I am one of those irritating non-smokers. So it is with some relish
that I welcome National No Smoking Day.
Sadly the evidence in my own office was that NSD had made little impact,
however the coverage was good.
My personal favourite was an article in the Daily Telegraph by Alexander
Chancellor who, while critical of the event, went on to explain how to
quit and just how many people quit - 40,000 - on the day. It put across
very clearly the fact that around two million people take part in the
day each year. The article was neither preaching nor sanctimonious,
which I understand are criticisms often made of non-smokers.
Coming in a close second, as a personal favourite, was the article by
Jill Palmer in the Mirror about how wrinkly people become if they
Without any experience at all, I suspect that this is a real
To learn that a 20-a-day habit neutralises almost the entire recommended
daily dose of vitamin C, or that within a year of quitting, the risk of
serious heart disease is halved certainly should convince some Mirror
The Express dedicated a page to 40 reasons to quit with a very glamorous
picture of Marlene Dietrich, fag in hand, which perhaps gave the wrong
signal. Reason number 34 seemed to be getting a little desperate:
’according to popular belief in Salem, Massachusetts, a woman who treads
on a spent cigar is fated to marry the next man she meets’. Must be
hazardous for any female civil servants following in the wake of Kenneth
Enter stage right the organisation Forest which argues the case for the
smoker. Forest published a litany of reasons why people should not give
up smoking and their arguments are compelling. For example, if everybody
stopped smoking for the duration of No Smoking Day, the loss to the
Treasury would be pounds 26 million or more than pounds 18,000 a minute.
Now that’s the kind of statistic that grabs the imagination. In fact, in
spite of my lack of sympathy for Forest, I find their wit, their
imagination and their belligerence rather appealing.
Is it a successful day? I am convinced that providing one particular day
in the year when people can feel that they are not alone in their desire
to give up is a good strategy. What Forest proves is that the opposition
are fighting back and they’re not using filters. Final advice from a
sanctimonious non-smoker: watch out for the cigar stubs.