Thursday, 11 February 2010

Do you feel alienated?

This is a copy of an advertisement printed in yesterday’s Hull Daily Mail, paid for by the NHS.

IF YOU are somebody who regularly lights up a cigarette, you may feel   alienated.

It is habit that may cause you to be shunned or avoided by friends, family and colleagues and leave you feeling left-out. The smoking ban has made you change your ways, while everybody else has been unaffected and free to enjoy their social lives as before.

A new Government strategy called A Smokefree Future has been published and it could lead to a ban of cigarettes in vending machines and increase the number of smoke-free areas to include doorways, adding to your sense of  seclusion.

It is just the latest development in a long line of initiatives that make you feel like you are being harshly treated and that everybody is against you.

But there's one thing you must ask yourself: Are you really the victim? Consider  the issue from a non-smoker's point of view. When they enter a bar, restaurant or even a hospital, there may be a smoker standing in the doorway, meaning the non-smoker has to walk through a cloud of noxious smoke to enter.
And when you throw your your cigarette ends out of car window do you stop to consider pedestrians, cyclists or even a person in a convertible car?

Cigarette ends also litter the streets - about 40 per cent of litter is tobacco related - which doesn't give a good impression to visitors to the city and each cigarette butt takes about 12 years to decompose, so smoking is not environmentally-friendly either.

There is also the criminality issue that surrounds smoking. That cheap packet of fags you purchased illegally could be a part of a world-wide illicit cigarette trade that brings misery to people around the world. And the knock-on effect brings crime into Hull.

With two sides to every story, it is perhaps time to stop alienating yourself and  start to protect the people and city around you.

It’s not too late to act and switch sides. If you want to quit smoking, free support is available with your local NHS Stop Smoking Service.

Research shows people are four times more likely to quit smoking with support from the  service than willpower alone and it offers a method of quitting to suit you.

For more details, free phone 0800 915 5959; visit www.readytostop or text QUIT to 81800.

Smokers know smoking is bad for their health. They also know it is more addictive than heroin. Would heroin addicts be insulted in the same way? It will also not succeed in its aim of getting people to quit. If someone spoke to me like that, it would make me more likely to light-up a cigarette. Yet the NHS adopts this appalling Big Brother stance and wastes taxpayers’ cash in the process.

Next time you hear of someone denied life enhancing drugs on cost grounds, remember this advert. The person who wrote it should hang their head in shame; and get fired too.

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