The End Of Smokers Writes?

So the three of us have decided it might be time to end this blog. Why?

(Cassie) I started blogging quite a few years ago now. My first blog was a personal one. At that time I traveled a lot for my work (which I still do) and I was a pagan witch (which has evolved a bit in the meantime). I was openly bisexual but had a boyfriend at that time and I considered myself to be what I described as a sex-positive feminist.Taking all these things together I thought I would have enough to write about to keep myself and possibly others interested. Well, that seemed to work. However, after a while I realized the subject of smoking kept creeping in to my blog entries. As somebody for whom smoking had been a normal part of life since my mid teens, I felt increasingly frustrated and annoyed by increasing anti smoking legislation and what felt like a bias in society against smoking and people who smoked. We were treated as idiotic fools and hopeless addicts. The idea that some of us smoked just because we liked everything about it and that the activity had some advantages as well as the well publicized disadvantages, was not only getting lost; it was becoming politically incorrect to even say it. That made me cross. My annoyance on this subject began to occupy too many posts on my regular blog, so I started this one. A few years later I met Sophie and we became a couple. As a smoker herself she shared my views on the subject and I was delighted to find out she felt just as strongly as I did. So Smoker’s Writes became one of our first joint projects. It was fun, and it allowed us to express our views publicly on a theme that was becoming taboo. Our daughter Tina started smoking when she was 13 or 14 and for various reasons (detailed earlier in this blog) she became a campaigner on the subject and started contributing to our blog as well. So, it became a family affair, which was nice. We all still smoke and feel as deeply about the topic as ever, but the simple truth is, we have just about said all we have to say on the subject and we don’t want to get repetitive. We could, I suppose, take the blog in other directions, but we are not all sure that we want to. So perhaps this blog has simply come to a natural end?

(Sophie) I have never been as much of a blogger as Cassie, but I have enjoyed writing in this blog. Smoking has been part of my life and lifestyle since my teens and I recognize and accept that it is a part of me. I’m not sure I thought about it much until Cassie and I got together and discussed it a few times and then I began to feel angry about how smokers were slowly becoming marginalized and it is kind of socially acceptable in some places to be prejudiced against people who smoke. One of the things that occurred to me was that I think smoking actually is quite sexy, but you are just not allowed to say things like that anymore. I feel a kind of nostalgia for the smokey bars and cafes I spent my youth in and find it sad that this cultural aspect of life in my country is disappearing due to political correctness and quite a lot of unchallenged misleading information. So I was all in favor of writing for this blog. I still feel the same way. However, we have said it all now. We are not so stupid as to imagine that we are reaching people who might change their mind on the subject. The truth is that most of the people who are regularly reading our blog now are smoking fetishists. We have nothing against them. It is a fetish that each of us share if only to a small degree, but it was never the reason we started writng this blog. By this stage my daughter Tina is probably more interested in that side of things than Cassie or I are, which is fine, but still, it is not what this blog is about. Also I must say that while I am a confirmed smoker, I am becoming more uncomfortable with the thought that our blog might actually be encouraging people to smoke. That was never the intention either. So all in all, I think we have run out of reasons to continue the blog…

(Tina) Actually, I started smoking later than most of my friends and I never expected it to become “a thing” but it sort of did when I got involved in a school campaign to keep our smoking areas for students in our school. That seems a long time ago now. By this stage, smoking in a totally normal part of my everyday life. It is not something I really think that much about except when I have to. The times I have to think about it are when I visit places where smoking is really restricted or when people criticize me or may family or friends for smoking. In the last couple of years I also got a bit interested in the smoking fetish scene. It just seemed like an odd but interesting thing to me that people can be sexually turned on by seeing people smoke. I even had a couple of short relationships with people who thought that way. And I realized I could get some easy money by publishing photos of me smoking; which I did a couple of times… I am undecided if I want to do that again. One of our followers on this blog asked me a few questions which I don’t mind answering, but…. OK, I’ll come to the “but” later, but first the questions. How many cigarettes do I smoke a day? About 15 on average. How do I feel if i have to go a few hours without a cigarette? Probably a bit irritable. Would I get uncomfortable if I was in a shopping mall where I couldn’t smoke? Not really, and where I live (Zurich) there are plenty of places where I could meet my friends for a drink and a cigarette while shopping anyway. Then there were a few more questions about what it feels like to be a smoker, to which I’d have to say; If you are that curious start smoking and find out, or if you don’t want to do that, start dating a real girl who smokes… The thing about the questions which made hesitate is the idea that people might think of me as some kind of alien creature who has no interests and no life except for smoking. The truth is that while I enjoy smoking and I am conscious of some of the anti smoking hysteria in society, it is not the only or the most important thing in my life. It is not as important as my family or my friends. It is not as important as my boyfriend. It is not as important as the work I do for animals or refugees. It is not as important as my studies. It is not as important as my spiritual and philosophical beliefs. It is not as important as my politics or my taste in music. At the end of the day I don’t want to be seen as nothing more than a girl that smokes. If that is where this blog is going, I’m getting off the bus…



In defence of Swiss Smokers

Post by Tina

Maybe this is repeating things we have said before and maybe it is a bit of a rant, but I don’t care! I am one of those terrible Swiss women who smoke cigarettes and recently I have got a bit fed up with non Swiss people attacking me and my country because we smoke.

