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Monday
Jan162012

Smokers "nicer, wiser and more tolerant"

Writing in the Telegraph today, theatre critic Charles Spencer had this to say about smokers. It's worth reproducing in full:

I gave a loud cheer on New Year’s Day when I heard that David Hockney had been appointed a member of the Order of Merit by the Queen.

This most distinguished of honours is untainted by political scandal and seems just reward for an artist whose work, often undervalued by critics, is so life-affirming and unashamedly pleasurable. There is a mixture of sanity and humanity in his work that rarely fails to cheer me up.

But the other reason for applauding Hockney’s OM is that he is a dedicated and defiant smoker who despises the nanny state regulations that have turned smokers into social outcasts who are forced to shiver on the streets.

I am entirely in favour of non-smokers not being subjected to other people’s fumes, but the refusal to allow designated smoking rooms in public places strikes me as a simple act of spite.

As the late Auberon Waugh never tired of pointing out, smokers ought to be regarded as selfless heroes in our society, generously contributing to the government’s coffers through penal taxation on tobacco, and unlikely to burden the state for long with the need for protracted health care in old age. There is even some evidence that smoking could delay or even prevent the onset of Alzheimer’s, a wretched condition I fear more than cancer.

The good news is that when the OMs get together Hockney will find another sterling smoker in their midst – Tom Stoppard – who was appointed in 2000. It is pleasant to think of the pair, still going strong in their mid-seventies despite their tobacco habits, sneaking out of dreary official functions and enjoying a gasper together outside.

As someone who began smoking at school and who has given it up on three occasions, each time for about three years, I know that I am happier and more mentally alert when I smoke, and more of an irritable, self-righteous bore when I don’t. What’s more, smokers generally tend to be nicer, wiser and infinitely more tolerant people than proselytising abstainers. The dynamic duo of Hockney and Stoppard surely prove my point.

I should add that Spencer has form when it comes to smoking. Check out Why I'm proud to smoke (August 2010).

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Reader Comments (1)

"the refusal to allow designated smoking rooms in public places strikes me as a simple act of spite."

Yes - that's what it's about.

The problem now is that everyone has been denied choice. Smoker's are forced not to smoke when they are inside, and non-smokers have to pass smokers in the street all the time when before with smoking and non smoking venues, smokers could avoid non smokers and they could avoid smokers.

ASH wanting to set two groups against each other - who managed to rub up Ok before - and the plan to marginalise and stigmatise smokers after 2007 was the real reason.

Monday, January 16, 2012 at 13:42 | Unregistered CommenterPat Nurse

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