I've had an on-off relationship with smoking for years.
Apart from the odd cigarette behind the proverbial bike shed at school, I didn't start smoking until I naturally gravitated towards the pub aged 17 or 18. Like so many, I began smoking because seemingly all of my friends and drinking acquaintances were doing so. In those early days, outside of the pub environment my smoking was near non-existent but, of course, it would increase significantly whenever alcohol was involved. In fact, I'm always slightly alarmed whenever I look at old photographs of myself taken in pubs and the like as the image is always the same: stupid shirt, red-eyed, arm draped around a mate and a ubiquitous snout perched in my mouth or held between fingers.
Fast forward to the birth of my children and I had the perfect motivation to quit, which I did for many years. In recent years, however, I'm afraid I've taken up smoking again. It's not ideal, of course, but I console myself with thge fact that I'm an extremely light smoker. It's purely habit: a complete non-smoker at home, just a few fags at work behind the adult workplace equivalent of the bike shed is generally my sum total.
Social situations continue to be problematical though. Although I'm not a naturally nervous person I do find that there are certain stressful occasions where the cigarette becomes a sort of social crutch to me. For example, this summer, I'm best man at a wedding and it's a given that I'll require the blue smoke of Golden Virginia coursing through my veins. The pub is another stumbling block. The only difference now is that I'm disciplined and tragically sensible enough to roll several fags ahead of the evening and just make do.
I would like to stop smoking, although it must be said, I do generally enjoy it. I guess what all this is pointing to, given that I too am a "social smoker", is that I'd welcome the government completely banning smoking in public. It would be the obvious antidote for me to giving up smoking. However, as I slide without too much of a struggle on my part towards a comfortable and sedate middle age there is a part of me that, in the face of a probable government ban on smoking, really likes the idea of being considered a social piriah, cigarette in mouth, sticking two fingers up at the frowning masses.
I think we all get that feeling “what can I do to help the human race” then you probably like me say fuck it theirs something on the TV - JamieSim