I recently joined a forum for English speakers in Switzerland so I could practice my English a bit more, and almost immediately got into an argument with some foreigners about smoking. Anyone who knows me or my family through any of our blogs will know we are very international, and we generally like travel and respect foreigners. My second mum Cassie is English and I do a lot of work for refugees in Switzerland. And we are all well traveled and have friends in many parts of the world. But it kind of angers me that some foreigners living here in Switzerland seem to want us to stop being Swiss and adopt their cultural and personal beliefs about smoking.

We are Swiss; and it is true that we smoke quite a lot here. Smoking is part of our lifestyle and culture. Official government statistics suggest that about a third of adults over sixteen here smoke (which is apparently higher than in a lot of places). To be honest I think those statistics may be manipulated a bit by the government to make us look better in the eyes of the world. In truth I think maybe more than half of us smoke; and amoung the people I know it is more like two thirds.

And we are ok with that. But some of the foreigners living here take a different view… Here are some quotes I found on the forum. They are from people who come from Australia, England and The U.S.A. (I have taken all the names and any other identifying details out).

As an Australian the high smoking rate in Europe is one of the first things I noticed when we moved to Switzerland.In Australia, it has been illegal to smoke inside public buildings for more than 20 years. In the last few years the laws have been tightened significantly, you now cannot smoke within 100m of a public building or doorway. All hospital and school grounds are smoke free. You can’t smoke in restaurants, and in Canberra even if the restaurant has an outdoor area smoking it is forbidden. As a non-smoker, I have really struggled in Switzerland – even just waiting at the bus stop can be a problem with groups of people smoking while they wait. 

Well, you know… This is Switzerland not Australia; and it pretty much sounds like I would hate Australia. And if I hated not being able to smoke so badly I could always go back to Switzerland, but I wouldn’t expect the whole of Australia to change their lifestyles to suit me!


Personally, I think if someone wants to smoke and risk developing cancer, coronary artery disease, hypertension and all of the other health problems associated with it, then that’s their problem. But I strongly object to being exposed to it myself simply because I am walking behind them on the footpath, waiting next to them at a bus stop or sitting at a restaurant table.

Fact, not everyone who smokes gets any of those diseases you are so paranoid about. And of course some people who don’t smoke do get them. (Not because of passive smoking either). Sadly there actually aren’t many restaurants where you can smoke inside anymore, even here. People who are afraid of just smelling cigarettes from people smoking in the street really need to get a life and stop worrying so much!

But I must agree there is more of a smell of cigarettes in the street than you might find in some other places. It mixes with the smell of fresh bread, cheese and clean, flower scented air. For me it smells like home. Every place has it’s unique smells and customs, that is what travel reminds you. If people only ever want things to be the same as they are at home, maybe they should stay there.

I’m sorry if this sounds a bit rough, but when it comes to smoking, I really encourage smoker discrimination! Meaning, I’m not standing next to them, I’m not walking behind them, I’m not sitting outdoors drinking a coffee next to a smoker as long as they are puffing smoke all over the place. 

Good grief! Well don’t worry, there is no chance I would want to sit near you anyway!

Cigarettes are killers traveling in packs.

Oh funny! But seriously, with all the problems in the world, this is what you worry about?

Those Swiss women think they look so cool and sexy when they smoke but I think they look disgusting. Who would want to kiss an ashtray anyway?

That comment sounds so much like it comes from somebody who has never been kissed! They tried to have an anti smoking campaign here once which tried to make out that smoking wasn’t cool or sexy. All I can say is, the campaign was a huge failure! I have been told I look sexy when I smoke, and I find men and women who smoke quite attractive. As for kissing, nobody said I was disgusting up till now!

I just find it interesting that even considering the high cost of health insurance and doctors in this country, people still go and buy those darn things. And they are such good sellers too! 

Well an interesting point is that while our health insurance might be expensive, we have one of the healthiest and longest living populations in the world despite being a country of smokers!

Again, I am not against foreigners; my boyfriend is one! But I smoke and I like smoking and I’m Swiss and I like being Swiss. There are a lot of great things about America and Australia and Britain and other parts of the world, but I don’t want my country to be a copy of those places. We have our own culture and lifestyle and for many of us smoking is a part of that. For example we have a lot of specialist tobacco shops where you can buy good quality cigars. Smoking cigars is really a feature of life in some parts of the country. Both my Mum and Dad smoke cigars sometimes; especially after Sunday lunch. It is a kind of tradition. (I have tried but it is not my taste at the moment). But I do like cigarettes a lot.

Of course not everyone in Switzerland smokes but even the non smokers I know mostly think it is part of our lifestyle and we should have the right to choose and not be dictated to by other countries. We are quite independently minded here!


Please just let us be us.

The Smoking Fetish


We recently received a comment on one of our posts from a self confessed smoking fetishist. We are aware that we have quite a few followers from the smoking fetish scene. The recent comment spurred some conversation in our household about smoking as a fetish so we are going to reprint the comment and give our views on it below. Just a little warning first; because of the nature of this topic we shall of course be speaking about sex as well as smoking. If you are not comfortable with frank discussion of sexual matters, now would be a good point to skip the rest of this post.

