Ash Wednesday

An old blog post from March 2008.


That’s a rum one, isn’t it?

The government is planning to ban cigarette displays in shops. If you want to buy cigarettes you’ll have to buy them from under the counter.

Now, in principle, I’m all for it. I don’t like the smell of cigarettes and I’ve read, on more than one occasion, that they’re bad for you. So any little obstacles the government can put in place to slightly put people off buying cigarettes is okay in my book.

In fact, why don’t they change the name of cigarettes to something difficult to pronounce, like Zxcghrwiralzsczx, and only allow the sale to people who pronounce it correctly? They could even change the name every day, but not tell customers what it is. A bit like Rumpelstiltskin, but with cigarettes.

The only difficulty I can see with the government’s proposal is the sheer size of the counters that will be required. There’s a vast display of tobacco products behind the counter in most newsagents or supermarkets. If that’s got to go under the counter, the counter will be huge. This surely discriminates against the small in stature (not necessarily midgets, or dwarfs, primordial or otherwise) who will no longer be able to see the newsagent’s face when they’re buying the People’s Friend or a lottery ticket. So if the newsagent is making a rude expression, or putting up two fingers, they won’t know. He could be making fun of their lack of height AND THEY WOULDN’T KNOW. How dare he, in fact? How bloody dare he?

Anyway I read about this on the BBC website, which directed me to other stories about smoking. Including this one. Have a read and then pop back.

Good to have you back again. Did you read it? I couldn’t quite make it out, but apparently they’ve worked out that people who have smoked are twice as likely to become smokers as those people who never smoke.

So, what they are saying, and correct me if I’m wrong, is that people who have never smoked have never smoked. You can’t, apparently, class yourself as a smoker if you have never smoked. It would be an ontological error, in point of fact.

Staggering, I think you’ll agree. If it wasn’t for this research, paid for by the charity Cancer Research UK, I would be stumbling through life thinking that lifelong non-smokers were smokers and that youngsters who had, in the first place, despite all the medical evidence, succumbed to peer pressure and tried cigarettes, were just as likely to take up smoking as those clean-living kids who wouldn’t dream of picking up a cigarette.

With insightful research like this, I think it’s a matter of days before we sort out that cancer cure once and for all.

And that’s good news for everyone.

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