then so be it. But the state should confine itself to a benign relationship with it's subjects, oops, "citizens" and not indulge Social Engineering toward any concept of public "purity". That's very dangerous territory, the preserve of idealogues like that well-known founding-fuhrer of the anti-smoking movement our parents and grandparents fought and defeated sixty years ago.

  118. At 01:28 PM on 01 Dec 2006, Aperitif wrote:


    You're at it again, making assumptions. Here we go:

    I didn't say that anyone defending smoking must be in the pay of the tobacco industry. I asked: I considered that in your case it might be a possibilty. I note that you did not answer.

    Where have I condemned anyone? Please stop exaggerating/twisting what I've said. I'll say again, the thrust of my post was that, if I find out that someone smokes and has no desire to give up, despite the negatives far outweighing the positives, I see them as less intelligent as I would otherwise have done. A bit stupid, even, if I'm feeling harsh. Many other people I know feel the same but we don't tend to say so in the presence of smokers because we are polite. I decided not to be polite here.

    The 'benefits' of smoking that you list are not evident to me? Not at all: I can see that some people get some pleasure out of the things you list. Many (admittedly not all) are social contructs and thus the pleasure is learned from other smokers and passed on and imitated, but, while that adds to my argument about following the herd, I accept that many of life's pleasures have a socially constructed element to them - following the herd isn't necessarily a bad thing. It's just the "I am a rebel because I smoke" part that jars with me. Rebelling against whom? (I'm not suggesting that you, Basil, claimed rebelliousness: I'm going back to my original reasons for mentioning this aspect).

    It isn't that I don't understand your arguments or haven't given them much thought. I have considered all of the things you say in the past and come to the belief that I have. And like I said, I tend to feel a little sorry for 'unreconstructed smokers' rather than anything else. Does this mean I have a 'superiority complex'? I don't think so, but then I can't be an objective judge of that. I'm aware that there are some things I am better at than others, some worse.

    You are, again, conflating 'all smokers' with a particular group (those who don't want to stop). I was careful to differentiate bewteen the two. I didn't say you should direct your energy into 'something more worthy' - I asked why it is that the issue of smoking is so important to you, stirs such passion in you, that you give your energy to it above other things? I see you refer to it as a 'libertarian' issue for you. Is this why? But noone is stopping you from doing it in your own home, in open spaces, in the homes of those who also smoke/don't mind it... There is (at last) legislation to prevent you from imposing it on others (and it does stink, especailly the next day, it really does), which, for me, you have been allowed to get away with for long enough.

    Finally, neither did I say that there are no parallel minority-groups: I asked to which groups you were referring. That which you have cited is interesting. You specifically align people whose enjoyment of over-indulgence in food makes them fat. I presume you mean those who are 'so fat in has an impact on ones health and abilty to carry out everyday activities' here otherwise the comparison doesn't stand up (Being a bit overweight is no threat to health, unlike 'smoking a bit'). Hmm, OK, but when I see someone who is fat, how how do I know why they are so? One can't 'take off ones fat' in public in the way that one can refrain from smoking. (Maybe that's a slightly flippant response, so, OK, I'll be serious) If one smokes one either wants to stop or doesn't - I contend that being very overweight is more complex than that.

    Body image, the current fixation on obesity and the food/diet industries are part of an exceptionally complicated issue and 'conforming to the current beauty ideal' is an aspect but not nearly the whole story. I would love to drift onto this subject - but as a subject in its own right - as it's one of my areas of study and much more interesting to me than smoking, but it does take me off the point a little here. And of course I don't think it's OK to "have a go/snigger" at people who are overweight/fat/obese. None of this is about "having a go". It was about my estimation of someone's intelligence changing based upon their choice to continue to smoke. A private thought or feeling that, as views on smoking were solicited on this blog, I decided to share.

    I'm not sure where we can go from here, but if you want to challenge me further please do. Again, please make it about what I've said rather than your assumptions.


