Judge and Jury: National No Smoking Day fails to stamp out Forest fire - National No Smoking Day is a great idea for those who want to give up smoking, but in some quarters it passes almost without notice, a trend which is likely to continue as opposition

I am one of those irritating non-smokers. So it is with some relish that I welcome National No Smoking Day.

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

smoke.



Without any experience at all, I suspect that this is a real

persuader.



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

readers.



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

Clarke.



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.



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