From somebody who will remain anonymous…. “I’m a secret smoker and a particular smoking fetishist who keeps both parts to myself. For me, it’s one way (of many) to feel closer to certain women I’ve known who smoke. It’s exciting to me to share this with them, even if they don’t know about it. It’s a way to actualize my attraction by sharing their addiction and, thus, their feelings, even the health consequences (especially the thought of developing a similar smoker’s cough that they have). It’s a secret because of my “official” identity as a health oriented person (cycling, food, etc.). I wish that those smoking women I’ve been attracted to would somehow sense this and offer me a cigarette, sharing this together though still secretly, at least to the world at large. As an offshoot, it’s the thought that they’d want me and my lungs to be “corrupted” by them, like they are, that at least partially keeps the excitement going.”

There is actually rather a lot to unpack there. Firstly all three of us who write this blog are smoking fetishists ourselves to some degree so we do not mean to be or to sound judgemental. We do have some observations and perhaps advice related to the above comments however, some of which may sound a bit critical, so we will get those things out of the way first. To begin with it is completely normal to be attracted to people you don’t know very well and to harbour erotic feelings for them. That is human and we all do it. However there are two dangers in the secrecy aspect of this. The first danger is that by keeping such things completely secret it remains a fantasy which is doomed never to be a reality. Our advice is if you “fancy” a person who smokes, overcome your shyness or misgivings and try to actually get to know them. The fact that you both smoke could be a link to something real rather than an imaginary connection. Take it from us, kissing somebody who shares your fetish is much more satisfying than just dreaming about it! The second danger of secretly fantasising about somebody because you are attracted by their smoking is that your mind can play tricks and convince you that you have a real connection with that person which is not in fact true and this can be the first step in actually stalking somebody. The three of us would deal with stalkers as harshly as the law allows and perhaps even more harshly.

With those caveats out of the way let’s look at some of the sexual and psychological implications of the smoking fetish highlighted in the comment above. One of the most basic but profound aspects of the smoking fetish is the idea of sharing; of sharing the forbidden pleasure, the habit and the addiction of somebody who smokes. Perhaps equally there is the idea that you are sharing something which is forbidden, bad or taboo. And, as mentioned in the comment, there is the idea of corruption.

The idea of sharing is common to many forms of fetish; particularly when sharing an interest in something which is seen as taboo or just unusual. If you happen for no particular reason to be sexually turned on by people wearing rubber and then you meet a sexually compatible person who shares that particular kink, well, bingo! Happy you! The same if you happen to be turned on by smelly feet, urination, or wearing funny hats in bed! If you find someone who shares your unique sexual tastes it is a joy that adds spice to your sexual practices. Nothing wrong with that, and smoking can be one of those common things. In comparison to some fetishes we are aware of, smoking is rather normal and innocent!

But smoking is not seen as innocent. Smoking is seen as something only adults can do and moreover smoking is more and more seen as a bad habit that adults have, something that is both unhealthy and deviant. The fact that nicotine is addictive only adds to the idea that smokers are “corrupt”; that they have given themselves over to something bad which is beyond their control. And they don’t seem to care. Perhaps then the fact that some smokers develop a cough, or have nicotine stained fingers or just a deeper voice is physical evidence of that corruption which some people find sexy.

And what if in all other respects the smoker looks young, fit, healthy, perhaps sophisticated, perhaps even quite innocent? We think it is those two conflicting ideas that can make smokers look and “be” very sexy.

Apart from smoking itself the three of us in our family have several beliefs in common. One of them is a different idea about the concept of corruption. Another is that we are hedonists. We do not consider ourselves to be bad people. We don’t steal. We wouldn’t hurt or kill other people except to protect ourselves or in justified revenge. But we do indulge in all things that bring us sensual pleasure, and some of those pleasurable things such as smoking are seen as bad or corrupt by others. When our daughter Tina started smoking we did not hold up our hands in horror that she had somehow been corrupted by some unseen force. Rather we were quite pleased that she was turning away from childhood innocence and discovering some of the pleasures and pitfalls of being an adult. Her smoking could have been an experimental phase that many adolescents go through, but it wasn’t. She is now nearly seventeen and smoking is as natural to her as breathing air. She is a nicotine addict. But it is an addiction she has chosen. It is in many ways symbolic of the person she chooses to be in her adult life. Some people may not understand that. Some people may be appalled. Those who have a smoking fetish maybe both understanding and appalled, but because of that, find the idea sexy.

So perhaps as the writer of the quoted comment suggests, Sophie and I are smoking fetishists by virtue of the fact that we take some kind of pleasure from the fact that our daughters lungs are as corrupted as our own. But actually I think it is more to do with the fact that we value our daughter’s developing independence and maturity. At the end of the day being an intelligent and independent adult is always the most sexy thing there is.

Sophie and I have both had relationships with men who had smoking fetishes. When it happened to me I think it gave me a bit of an ego/power trip to know I could make my boyfriend cum just by inhaling or exhaling in a certain way. But the fact is the fetish is infectious. Now I sometimes get turned on by men or women smoking in a way I find sexy. Sophie is the same.

And are we supposed to feel ashamed of that? Our society is so confused about sex in general that almost everything about it is seen as taboo in many situations. Then smoking itself has become more and more taboo in its own right. Put the two together and you have a volatile mix.

I think some smoking fetishists have got the psychology wrong. Smokers are not generally morally corrupt. They are simply people who are less afraid of death and less afraid to live fully. That is a powerfully sexy mixture which I hope all three of us have.