  119. At 04:15 PM on 01 Dec 2006, Belinda wrote:

    Throwing my worthless opinion in:

    I'm a non-smoker, I have smoked very occasionally in the past (and near-past) but never really took to it. I'm not generally judgemental of smokers, their reasons for smoking and such, but I do move away a little when standing next to a smoker due to the smell.
    I do get annoyed when observing parents who smoke around their young children. It's one thing choosing to smoke, it is other to inflict your life-style choice on your children when it could mean that their own life-expectancy is shortened. That is simply selfish and nothing more, in my view.

    As for legality issues: I'm slightly on the fence about this. I agree that everyone has a right to live their live, and it is my ideal to live my life without interference. I think everyone wants that, ultimately. So part of me says that smokers should be left to smoke in private - it is their choice, their decision and they pay for any consequences with cancer, respiratory diseases, heart disease and shortened life-expectancy.

    However, the other part of me pipes up saying, "Well smoking isn't a solitary pursuit. You smoke inside or outside, and the people around you are directly affected - if not through passive smoking then through the stale, nauseating, smell which permeates through clothing and hair. If you are admitted to the NHS with smoking-related diseases, then it is the nation and family which pays for your decision, not yourself directly.". But I am also aware that this same arguement can apply to alcohol - again, it's primarily a solo enterprise but can have many consequences on others when out of control, and particularly when it has developed into an addiction.

    So ultimately, I am thinking that for the health of the nation as a whole, it would be advisable to ban both smoking and drinking. But this is utterly impractical and few people would adher to it. I can't think of a way out of this, to be honest - apart from developing a form of nicotine and alcohol which is cancer-resistant, smell-resistant and behaviour changing-resistant. But would anyone be interested in using that? Either way, a significant shift in the mentality behind the use of nicotine and alcohol is likely to take generations, there isn't a quick-fix.

  120. At 10:18 PM on 01 Dec 2006, Robbie the Umpire wrote:

    Rain interrupts play

  121. At 06:12 AM on 02 Dec 2006, Basil Brown wrote:

    Aperitif [118],

    Firstly, let me assure you that I have no financial-interest in, nor even any contacts within the tobacco industry.

    To business. Umpire? [nods]

    …the sun rises on a sticky wicket. Defending his sense of sexiness, rebelliousness and cool against the hard looks of disapproval from the Home Team, the alliteratively named outsider steps up to the ockie…

    “Where have I condemned anyone? Please stop exaggerating/twisting what I've said.”
    “… please make it about what I've said rather than your assumptions.”

    Ap, this all started with your set of broad-bat assumptions in [32]! Lest I be accused of mangling your meaning, I shall quote from that inflammatory but entertaining tract before commenting:

    “If you smoke in public I tend to assume you are stupid. This is because you are not ashamed of your habit - otherwise you would not do it in public, would you? You are stupid because you pay a lot of money to big companies and their very wealthy share holders to purchase a product that endangers your life, makes you smell and irritates a lot of people around you. Yet somehow you think it is "sexy" or "rebellious" or even just "OK" to do it where everyone can see you, and thus I know that you haven't even the smallest capacity for wider thinking, and are not a rebel but a sheep.”

    Well, I’m telling you that I do personally fulfil the brief you describe, in being that most-derided of smoker-grades; the unrepentant, unashamed and unapologetic. And so, apparently, I do what I do because I think it makes me sexy, rebellious and cool [“no”, “no” and “perhaps a certain cachet”]. I can live with you thinking that… but I certainly won’t let you get away with “stupid”, whether you are tending-to-assume or simply stating… [you do both although, and in fairness, the second “you are stupid” can be read as a statement being made within the context of the slight-caveat “tend to assume” ] . Umm, anyway, yes. These hefty assumptions were enough for you to “know” that I am “not a rebel, but a sheep”.

    Your gift for obfuscation through deployment of semantic noodly nit-pickery notwithstanding, I shall ask straight: Why do you think you know what’s best for me? Do you assume [oh, what fun!] your combination of knowledge/experience/research automatically better or more comprehensive than someone else’s? For you may not be saying this in so many words, but that is your message! For example, you assume that the cost/benefit analysis MUST be in the negative, that the perceived risks of smoking MUST outweigh the positives for everybody as they do for you. This suggests either that you have uniquely-privileged information, or it suggests faith in an orthodoxy. My point is that following many hours’ critical [emphasis] research of material from both sides of the pro/anti-smoking debate and, coloured by my own philosophy on how to best spend my time on this planet…, for me and my moderate handrolled-habit, the cost/benefit analysis produces a different result.

