Tuesday, 11 July 2017

Fuggy no more

A doctor has disputed the widespread consensus that passive smoking damages your health. She says the Professor who first proved the link between smoking and lung cancer also said that the health risks of passive smoking were negligible.

But the clampdown on passive smoking gathered pace and now smoking is banned in just about every public building. The ban has been generally accepted as necessary and beneficial.

As a lifetime non-smoker, all I can say is that the ban on passive smoking has definitely improved my quality of life. Instead of going into an office and fighting my way through a thick and smelly fug of tobacco smoke, I can relax and enjoy reasonably fresh air.

It also means that my clothes are still fairly clean at the end of the day and not reeking of smoke and needing a good wash. I remember not wanting to get too close to one heavy smoking workmate who seemed to only wash his clothes about once a week.

I recall vividly my early days in my first-ever job in a newspaper office. The tobacco smoke was so dense I felt as if I was suffocating. I seriously considered resigning because I could hardly breathe.

Fortunately after several days of near-asphyxia, I became acclimatised to the fug and it no longer bothered me. And it's interesting that although I was exposed to heavy smokers day in and day out, it hasn't affected my health, which is still pretty good. I have no lung or circulation problems.

For many years my mother was exposed to my father's cigarettes (he smoked about ten a day and died of lung cancer), yet she's still alive and kicking at the age of 95.

But am I glad we've seen the last of those foul, stinking offices.

28 comments:

Bijoux said...

I also worked in an office environment with a chain smoker, back in the mid-80's. It was so irritating to have my clothes and hair smell like smoke all day. And now I appreciate not having to deal with it in public places.

I wasn't that worried about the health risks, but I did have an aunt whose husband constantly smoked a pipe and she developed the most horrific cough that lasted decades after he had died of a heart attack. It would be hard to dispute that his smoking was the cause of her lung problems.

Joanne Noragon said...

As a former smoker, I don't miss the smell of it, either. I don't know how people put up with me all those years.

Ursula said...

Your father smoked "ten a day"? No wonder your mother is still alive. Try sixty. Some people went down the mines. And the canary sang.

U

Nick said...

Bijoux: I would also assume there must be some connection between her pipe-smoking husband and her persistent cough. Otherwise it's too much of a coincidence.

Joanne: A lot of ex-smokers must think that!

Nick said...

Ursula: I know, that's a tiny amount compared to habitual chain-smokers. But it must have affected his health nevertheless, especially since he smoked for several decades (he gave up immediately after having a stroke at the age of 55).

kylie said...

I always think it's funny if my kids get a tiny whiff of smoke somewhere and they go on about how gross it is. When I started work people still smoked in the lunch rooms and i didn't think a lot about it!
I'm glad those days are gone, though!

Nick said...

Kylie: It's amazing what we tolerated and took for normal in our younger days. Not just all the tobacco smoke but much lower standards of personal hygiene. Nowadays we've almost gone the other way, with endless showering and clothes-washing and ultra-sensitivity to the slightest odour.

Z said...

Even among smokers, I don't know anyone who complains about the ban. And most of those people I know who smoke go outside to do so, even at their own house. I appreciate not having to put up with smelly pubs, restaurants and hotel rooms, as I've always had my own business and there was no smoking there anyway.

Rummuser said...

I quit smoking too late and am now saddled with COPD. My son still smokes and the smoke sometimes irritates me. I think that smoking and / or use of tobacco in any form must be totally abolished.

Nick said...

Z: I think a lot of smokers thought the ban would encourage them to cut down or stop, so they were generally in favour. Many young people must be amazed that smoking was ever allowed in public buildings.

Nick said...

Ramana: That's unfortunate. It seems a bit insensitive of your son to smoke in your presence, given your lung problem. I think it would be hard to abolish smoking. A lot of smokers would continue but more furtively. They'll only give up if smoking becomes a total social no-no.

helen devries said...