Why I Smoke and why I want to write for this blog


I’m Tina. When my mother and Cassie started this blog I was 13 and I was already smoking cigarettes occasionally. It started as just one or two cigarettes with friends at parties and gradually built up. After a while I was smoking quite regularly although still only a small amount. Now I am sixteen and by this stage I am smoking quite a lot; at least ten cigarettes each day and sometimes quite a lot more. Nicotine is very addictive I must admit I am totally addicted. If anybody reading this does not want to smoke the best way is to never start.

However, I did want to. I knew I would get addicted. I also know that smoking can damage my health, it can make me less fit and one day I might die of cancer or another disease that is connected with smoking. But even knowing all this, I always wanted to smoke and now that I do I like it very much. I will smoke until I get pregnant and have a family. Then I will stop. It will not be easy to stop because I like it very much and of course I am addicted. But my mother stopped when she was pregnant with me and I have just as strong will power as she does. So there is no doubt whatsoever in my mind that when I decide to have a family I will stop smoking. I don’t know if I will start smoking again when my children are older. Perhaps not.

But for now I really enjoy smoking and I am glad I live in a place where I am still allowed to decide these things for myself.

I am sixteen. I know that is not very old and I still have a lot of growing up to do. But while I might only be a young adult, I am in fact an adult and not a child. That is what the law says in respect of many things and it is how I feel. I have serious studies and exams to think about. I could get a job if I wanted to. In some places I could join the military. I do have a boyfriend and a sex life. So with all these things in mind it seems ridiculous to me that in some places I wouldn’t even be allowed to buy cigarettes, let alone smoke them!

I think that in order to grow up and grow as a person you have to be allowed to decide things for yourself. Taking some choices away just stops people thinking for themselves. I want the freedom to be myself. I don’t want to be a Disney Princess, I want to be something very different than that. I want to be a person who smokes and drinks and has tattoos and piercings and does things that other people disapprove of. And at the same time I want to be one of the best students in whichever university I go to, I want to be one of the top vets in Europe and, when the time is right, a good and kind mother. I think that is possible. I know who I am and what I want to be.

And that is why I want to contribute to this blog. Smoking is just a small detail in some people’s lives but to me it is kind of symbolic. I feel like there are powers in this world who want us all to conform to some kind of sickly, whiter than white, Disney image of what a good person should be. I could never be that and I would never want to be that; and I don’t think I am alone. When my parents started smoking and when Cassie started smoking I guess some people didn’t like it, but at least they were allowed to make that choice. And they were allowed to choose what brand they liked and see what other brands were available. Well those choices are being taken away from my generation and I don’t think it is right. I don’t think somebody who has never met me has the right to say how I should live my life. Being an adult is new for me and I admit some of the decisions I will have to make about things now are quite mind blowing, but I don’t want the possibilities to make my own decisions taken away before I even get started. What will be next? Will they make smoking completely illegal? Will I be called a criminal just because I smoke? And then what? Maybe they will decide we are all too stupid to decide for ourselves what we should eat or what we should drink or what music we should listen to… Well let’s face it, maybe we are too stupid to know what political party to vote for; so they could just remove some choices to make it easier for us!

No; I smoke. It is already part of who I am and it is a symbol of my attitude to this world and this life. I think this blog is important because here you have three people who refuse to be sheep and just follow the line. We smoke because we like the taste, the feel and the sensations that come from smoking. We also tend to like other people who smoke. We know we are taking a bit of a risk with our health but we are okay with that. We have this little corner on the web to say things that a generation ago you could say anywhere but now it’s not “politically correct”. Maybe we just want to talk about what brands we prefer and stuff like that without other people saying “Oh you shouldn’t say that out loud, smoking is bad you know!” And maybe we want to complain a bit about the fact that smokers have less and less rights because the ones who want everyone to be a Disney Princess and have perfectly white teeth are in control. (Actually my teeth are perfectly white and it really annoys me)!

I think people my age should rebel a bit more, not about stupid things but about the ways we are all under pressure to be the same, to like the same things, to have the same opinions and values… The problem is the people with power are clever, they take away options and alternatives before you even know they exist.

Anyway I will do my best to be the person I want to be and help others to do the same. If you agree with me on that you might like some of the things you read here even if you don’t smoke. Yes, smoking is the main theme of this blog but on another level I think it is about allowing people the freedom to be and express themselves.

After Smoking At School



Having read through what I have written below I feel I should apologise a bit that this is less a post about smoking in particular and more a celebration of the fact that my daughter is growing up and blossoming in a way that is very pleasing to myself and Cassie and makes us proud.

This is a follow up to my post “Smoking at School” in which my daughter found herself leading a student campaign to retain their right to smoke in designated areas of the school grounds; something which had been normal here ever since the days when I myself was a school student. Rather than repeat everything which went before I will direct readers to the previous post and continue here with what happened next…

Tina took part in several meetings with the other students at which various suggestions were put forward; some a bit wild including demonstrations, writing to several magazines and having a ” smoke-in” protest in the student common room. There were a couple of meetings with the principle and other teachers at which Tina was “volunteered” to be the student spokesperson. Tina said that some of the teachers were sympathetic to the student’s case but it was clear that for legal reasons there wasn’t much hope of progress. Finally Tina was called in for a meeting with the principle at which she was offered a deal of sorts.