    We will probably reach different interpretations from the same set of evidence. And, of course, I will tend to accept/disregard evidence according to personal expediency, as will you! But credit me with this: that I have, at least, come to an informed and reasoned judgement, even if it’s one you disagree with. And thusly therefore, I don’t think this judgement [or, indeed, I] can truly qualify as being “stupid”.

    That’s probbly wot I meant to say 800 words ago.

    Respectful rgds buttered with the faintest whiff of a playground ner,


  122. At 01:24 AM on 03 Dec 2006, Robbie the Umpire wrote:

    (In a Dan Maskell voice)

    "Oh I say, this is remarkable tennis""

  123. At 09:20 PM on 03 Dec 2006, Aperitif wrote:

    Oh dear me, again?!

    OK, yes, my 32 point 1 was an assumption, but I admitted, declared even, that it was such, whereas I keep having to point out your assumptions to you. And, moreover, why is OK for you to complain about an assumption of mine (which I admitted from the off wasn't very nice) by making many of your own???

    You 'credit' me with a "gift for obfuscation through deployment of semantic noodly nit-pickery". Why? Because I don't want you to misunderstand me? I think that what I'm doing is the opposite of that - I'm being careful and clear about what I say and asking you questions to find out your precise meaning. Labelling something a 'gift' doesn't make it a compliment and I know, of course, that you did not mean it as such. When I hear an interviewer/ee complain about 'nit-picking' and 'semantics' I often suspect that it's because they don't really want to answer the question given, but a different, even less complicated, one. I see no reason not to believe that something similar isn't going on here. You don't like what I originally said and are trying to find ways to change my mind, and when I give you an answer you don't like you complain that I am obfuscating. I utterly disagree.

    Like I said last time, I understand your arguments, I just don't agree with them. Why would you want to change my mind? Because you don't like to be called 'stupid'? Maybe my 'stupidity' threshold is too high in your opinion? I'll admit to using it as a relative term, rather than some arbitrary point on an IQ scale or similar. Maybe what I should've said is "stupid in comparison with my judgement of a reasonable level of intelligence" or "stupid compared to me"? I think you know that my tongue in is my cheek on this, but you have already suggested that I might have a superiority complex. Maybe, on that issue, you are right. Or maybe it isn't a 'complex' but 'the truth'...

    In respect of the 'cost/benefit analysis', and your thoughts on enjoying tobacco I shall say this: aside from appearing 'stupid' (perhaps you would prefer 'foolhardy'?), smelling (especially your breath), giving your money to wealthy tobacco companies, your skin ageing quickly, irritating a sizeable majority around you, having to pay extra for all kinds of goods and services (insurance, for example), probably endangering the health of others around you, making yourself a slave to an addictive substance... aside from all of these things (and you know that I could go on) there is the likelihood (not certainty, but much more than mere possibility) that you will severely affect your health, in many ways, including heart disease and cancer.

    Terminal cancer. Painful, awful, slow, horrible death from something you could probably avoid. This last is worth the risk to gain "a certain cachet"? (Cachet? come on - among whom?) For "the aesthetics, the smells, the rituals, the punctuations in a conversation, the reflective moments, the sense of time standing still in a breath"? You accept the odds? You think it won't happen to you or if it does it will be worth it?

    That, dear Basil, is stupid.

  124. At 04:08 PM on 04 Dec 2006, Dr Hackenbush wrote:

    Basil at love-thirty?

  125. At 03:38 PM on 05 Dec 2006, Big Sister wrote:

    Does anybody need any matches?

  126. At 10:03 PM on 05 Dec 2006, Basil Brown wrote:


    “Oh must we? Again?”

