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James Leavey's Corner
Firing Up

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Firing Up


by James Leavey, editor, The FOREST Guide to Smoking in London
and The FOREST Guide to Smoking in Scotland


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James Leavey

You’d think, given the current climate of fear, global terrorism, potential for World War Three, and impending recession, that smoking would be pushed to the back-burner.Surely we have more important things to concern ourselves with"

For example, there were rumours that on that tragic day, September 11, some of the doomed victims in the World Trade Center attempted to light up their favourite tobacco while making their way down the stairs to the exits, only to be denied the pleasure of that last cigarette on the grounds that smoking was bad for their health.

There were also reports that some of New York’s brave firemen and firewomen, trying to alleviate the stress of hours spent picking their way through the rubble of Ground Zero in search of body parts, were also told not to smoke, for the same reason.Actually, there would have been a better reason ­ not to ignite all that aviation fuel that was lying around.

Whether these rumours are true ­ and, let’s face it, there’s a more than even chance that what I have just outlined almost certainly happened to at least one person ­ or not, may I politely suggest to the anti-smoking zealots that now is not the best time for smokers to give up their habit. 

I have it on reliable authority (i.e. someone who’s shared an ashtray with him) that President Bush enjoys the occasional fine cigar.And why shouldn’ t he"He’s got all the cares of the world on his shoulders. 

It’s time for anti-smokers to get a grip on reality and let the smokers get on with their lives.For I can assure them that if I feel seriously threatened, the first things I shall reach for are my wife, children, friends, tobacco, and that bottle of fine single malt I have been saving, for such an occasion.

Doesn’t it strike you as odd that it’s the first time in history that various governments are attempting to impose a formal ban on the enjoyment of a product that’s still legally available"Oh yes, they still allow you to buy your tobacco ­ perhaps because they enjoy the considerable billions of dollars of taxation raised from its sale.

Make up your minds.If tobacco is the evil some people say it is then go ahead and ban both its manufacture and sale.  If not, shut up and leave us alone.

Like many of my fellow smokers, I often smoke because of stress.Stress is caused by society.And all you people are society.

Whether some people like it, or not, the fact is a good smoke helps to get me through the day.It’s my choice.I make it freely.

And you, if you don’t like my smoking, can go away and bother somebody else.

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