The principle said that they couldn’t go against the legislation of the Canton which now technically forbids the sale of cigarettes to people under 16 but that students who were sixteen or older could be allowed to smoke in the area the teachers are still allowed to use. This would mean that more than half the students currently complaining would in effect still be allowed to smoke. However some who were not yet 16,including Tina, would not be allowed. Tina asked how seriously it would be taken if she and a few others continued to smoke in the teachers area anyway; after all, she does have her mother’s letter of permission. Could they just “turn a blind eye” to it? She was told that would not be possible since the school must be seen to be obeying the law and promoting a good health and anti smoking stance in public. Thus if she and the other younger smokers continued to smoke on the school grounds or if they got caught sneaking out of the school during the break times there would have to be punishments which would look bad on their school records and letters to their parents which could be embarrassing for them.

Tina was asked to try and “sell” this solution to the students who were protesting because it was the best and only deal they were going to get. And that is what Tina did. The older students were quite pleased with the result, the younger ones not so much. In fact Tina is getting on much better with the older students who are more at her level of maturity. She gets annoyed with some of the ones that are closer to her own age.

“And will you keep to those rules?” I asked her.

“Probably, at first anyway.” She said. “I’m not so addicted that I can’t wait a few hours for a cigarette. I suppose I might sneak out somewhere for a cigarette once in a while when the fuss has died down. To be honest it’s not so important to me to smoke at school. I think some people do it just to show off.”

“And you?”

“I don’t think I’m showing off. I’m just being me. I smoke. I always knew I would. It’s my choice. I like it. And it is kind of a sign to people that they can’t categorise me. I’m a good student but I’m not a sweet and harmless person. I don’t want the teachers to put me in a box and I don’t want my friends to do it either.”

Readers of our other blogs will know that that stems very much from our family’s philosophy. And I have respect for the choices my daughter makes. You know I didn’t think it would be possible to love my daughter more than when she was a very sweet and innocent child pretending to be a vet with her toy animals, but actually I love the woman she is becoming just as much if not more. She is somebody I admire and respect. She is somebody I would choose to have as a friend. Some mothers seem to dread coping with teenage daughters. Maybe I’m lucky. Maybe I’m strange. But I am enjoying this new stage in our relationship.

About smoking; I accept that she smokes. We all smoke in our household.

Earlier tonight I mentioned to her that I might write about these things in this blog.

“Oh yes. Well if you do, you can use this picture. And don’t pixelate it or blur it or do anything weird like you usually do. I’m not ashamed of who I am or what I do and you shouldn’t be either. Oh and you don’t have to worry about protecting my identity either. I’ve put worse things on my Facebook page!”

Well I’m still the Mum and we will be having a grown up mother and daughter chat about that!

Smoking Is Good For You


Yes, yes… Smoking cigarettes and other tobacco products significantly increases your risks of contracting and dying from a host of unpleasant diseases. Yawn. Unless you have been living on another planet for the last century there really should be no need to state that. But this is a pro smoking blog (if that idea disturbs you, go away and find something else to read) and from our point of view smoking can also be good for you. In these days of health fascism and political correctness you are not supposed to say things like that. But we ARE saying it.

Smoking is good for you because it can add to your pleasure and happiness and thus increase your quality of life. This in turn, according to most physical and psychological medical practitioners, can boost health and increase longevity. I will detail some of the ways smoking does this below. But first a note about happiness and quality of life. It is still seen as somehow sinful in some quarters to see pleasure and enjoyment as positive things. We don’t take that view. In our opinion pleasure, fun and happiness are self rewarding and healthy. I am sure many people reading this will sometimes have experienced an increase in their own happiness just by being around happy people. I doubt it can be scientifically proved but I firmly believe happy people look younger for longer and have greater immunity against disease than depressed or unhappy people; whether or not they smoke. Thus we are sure that, on average, happy smokers live longer than unhappy non smokers.

So here are some things about smoking which by adding to the quality of your life are actually good for you. They are in no particular order.

Tobacco tastes nice. Well nice is the wrong word and the taste of tobacco takes some getting used to. But ultimately the taste of tobacco is pleasurable. It is much like wine, beer, alcoholic drinks, olives, strong cheese and caviar; it is a sophisticated, acquired taste which comes in many varieties. Most people don’t like these tastes at first but come to appreciate them in all their sophistication as their pallets mature. Learning to appreciate different types of tobacco through different brands of cigars and cigarettes can be as satisfying and pleasurable as sampling fine wines and cheeses.

Tobacco reduces stress:a contributory cause of many diseases. It is better and more pleasurable to smoke a few cigarettes in a time of stress than to take strong, prescribed medication which is often far more addictive than nicotine and may have other negative effects.

Nicotine is addictive but does little harm in itself in the amounts normally smoked. This makes it difficult (though not impossible) for some people to give up smoking if and when they want to. However the pleasure experienced by satisfying the need or craving for a cigarette is lovely; a pleasure that non smokers will never understand.

Smoking is still sociable. It is a pleasure shared with like minded people. It is a common uniting factor among those of us who smoke. In fact in times when smokers are increasingly forced to the fringes the uniting factor maybe stronger than ever. We smoke with our friends, our families, our lovers. And often a pleasure shared is a pleasure multiplied.