    The penultimate para of [123] indicates that you have only taken on board the Health Establishment version concerning the risks: why haven’t you factored in the barely-reported-because-they’re-inconvenient health-benefits of smoking? [15/19 studies showing statistically-significant protective-effect against Alzheimers, for example… similar profound results for Parkinsons Disease: a 50% reduction reported amongst smokers] Or the strand of medical-opinion which contradicts the DoH’s assertion that “there is no safe level of smoking”? [The cancer/heart-disease risks of smoking are, in fact, very heavily dose-dependent and can be partly assuaged by factors such as diet. This has been shown time and again, but it is inconvenient to the simplistic puritan line, as espoused by the DoH.]

    You don’t necessarily have to believe these heretical opinions and researches, but shouldn’t you be acknowledging them? Weighing them in the balance?

    For not to do so; to operate from an incomplete base of evidence and then make the judgement that a group of people, some, it seems, more fully-informed than you, are less intelligent because they’ve made a different assessment of risk… well, frankly m’dear… that really is stupid.

  127. At 12:09 AM on 06 Dec 2006, Dr Hackenbush wrote:

    I am going to assume that your own smoking is not partly because of the benefits in the case of one of the medical afflictions you mention. But, if it’s not too personal, please put me straight if I’m wrong. Are there no treatments other than cigarettes which help with Alzheimers or Parkinsons?

  128. At 12:24 AM on 06 Dec 2006, RobbieJohnDo wrote:


    I hold out some straws - please clutch them!

  129. At 02:58 PM on 06 Dec 2006, Interested Bystander wrote:

    Game, set and match to Aperatif.

  130. At 07:20 PM on 06 Dec 2006, Basil Brown wrote:

    Robbie [128],

    Perhaps you could've offered me a rope with which to hang... do you have such a thing?

    Dr. Hackenbush [127],

    The BMJ’s Best Treatments site gives the following risk-factors for Parkinson’s Disease:

    Getting old
    Being a chap
    Genetic predisposition
    Not smoking

    …with the obvious caveat that it’s not worth the other risks from smoking to get the measure of protection afforded against Parkinson's. They state that they do not know why smoking tobacco gives this protection... strangely dismissive when you consider that it's the only factor we'd seem to have any control over.

    Concerning Alzheimer's and other dementias, there is no guidance on prevention; these conditions being viewed as, not an inevitability as such, but certainly a rising probability as we age: 20% at 80+ . In the light of this vagueness, I think the very positive results for smoking as a preventative measure are compelling.

    Many drugs are available claiming to treat symptoms of these diseases post-onset, and I understand nicotine-derived drugs are being trialed.

    I'm not claiming smoking to be a treatment for either of these diseases once they've taken hold, but there is very strong evidence that smoking cigarettes does, at least, delay their onset.


  131. At 10:16 AM on 08 Dec 2006, Fifi wrote:

    Basil (126)

    My grand-dad was a lifelong smoker, both of pipes and roll-ups.

    You can probably guess what's coming.

    His Alzheimer's became impossible to ignore in his 60s. And he died in agony 20 years later.

    So, OK, one person's experience doesn't disprove a statistic. And at least it wasn't cancer that got him in the end.

    But I for one don't find your argument either clever or persuasive.

    Aperitif, you have my full support. I admire you for being able to keep your temper.

    I won't be returning to this thread, so don't bother responding to this posting. I just thought I'd share the fact that Basil has managed to upset me.

    Hey ho.


  132. At 09:48 PM on 08 Dec 2006, Basil Brown wrote:

    [131] I've known of one family-friend who died prematurely [60's] with Parkinson's. But I wouldn't claim his demise was hastened by the fact that he was a lifelong non-smoker.

    It's all too tempting, whenever a smoker gets ill, at whatever age and from whatever combination of causes, whether attributable to smoking or not, to think that the illness "must have been" caused by their smoking.

    There's many, many risks in life, many contra-indicated activities. In health-terms, smoking's a net-risk. I acknowledge that. But people don't seem to vilify motorbike-riders, hang-glider pilots or rock-climbers in quite the same way...

  133. At 10:48 PM on 08 Dec 2006, Dr Hackenbush wrote:

    Being around motorbike-riders, hang-glider pilots or rock-climbers is not (necessarily) unpleasant for others. You can’t really ‘be around them’ when they’re indulging in their interest.

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