Roy Castle once said dedication is what you need if you want to be a record breaker.
The words could easily be applied to smokers. After all, smokers are nothing if not dedicated.
Is there any other vice in which the buyer has to jump through so many hoops or overcome legal and social obstacles to get their fix?
Short of selling fags from inside fortified mountain top corner shops, accessible only by a Sherpa-guided trail, it’s hard to think of a product so buyer-unfriendly.
For a start, you’d have thought the extortionate price of a packet of cigarettes would be deterrent enough. In the 1970s a pack of 20 cigs would set you back 20p. Ten years ago they cost you a fiver. Today the same pack costs you a tenner. And they don’t even look appealing. Manufacturers now, by law, can only sell them in ugly murky green packs. The packaging will also invariably feature pictures of damaged lungs or other blackened body parts as well as a warning that Smoking Kills.
Even if you’re minded to buy a packet, you’re limited as to where you can smoke them. Smokers are banned from pubs, restaurants and even, if you have kids, banned from smoking in their own car.
Still not put off? There’s a mountain of health statistics on just how bad smoking is four your health (and of those around you) causing issues like heart conditions, respiratory and circulatory problems, cancer and, of course, that most final of health setbacks ... death.
There’s even a whole month devoted to urging people to stop ... and we’re half way through it. The Stoptober campaign reveals just how determined smokers are.
Despite all the hoops and hurdles outlined above, one in five North East adults still smoke.
All we can ask is smokers reconsider again this month. It’s an appeal likely to fall on deaf ears.
Smokers are clearly possessed of the dedication Roy Castle used to sing about, so good luck to them. Nothing seems to put them off.
Wonder what ever happened to old Roy?