Smoking can add to the pleasure of drinking tea, coffee and alcoholic drinks. A digestive cigarette after a meal clears the pallet and is very enjoyable.

Smoking can aid weight loss and help to control your weight. Cigarettes can replace snacks of starch and sugar. This is at a time when obesity related diabetes is reaching epidemic proportions. It is pretty much an open secret that women have been using this method to keep their weight down and figure in shape for many years.

Many of us find that smoking aids concentration. At work, while studying for exams or writing for a deadline smoking cigarettes can be calming and allow us to focus. We would certainly rather smoke than use some of the other chemicals (legal and illegal) that people frequently use to aid work and study.

Smoking can be sexy… Oh come on, of course it can! Some people do look sexy when they are smoking. There are ways of holding a cigarette or cigar that have a sexual appeal. There are ways to inhale and exhale that have a similar effect. Moreover the fact that somebody smokes says something about them and their attitude to life which some will find sexy. Of course smoking can look very unsexy too. Eating and wearing clothes can add to sex appeal but sloppy eating and bad fashion sense can be very unappealing. This is all obvious. Smoking is the same; it has just become politically incorrect to even hint that smoking can be sexy. Well it can and we all know it.

As an appendage to the last point about sexiness, smoking is often associated with self confidence which most people find attractive. If you don’t believe us, read some psychology and dream interpretation books. And self confidence and self esteem are in themselves healthy.

Smoking is an adult activity which certainly does involve risks. By smoking you are asserting your independence and your right to make adult decisions and take responsibility for them. You are saying something and there is indeed a darker side to what you are saying. In general smoking is accepting death but choosing to live until it happens rather than trying to avoid all risks in the hope of living a longer, blander life.

If you think that last sentence is kind of cool, then for you smoking IS cool. By smoking you are in some way associating yourself with the writers, artists, musicians, politicians and intellectuals who smoked their way through the last century and continue to do so in this one despite the warnings.

As an adult pleasure smoking marks a right of passage for many teenagers as they begin to make their own choices about who they want to be and how they want to live. And it is a safer right of passage than many other things.

Smoking for pleasure is legal and open.

While there are certainly chemicals in tobacco smoke that may do you harm there may be chemicals that actually do you good. You will never hear that publicised!

Of course smoking too much over a long period will almost certainly do you more harm than good; just as anything taken to excess tends to be dangerous. But in our opinion the flip side is that,if you enjoy it, smoking in moderation may well do you more good than harm.

Stupid Canadians and Worried Austrians


A typical cal scene in an Austrian cafe (above)

From BBC NEWS>. [A Canadian court has ordered three tobacco companies to pay C$15.5bn (£8bn; $12bn) – the largest award for damages in the country’s history.
The plaintiffs were Quebec smokers who said the firms failed to warn them of health risks associated with smoking.
Imperial Tobacco Canada, Rothmans Benson & Hedges and JTI-MacDonald vowed to appeal against the decision.
The class-action lawsuits were filed in 1998, but only recently went to trial in the courts.
The firms argued that Canadians have had a “high awareness” of smoking health risks since the 1950s.
“That awareness has been reinforced by the health warnings printed on every legal cigarette package for more than 40 years,” JTI-Macdonald said in a statement.
But the plaintiffs argued that the companies did not properly warn their customers and failed in their general duty “not to cause injury to another person”, according to the Quebec Superior Court decision.} link

Good grief! How can anybody not know the health risks associated with smoking in this day and age? I know not all Canadians are stupid but this particular group of people must have been. If only the notion of personal responsibility were as popular as the notion that governments should legislate to enforce health and lifestyle choices on others.

What if the victims of road traffic accidents started a class action against car manufactures because they hadn’t been made sufficiently aware that if they stepped out in front of a car they might get hurt? Or maybe climbers who fall from mountains should sue the local authorities for not warning them strongly enough that climbing mountains can be risky?

Meanwhile in Europe Austrian smokers who have successfully avoided or gotten round most of the smoking bans in the last decade have been warned that from 2018 smoking will indeed be banned in all public places. Austria has been called “The Ashtray of Europe” because of its high percentage of smokers and its refusal to bow down to European anti smoking legislation. Interestingly however it is one of the healthiest places in Europe and has some of the lowest rates of “smoking related diseases. (Look up the statistics). I have spent many enjoyable hours in Viennese cafes chatting and reading while drinking coffee or wine and smoking at the same time in plush, comfortable surroundings. It would be such a shame to see that enjoyable characteristic element of Austrian lifestyle disappear. Is it too much to hope that the Austrians will continue to be quietly rebellious against the anti smoking Mafia?

Tobacco Point Of Sale Restrictions


Above you can see what tobacco counters in British shops used to look like before the most recent restrictions came into force. Below you can see what the same counters look like now…image

Basically the rules which came into force this April are as follows, (these are based on government guidelines issued to retailers);-

FROM MONDAY 6TH APRIL 2015, in England, Wales and Northern Ireland:

All tobacco products must be covered. You MUST NOT open the tobacco unit and display tobacco products if you are serving a customer who has requested a non-tobacco product.

You can only show a customer your tobacco products if they have made a request to purchase a tobacco product and that you are satisfied that the customer is over 18. If a customer asks to see your tobacco range it may be more appropriate to show them a picture price list. The maximum area you are permitted to reveal to the customer is 1.5 square metres.