When I was a child I would know if my father was at home as soon as I opened the door...the house would be full of curls of blue smoke from his maize paper cigarettes...or the ones he rolled himself which were known to the family as tram drivers glove.

Then and later I disliked having to change my clothes as they always caught the whiff of tobacco smoke so I am glad of the ban.

joared said...

I've gotten so used to smoke free places here in Southern California that when I've travelled out-of-state the smoke is really offensive. Tongue, mouth, throat, laryngeal cancer does impact pipe smokers, too, -- ability to produce speech lost -- as I've encountered in my work. So many smokers with COPD, other respiratory problems that can really impact life with aging. With all that's known now it boggles my mind anyone would continue smoking. or waste their money on cancer sticks.

Nick said...

Helen: Tram drivers glove - that conjures up a vivid image of something pretty unsavoury! Yes, all that totally unnecessary clothes-washing.

Joared: Indeed, it's not just lung cancer waiting in the wings but all those other varieties. And COPD, which is all too common nowadays (not just because of tobacco smoke but also the dreadful air pollution in many cities).

tammy j said...

NICK! hi yourself! saw your note on rummy's blog! and I have missed you!
where have I been? the hospital. heart in Afib. then days and days of ill health and poisonous pills. one that literally took my memory and affecting my mind! QUIT taking them.
and I'm finally feeling better.
I need to find a way to subscribe to your blog by email.
and as to this post. I have 53 years of heavy second hand smoke. once in a tiny office with a chain smoker.
they're all dead now from cancer.
I have no doubt it's what my heart condition is all about. I never smoked myself a day in my life. only all of theirs. and I'm paying for it.
and.. loved your post on stealing things from hotels. spot on! I may be many things. a thief I am not! xo

CheerfulMonk said...

I've always been sensitive to cigarette smoke and for a while my sister, father and my mother all smoked. The bans are a blessing to me.

Nick said...

Tammy: Sorry to hear of your latest medical setbacks. Glad you're now feeling better.

I've just added the "follow by email" gadget to the blog. See below the blogroll.

Whatever the doctor says about the low health risks of passive smoking, it's hard to believe there's no link between 53 years of second-hand smoke and your heart condition.

Nick said...

Jean: The only person who smoked in my family was my father. If my mother and sister had also been smokers, I dread to think what the air quality would have been like.

Secret Agent Woman said...

I didn't find that doctor's article very convincing. I think there is, in fact, quite a bit of evidence of the health consequences of exposure to second-hand smoke. I'm really happy with the public bans and would love to see tobacco products disappear.

tammy j said...

thank you so much nick!
it might have always been there and I just now saw it. I've been known to do that.
but now I'm subscribed and I'll never miss another post! :D

Dave Martin said...

I remember those days when you'd put on your decent clothes to go out for the evening, then have to throw everything in the wash as soon as you got in because it stank of cigarette smoke.
The ban on smoking in public places is one of the best things to have happened in this country!

Nick said...

Agent: It's hard to believe that years of exposure to tobacco smoke could have no physical effects.

Tammy: No, I just added it yesterday. Better late than never!

Dave: Seems extraordinary now that at the time everyone regarded smelly clothes as a normal consequence of being with other people.

Liz Hinds said...

I grew up in a family of smokers and maybe I didn't notice it then but I do now. And one boyfriend was a smoker. He didn't last long.

Nick said...

Liz: I had a girlfriend who was a very heavy smoker. She didn't last long either.

Ms Scarlet said...

I'm sure I remember my Dad smoking in Marks and Spencer's!!! I could be wrong, it seems unbelievable if true!!
Sx

Nick said...

Scarlet: It wouldn't surprise me. Smoking in public buildings used to be completely normal, even in the upmarket shops like M&S.

Hattie said...

Smoking was not just normal: it was cool. If you wanted to be in with the in crowd, you smoked. Hard to believe now.

Nick said...

Hattie: That's true. It was somehow glamorous to have a fag dangling from your mouth. Even the flick of the cigarette lighter was tantalising.