Smoking is a habit I have never formed.
As a teenager I momentarily thought it might be cool to smoke.
I got myself a pack of fags and headed down to the ‘horses’ (stables close to my house) to give it a whirl.
The first inhale of smoke into my mouth and lungs was enough to convince me this was a fool’s errand.
Fast forward a few years and I remember the fug of smoke that greeted me as I ventured into pubs for the first time.
Some had no smoking areas where families and those without the habit could hope to avoid the worst of the nicotine-laden atmosphere.
But most pubs were close, affairs where stale smoke lingered like a cloud. I often came home from nights out so smoke-laden that I immediately threw my clothes into the washing machine and headed for a cleansing shower before bed.
Thankfully the introduction of the smoking ban – one of the most progressive pieces of legislation to be enacted by the Scottish Parliament – all but eliminated the problem overnight.
It was a victory for common good.
I remember one piece of research done at the time which demonstrated beyond doubt the health benefits of being in a smoke-free atmosphere.
The lung capacity of a non-smoking bar worker from Dundee was tested some months prior to the ban and at the same interval thereafter.
The pre-test showed her lung capacity was severely restricted.
The post test showed huge improvement and the subject tracking towards normal lung function.
The ban has improved Scotland’s health as a nation but the fight against smoking continues.
One place where the battle against preventable disease is being fought is at healthcare facilities across Scotland.
At Ninewells Hospital, young patients from the children’s ward have been brought in as the voice of a new non-smoking campaign.
Their messages are activated via a buzzer in the entrance walkway that is linked to a loudspeaker system.
For years, the front entrance at Ninewells has been a gathering place for smokers.
An adult voice reminding those lighting up that it was a no smoking site was roundly ignored.
Now it is hoped the softer voice of a child will help get the stub-it-out message through to those who stubbornly refuse to comply.
There are those who complain that a ban impinges their human rights.
But that conveniently forgets the rights of others to work, rest and recuperate in a healthcare facility absent of cancer causing smoke.
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