You can serve more than one customer at a time but no more than 1.5 square metres of your tobacco display can be revealed each time the unit is opened. The unit must be closed immediately after each activity is complete.

Tobacco products must be covered up whilst being moved around the store.

Notices which state that “It is illegal to sell tobacco products to anyone under the age of 18” MUST continue to be displayed by law. Generic signs such as “Tobacco sold here” can continue to be used as well. All branded signage must be removed from the display unit.

You can display prices but there are limitations on how you can display them. Only three types of price displays are permitted: poster style, picture price list and price labels. All three can be used at the same time. A tobacco price list may include brand name, price, units/weight per pack, country of origin (cigars only), type and cut (pipe tobacco only). Poster style tobacco price list must be called “Tobacco product price list”, must not include prices of any other products, must be in Helvetica font with letters no larger than 7mm, use lower case letters after the initial capital letter, be bigger than A3 size, have no border or frame must not use sub headings other than “cigarettes, “hand-rolling tobacco”, “cigars”, “pipe tobaccos” and “other tobacco products”.

Picture price lists are permitted but can only be shown once you are satisfied a customer is over 18 and that the display of a picture price list lasts no longer than is necessary and is not left on permanent display. Letters and numbers must not exceed 4mm in height. Pictures of products must not exceed 50 square cm. Only one price list is permitted per till, and only where tobacco products can be purchased.

The rules in Scotland are very slightly different.

And to all of that I say, Good Grief! What the fuck?

What it actually all means is that you cannot actually see any cigarettes or other tobacco products on display, and unless you have bionic eyesight it is impossible to know the prices for the items you are buying without asking first.

I’m not in the UK much these days since making my home in Switzerland (which fortunately doesn’t have these draconian restrictions) and I guess that is why these things came as quite a shock during a recent visit. So there are two things I would like to say.

Firstly; lets get this out of the way, I think these restrictions will make it a bit harder for people to start smoking or even to continue smoking which I guess is the point.

Secondly however, and this is my main point, this is an unprecedented attack on the consumer rights of smokers which seems to have been overlooked in the state’s desire to control our lives and the choices we make. It has been arbitrarily decided that smokers should not have the right to easily compare and contrast the products we want to buy. How can you compare and choose what products you want to buy if you cannot see them? How am I supposed to know if a new brand or product has come out if there is no advertising and nothing is displayed in shops? Do I not have the right to try new tobacco products? The shops are not even permitted to open the display cases wider so that I can see clearly what options are available.

“A-ha!” Say the health fascists gleefully, “That’s the whole point. Your options will be more and more reduced until you simply don’t have the possibility to buy cigarettes anymore. And that will be for the best because, without sounding arrogant at all, every single one of us risk averse, health fascists know what is better for you than you do! And so that means you don’t deserve, need or get the same consumer rights as everybody else.”

Well fuck that.

Choosing to do things that may be a bit risky is part of what life is about. And practically everybody does some things in their lives which could be hazardous to their own health. It doesn’t mean it WILL hurt you. Not every racing driver dies in an accident and not every smoker dies of a smoking related illness. Moreover careful pedestrians are not immune from being killed in car accidents and people who don’t smoke are not immune from diseases associated with smoking. This legislation won’t stop smoking, it will just drive it more underground. How sensible is that?

Imagine if McDonalds had to cover up it’s logo and you weren’t allowed to see pictures or prices of the meals on offer in its restaurants… I imagine that too much fast food does pretty much as much damage to some people as cigarettes are supposed to do.

And think about alcohol… Imagine if you had to know the name of product you wanted to buy before going into a liquor store or off licence because no cans or bottles were allowed to be on display. If you didn’t know the name of a particular type of beer or a particular kind or vintage of wine, you couldn’t ask for it. Perhaps you could be shown a small sample of the merchandise on offer through a one point five square meter window for a limited number of seconds. You might spot one bottle which appeals to you but only then can you find out if that is a few dollars or a few hundred dollars. In other words both physical space, visual input and time are limited so that you can’t make an informed choice.

No, if this happened in the alcohol industry (or any other industry) it would rightly be condemned as ridiculous and both an outrage and an insult to consumers. But smokers are supposed to just suck it up and not complain.

Of course I am aware that I am fighting a loosing battle here, for the time being at least. In the current climate smokers are classed as third class consumers and the idea that it is morally righteous to control the choices of a large group of the population for the sake of their health seems to go largely unchallenged. Hopefully these draconian laws won’t reach Switzerland too soon…

Perhaps in five or ten years when this experiment in social engineering can be demonstrated to have failed, people who choose to smoke might once again be granted the right to be treated as normal consumers and will once again be free to choose what they want to buy as easily as people can decide what hair product or breakfast cereal they want to pick off the shelf.

Smoking, Life Expectancy and Mr Spock

image  image

Cassie and I were both sad to hear of the recent passing of Leneord Nimoy. He was certainly a talented actor and director and seems to have been a genuinely nice and interesting human being. Of course he will be best remembered as the actor who played and evolved the character of Mr Spock who is surely now a cultural icon of our time, even among people who never read or watch science fiction. I’d guess his face and aspects of his personality and values are as well known globally as Micky Mouse and many past and present politicians and religious leaders. No mean feat! And while he was in theory emotionless; his dedication to logic and science combined with his struggles with and examination of emotions, actually made him a high class of human. He made us think and was in many ways a worthy role model. Well done Mr Spock! Well done Mr Nimoy!

He died of Chronic Obstructive Pulmanary Desease, attributed by many (including himself) to smoking although he had given up over thirty years ago.

We do not dispute that smoking may have been a significant contributory factor to Leonard Nimoy’s death and, as regular habitual smokers, that gives us reason to pause and think about our smoking habit. Even more so as a mother of a teenage daughter who has recently taken up smoking, it does give me cause for concern. Certainly the anti smoking propagandists have been quick to use the example of Leonard Nimoy as a further warning about the potential dangers of smoking. It seems that Leonard himself blamed his deteriorating health on smoking to some degree and we respect him enough to take his opinion seriously. However, that does not mean we have to agree with his conclusions.

On one level I think Leonard Nimoy’s fate poses a problem for the anti smoking lobby. Normally their message is that it is never too late to stop smoking and indeed that to stop smoking is always a good idea. However in this case it would seem that the message is that it is pointless to stop smoking because the fact that you smoked will still kill you in the end. I will concede that is a gross over simplification but it is no worse than the over simplification that smoking is always the worst thing you can do for your health.

On a more factual basis though, let’s consider the fact that Mr Nimoy was 83 when he died. As sad as his passing was to many of us, and as much as he will be missed; at that age death is not exactly a stranger. Eighty-three is well above the average life expectancy in the world for a man born in the 1930s. Sure some will live longer and a relative few might live more than twenty years longer, but most won’t. In truth most of the people born in the early1930s are dead already. And most of them died well before they were eighty.

You could look at Leonard Nimoy and say that despite the fact that he was once a regular smoker (and had alcohol problems) he lived longer than most of his generation did.

The simple truth is that we will all die. There are various charts you can look at to find out your life expectancy and many of them will state that you are not expected to live as long as average if you smoke. But it is still true that some smokers will live longer than the average for non smokers and some non smokers will die much younger than the average. Moreover unless we are killed in an accident or are murdered we will all die of some disease or failing of the body. That is life. The cynical part of me thinks that one day every disease known to humanity will be “attributed to” or “connected with” smoking. Of course that is rubbish.

We are not immortal! No matter how many risks we reduce, we will still one day die.

I accept that Cassie and I are very likely to to die of some illness which is “associated with” smoking. And now I must accept the same may well be true for my beloved daughter. I don’t accept however that this means any of us will necessarily die younger than the average for people who don’t smoke.

None of us know how or when we will die, we only know that we will.

We are just coming to terms with the premature death of Cassie’s mother due to complications caused by early onset dementia. She died too young and her death and final years were difficult and often undignified. This is one illness that is not (yet) associated with smoking. She did smoke occasionally when she was younger but stopped a long time ago. We know of another person who died in his fourties of cancer despite never having smoked. Of course everybody knows of people who died young due to accidents or illnesses which were nothing to do with their lifestyle choices. Death is unpredictable and often seems very unfair. No matter how many risks you try to remove there is never any guarantee of a longer life.

Perhaps we are strange but we actually think it is unhealthy to live your life trying to avoid all risks of illness and death. Mr Spock and the Vulcans have a famous saying; “Live Long and Prosper.” I guess that is not the worst maxim for life but our legend would be “Live well, Live fully and Enjoy!”

We would like to live long lives but that can’t be guaranteed for anybody. However for us smoking is one of the many ingredients that adds to the pleasure of life.

We continue this blog because we think some people have their values confused and we don’t agree that smoking cigarettes is always a bad lifestyle choice. And some of the anti smoking propaganda is really stupid if you look at it critically rather than accepting it like sheep.

Smoking And Vaping


Over the past few months we have experimented with vaping. We have not stopped smoking but we felt like experimenting. Our overall impression is that the two things have similarities but are not the same. There are things we like about vaping and things we don’t. However, while we have no intention to stop smoking, we quite enjoy vaping as well and we will continue to vape from time to time.

The thing we most dislike about vaping is the technology. Oh don’t misunderstand; the technology is clever and it works but we have found that regular vapers and Internet sites dedicated to vaping seem to spend more time and energy enthusing about the parts of technology and gadgets in E Cigarettes and Vapers than the actual sensation of vaping or the various substances and flavours you can vape. That is not to say such things are unimportant but we smoke and now vape to enjoy the sensation and taste these activities bring, not to obsess about the technological wonderment of it.

The second thing we dislike about vaping is the division that seems to be growing in some sectors between smokers and vapers. While they are not the same they are clearly related activities and we would guess that the majority of regular vapers were once regular smokers. Yet there often seems to be an animosity between those who smoke and those who vape; with each side trying to dismiss and disrespect the other. Perhaps we are wrong but we feel that in particular the vaping community seems to look down on smokers.

Be careful. It is true that there are bars and venues in some parts of the world where it is allowed to vape while smoking is increasingly outlawed and restricted; but vaping is already being forbidden and restricted in public places as well. In fact just as it is becoming popular the health fascists who want to forbid smoking are zeroing in on E-Cigarettes with just as much venom. So smokers and vapers need to be allies.

This blog will continue to be primarily about smoking but we welcome vapers too and will probably talk more about it in the future.